There are a lot of different things that can ruin 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. Taking that into consideration, humidity is a big problem.
Invisible moisture has the greatest chance of causing irreparable damage. It’s important to educate yourself about why humidity harms hearing aids.
Let’s Talk About Humidity
Humidity is a word that gets talked about a lot, especially during the summer months, but what does it mean? 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.
Humans are very sensitive to humidity because sweat is the most efficient way to cool down the body. When humidity levels are too high our sweat won’t evaporate as fast. Moisture and electronics don’t mix well and that includes hearing aids.
Why Electronics Have a Problem with Humid Weather
Too high or, too low, humidity can influence your hearing aids. When it’s too moist, the delicate electronics will accumulate condensation. When it’s too dry things become more brittle.
Hearing aids depend heavily on internal electronics to work. Modern digital hearing aids use a sophisticated signal 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 accumulate in the hearing aids destroying that chip. It can corrode elements inside the casing and destroy batteries also. You might as well throw your hearing aid in a tub full of water, and the effect is the same.
Dealing With Humidity
Water resistant models are currently available. This feature will give you some protection from humidity and bad weather, but you still can’t go swimming with them in.
If you live in a humid area, consider getting a room or house dehumidifier to minimize water vapor indoors. It’s an investment that will benefit you and your family in many ways and protect other electronic devices like that costly 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. You will need to take other steps at the same time.
Look for the dehumidifier made for hearing aids. There is one out there for every budget. Silica gel crystals in a drying kit are used to protect 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.
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.
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
Damage can be caused by other types of wetness. 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.
- Find a safe place to store your hearing aids if headed for the pool or beach.
- 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.
- 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. 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.