There are a lot of different things that can damage the delicate that makes a hearing aid function the way it does, but few 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, chances are you are missing the most common reason for water damage in hearing aids: humidity.
Invisible moisture has the greatest chance of causing permanent damage. It’s important to educate yourself about why humidity harms hearing aids.
Even though the word humidity is very common, what does it actually mean? PBS describes humidity as water molecules in the air. When presented as a percentage, for example, the relative humidity is 40 percent today, it refers to the amount of water vapor in the air compared to what air could 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 efficient way to cool down the body. When humidity levels are high our sweat will not evaporate as fast. Electronics are also susceptible to humidity and that is why it has such a detrimental effect on hearing aids.
As A General Rule Electronic Devices Have a Hard Time Coping With Humidity
Oddly enough, electronic devices are not only sensitive to high humidity but low levels as well. When water vapor percentages are high condensation can collect on the intricate elements that make electronic devices work, and low humidity can result in brittle core materials.
Internal electronics are the reason your hearing aids work. A sophisticated audio processing chip controls noise levels in a modern hearing aid. It’s what is behind elegant functions like:
- Noise reduction
- Targeted listening programs
- Digital sound streaming
Moisture can accumulate inside the hearing aid when humidity is high and damage that component. Batteries get destroyed and you get corrosion of elements inside of the case. It’s the same as dropping your hearing aid in a tub of water.
Water resistant models are currently available. Having this feature doesn’t mean you can go swimming with your hearing aids in your ear, but it does give some protection against humidity and other weather-related concerns such as getting caught in an unforeseen rainstorm or even sweat when you exercise.
If you live in an area prone to high humidity, think about using a room or house dehumidifier to decrease water vapor indoors. It’s not just your hearing aid that will benefit, there are health benefits, and other electronic devices in the home will also be protected. Dehumidifiers reduce the risk of mold, mildew and dust mites, so everyone breathes a little better, too. Although a house or room dehumidifier will help protect your hearing aids, it’s not enough. You will need to take other steps at the same time.
Consider buying a dehumidifier designed especially 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. There are also storage containers that dry hearing aids out each night as you sleep. If it is very humid and you have no other way, uncooked rice can reduce moisture.
Don’t forget to leave the battery door open when you store your device. When you expose the battery and inner elements to air by leaving the door open, condensation can evaporate by itself. Do this all year round, not just in the summer months.
Always store your hearing aids in a cool, dry place. On the table in the sun, in the glove compartment, or in a hot room are examples of where not to store your hearing aids.
Other Moisture Concerns
Air vapor is not the only moisture that can damage hearing aids. Take precautions to protect them from other kinds of wet such as:
- Don’t touch your hearing aids with hands that are still moist from lotion.
- Leave your hearing aids in a safe place before you go swimming.
- Wear a sweatband when exercising. It’s a good practice whether you wear your hearing aids when you workout or not. Later that sweat will cause problems.
- 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.
Treat your hearing like the valuable asset that it is. 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.