There are a lot of different things that can harm the delicate technology that makes a hearing aid work 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 huge problem.
Permanent damage is done by invisible moisture. It’s essential to educate yourself about why humidity harms hearing aids.
Humidity is a word that gets talked about a lot, commonly during the summer months, but what does it mean? PBS defines humidity as water molecules in the air. When displayed 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 larger the percentage, the wetter everything feels.
Human beings are very sensitive to humidity because sweat is the most efficient way to cool down the body. When you sweat it evaporates into the air, but that doesn’t happen as fast 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.
Why Electronics Have an issue with Humid Weather
Oddly enough, electronics are not only sensitive to high humidity but low levels as well. When water vapor percentages are high condensation can collect on the delicate elements that make electronic devices function, and low humidity can result in brittle core materials.
Hearing aids depend heavily on internal electronics to work. An advanced 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 within the hearing aid when humidity is high and harm that component. It can corrode elements inside the casing and destroy batteries as well. You might as well drop your hearing aid in a sink full of water, and the effect is the same.
How to Manage 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 against humidity and other weather-related concerns like getting caught in an unexpected rainstorm or even sweat when you exercise.
When it’s very humid try to cut down on indoor water vapor by using a dehumidifier. It’s not just your hearing aid that will benefit, there are health benefits, and other electronics 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. There is one out there for every budget. 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.
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. 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.
- Wear a sweatband when exercising. If you are wearing your hearing aid then it’s a good idea in general. Sweat in your ears can cause problems later.
- 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.