There are many factors which can affect the electrical circuitry of your hearing aids. In fact, you could call moisture kryptonite for hearing aids. Taking that into consideration, humidity is a big problem.
Invisible moisture has the highest 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 bounced around a lot, especially 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. When you can feel wetness in the air, that means the relative humidity is high.
Humans cool their body by sweating so that makes us very sensitive to humidity. When humidity levels are too high our sweat will not evaporate as quickly. Moisture and electronics don’t mix well and that includes hearing aids.
Understand Humidities Effect on Hearing Aids
Oddly enough, electronics are not just sensitive to high humidity but low levels as well. When water vapor percentages are high condensation can accumulate on the delicate elements that make electronics function, and low humidity can result in brittle core materials.
Internal electronics are the reason your hearing aids work. A sophisticated signal 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
High humidity causes moisture to collect in the hearing aids destroying that chip. Batteries get destroyed and you get corrosion of elements inside of the case. You might as well throw your hearing aid in a pool full of water, and the effect is the same.
Keeping Humidity Under Control
Water resistant models are currently available. This feature will give you some protection from humidity and bad 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 minimize 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.
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. 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. 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. Don’t just do this in the summer, do it all year round.
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.
Thinking Beyond Humidity
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.
- Find a safe place to store your hearing aids if headed for the pool or beach.
- Wear a sweatband when exercising. It’s a good practice whether you wear your hearing aids when you workout or not. 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.