There are a lot of different things that can harm the delicate that makes a hearing aid function 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, chances are you are missing the most common cause of water damage in hearing aids: humidity.
Moisture that you can’t see has the greatest chance of causing irreparable damage. It’s time to understand more about why humidity is a damaging thing for hearing aids.
Humidity is a word that gets bounced around a lot, commonly 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 quickly when the humidity level is very high. Electronics are also susceptible to humidity and that is why it has such a detrimental effect on hearing aids.
Understand Humidities Effect on Hearing Aids
Oddly enough, electronics are not only sensitive to high humidity but low levels as well. When it’s too moist, the delicate electronics will collect condensation. When it’s overly dry things become more brittle.
Internal electronics are the reason your hearing aids work. A sophisticated signal processing chip manages noise levels in a newer hearing aid. It’s what is behind elegant functions like:
- Noise reduction
- Targeted listening programs
- Digital sound streaming
Moisture can accumulate within the hearing aid when humidity is high and harm that component. It can corrode elements inside the casing and ruin batteries as well. You might as well drop your hearing aid in a tub full of water, and the effect is the same.
How to Get A Handle On Humidity
Water resistant models are currently on the market. Having this feature doesn’t mean you can swim with your hearing aids in place, but it does provide some protection from humidity and other weather-related concerns such as getting caught in an unexpected rainstorm or even sweat when you work out.
If you live in an area prone to high humidity, think about using a room or house dehumidifier to minimize water vapor indoors. It’s not only your hearing aid that will benefit, there are health benefits, and other electronic devices in the home will also be protected. Dust mites, mildew, and mold thrive in moist environments so a dehumidifier will improve the quality of breathing as well. Although a house or room dehumidifier will help protect your hearing aids, it’s not enough. There are a few other things you can and should do.
Consider buying a dehumidifier designed especially for hearing aids. They come at all costs levels. Silica gel crystals in a drying kit are used to protect electronics. Moisture is eliminated by putting the hearing aids into the dehumidifier for a couple of hours. 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.
Thinking Past Humidity
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.
- 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. A glass or coffee cup can leave moisture behind.
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.