There are a lot of different things that can damage the delicate technology that makes a hearing aid work the way it does, but not many have the impact of water. In fact, you could call moisture kryptonite for hearing aids. Even if you already know that and take care to protect your investment from the shower, pool, or a good face washing, more than likely you are missing the most common reason for water damage in hearing aids: humidity.
Permanent damage is done by invisible moisture. It’s essential to educate yourself about why humidity harms hearing aids.
Humidity is a word that gets talked about a lot, commonly during the summer months, but what is humidity? PBS defines humidity as water molecules in the air. The relative humidity refers to the ratio of water molecules in the air compared to how many the air can actually hold. When you can feel wetness in the air, that means the relative humidity is high.
Human beings are very sensitive to humidity because sweat is the most effective way to cool the body. When humidity levels are high our sweat won’t evaporate as fast. Electronics are also susceptible to humidity and that is why it has such a detrimental effect on hearing aids.
In General Electronics Have a Hard Time Dealing With Humidity
Oddly enough, electronic devices are not only sensitive to high humidity but low levels as well. When it’s too damp, the intricate electronics will collect condensation. When it’s overly dry things become more brittle.
Hearing aids rely heavily on internal electronics to function. Newer digital hearing aids use a state-of-the-art audio processing chip to manage noise. It’s what is behind elegant features like:
- Noise reduction
- Targeted listening programs
- Digital sound streaming
Moisture can accumulate in the hearing aid when humidity is high and damage that component. It can corrode elements inside the casing and destroy batteries also. It’s the same as dropping your hearing aid in a bathtub of water.
Dealing With Humidity
Water resistant models are currently available. Having this feature doesn’t mean you can swim with your hearing aids in your ear, but it does provide some protection from humidity and other weather-related concerns such as getting caught in an unforeseen rainstorm or even sweat when you work out.
If you live in an area prone to high humidity, think about getting a room or house dehumidifier to lessen water vapor inside. It’s not only your hearing aid that will benefit, there are health benefits, and other electronics in your house will also be protected. Dust mites, mildew, and mold thrive in moist environments so a dehumidifier will improve the quality of breathing as well. However, protecting your hearing aid more completely will require additional thinking. You will need to take other steps at the same time.
Look for the dehumidifier made for hearing aids. They come at all costs levels. Drying kits rely on silica gel crystals to protect the electronics. You put the device in the dehumidifier for a couple of hours to eliminate moisture. Drying your hearing aids as you sleep at night can be done using specially designed storage containers. If it is very humid and you have no other way, uncooked rice can reduce moisture.
Get in the habit of opening the battery compartment every time you store your hearing aids. When you expose the battery and inner elements to air by leaving the door open, condensation can evaporate by itself. Don’t just do this in the summer, do it all year round.
Always store your hearing aids in a cool, dry place. Avoid putting them in the glove compartment, in a hot room or on a table in the sun.
Other Moisture Concerns
Air vapor is not the only moisture that can damage hearing aids. Don’t forget to think about other types of wetness like:
- Make sure all lotion or sunscreen is fully absorbed before touching your hearing aids or putting them in your ears.
- Find a safe place to store your hearing aids if headed for the pool or beach.
- When exercising wear a sweatband. It’s a good practice whether you wear your hearing aids when you workout or not. Sweat in your ears can cause problems later.
- Check surfaces before you put your hearing aid down. You don’t want to place it in a wet spot left by a glass or coffee cup.
Your hearing aids are a valuable asset, so treat them that way. Consider how moisture and humidity can impact them and take steps to prevent water damage. If your hearing aid already has water damage make an appointment for service with a hearing aid specialist.