There are a lot of different things that can damage the delicate that makes a hearing aid function the way it does, but few have the impact of water. Hearing aids seem to self-destruct under extreme moisture conditions. Taking that into consideration, humidity is a big problem.
Irreversible damage is done by moisture that you can’t see. It’s time to understand more about why humidity is a negative thing for hearing aids.
Let’s Talk About Humidity
Humidity is a word that gets talked about a lot, commonly during the summer months, but what is humidity? PBS describes 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. 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 effective 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.
Understand Humidities Effect on Hearing Aids
Too high or, too low, humidity can impact your hearing aids. When water vapor percentages are high condensation can accumulate on the intricate elements that make electronics function, and low humidity can result in brittle core materials.
Internal electronics are the reason your hearing aids work. Newer digital hearing aids use a state-of-the-art audio processing chip to control noise. It’s what is behind elegant features like:
- Noise reduction
- Targeted listening programs
- Digital sound streaming
Moisture can collect within the hearing aid when humidity is high and harm that component. Batteries get destroyed and you get corrosion of elements inside of the case. It’s the same as throwing your hearing aid in a tub of water.
If you are looking at hearing aids, try to find 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, consider getting a room or house dehumidifier to reduce water vapor inside. 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.
Look for the dehumidifier made for hearing aids. They come at all costs levels. 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. 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. 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.
Thinking Beyond Humidity
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. Sweat in your ears can cause problems later.
- Check surfaces before you put your hearing aid down. A glass or coffee cup can leave moisture behind.
Your hearing aids are a valuable asset, so treat them that way. 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.