There are a lot of different things that can harm the delicate technology that makes a hearing aid function the way it does, but not many have the impact of water. Hearing aids seem to self-destruct under severe moisture conditions. Taking that into consideration, humidity is a big problem.
Invisible moisture has the greatest chance of causing permanent damage. It’s essential to educate yourself about why humidity harms hearing aids.
Humidity is a word that gets talked about a lot, especially during the summer months, but what is humidity? 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. The greater the percentage, the wetter everything feels.
Humans cool their body by sweating so that makes us very sensitive to humidity. When you sweat it evaporates into the air, but that doesn’t happen as fast when the humidity level is very high. Moisture and electronics don’t mix well and that includes hearing aids.
As A General Rule Electronic Devices Have a Hard Time Dealing With Humid Weather
Too high or, too low, humidity can influence your hearing aids. When it’s too damp, the intricate electronics will accumulate 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 control noise. Because of this, you get amazing features like:
- Noise reduction
- Targeted listening programs
- Digital sound streaming
High humidity causes moisture to collect in the hearing aids damaging that chip. It can corrode elements inside the casing and ruin batteries also. It’s the same as throwing your hearing aid in a bathtub of water.
How to Control Humidity
Water resistant models are currently available. This feature will give you some protection from humidity and wet weather, but you still can’t swim with them in.
If you live in an area prone to high humidity, consider getting a room or house dehumidifier to decrease water vapor inside. It’s not only your hearing aid that will benefit, there are health benefits, and other electronic devices in your house 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. There is one out there for every budget. 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. By pulling that door open before you put the hearing aid down, you expose the batteries and other elements to the air, allowing any condensation built up to evaporate naturally. Do this all year round, not just in the summer months.
A cool dry place is the ideal for storage. Avoid putting them in the glove compartment, in a hot room or on a table in the sun.
Other Moisture Considerations
Air vapor is not the only moisture that can damage hearing aids. Don’t forget to think about other types of wetness like:
- 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.
- When exercising wear a sweatband. If you are wearing your hearing aid then it’s a good idea in general. Later that sweat will cause problems.
- Try not to put your hearing aid down on wet surfaces. 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. Keep in mind how moisture can damage your hearing aids and make sure to prevent water from getting in them. If your hearing aid already has water damage make an appointment for service with a hearing aid specialist.