There are a lot of different things that can ruin the delicate that makes a hearing aid work 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, more than likely you are missing the most common reason for water damage in hearing aids: humidity.
Irreversible damage is done by moisture that you can’t see. It’s essential to educate yourself about why humidity damages hearing aids.
Let’s Talk About Humidity
Despite the fact that 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.
People are very sensitive to humidity because sweat is the most efficient way to cool the body. 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.
Understand Humidities Effect on Hearing Aids
Strangely enough, electronic devices are not just sensitive to high humidity but low levels as well. When it’s too moist, the intricate electronics will collect condensation. When it’s overly dry things become more brittle.
Hearing aids rely heavily on internal electronics to work. A sophisticated audio processing chip manages noise levels in a modern hearing aid. It’s what is behind elegant features like:
- Noise reduction
- Targeted listening programs
- Digital sound streaming
Moisture can collect 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 throwing your hearing aid in a sink of water.
If you are investing in hearing aids, try to look for products that are water-resistant. 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, think about using a room or house dehumidifier to lessen water vapor inside. It’s an investment that will help you and your family in many ways and protect other electronic devices like that expensive TV you got for Christmas. Dehumidifiers reduce the risk of mold, mildew and dust mites, so everyone breathes a little better, too. However, protecting your hearing aid more completely will require additional thinking. There are a few other things you can and should do.
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. There are also storage containers that dry hearing aids out each night as you sleep. In a pinch, you could use a bag of uncooked rice to remove 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. Don’t just do this in the summer, do it all year round.
A cool dry place is the ideal for storage. 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
Damage can be caused by other types of wetness. Take precautions to protect them from other kinds of wet such as:
- 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.
- Wear a sweatband when exercising. 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.
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.