There are a lot of different things that can harm the delicate technology that makes a hearing aid function the way it does, but few have the impact of water. In fact, you could call moisture kryptonite for hearing aids. Taking that into consideration, humidity is a big problem.
Permanent damage is done by invisible moisture. It’s time to understand more about why humidity is a bad thing for hearing aids.
What is 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. The relative humidity refers to the ratio of water molecules in the air compared to how many the air can actually hold. The larger the percentage, the wetter everything feels.
Human beings are very sensitive to humidity because sweat is the most effective way to cool the body. When you sweat it evaporates into the air, but that doesn’t happen as quickly 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.
As A General Rule Electronic Devices Have a Hard Time Dealing With Humidity
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 intricate elements that make electronics work, and low humidity can lead to brittle core materials.
Hearing aids rely heavily on internal electronics to work. A sophisticated audio processing chip controls noise levels in a newer hearing aid. It’s what is behind elegant functions like:
- Noise reduction
- Targeted listening programs
- Digital sound streaming
Moisture can collect within the hearing aid when humidity is high and damage that component. Batteries get wrecked and you get corrosion of elements inside of the case. It’s the same as dropping your hearing aid in a sink of water.
Keeping Humidity Under Control
Water resistant models are currently available. Having this feature doesn’t mean you can swim with your hearing aids in place, but it does offer some protection from humidity and other weather-related concerns such as getting caught in an unforeseen rainstorm or even sweat when you work out.
If you live in an area prone to high humidity, consider getting a room or house dehumidifier to lessen 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. There is one out there for every budget. Drying kits rely on silica gel crystals to protect the electronics. Moisture is eliminated by putting the hearing aids into the dehumidifier for a couple of hours. 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.
Get in the habit of opening the battery compartment every time you store your hearing aids. 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.
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 Factors
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.
- 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.
- 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. 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.