There are a lot of different things that can damage the delicate technology that makes a hearing aid function the way it does, but not many have the impact of water. Hearing aids seem to self-destruct under severe moisture conditions. Even if you already know that and take care to protect your investment from the shower, pool, or a good face washing, chances are you are missing the most common cause of water damage in hearing aids: humidity.
Irreversible damage is done by moisture that you can’t see. It’s essential to educate yourself about why humidity damages hearing aids.
Humidity is a word that gets bounced around a lot, commonly during the summer months, but what is humidity? PBS defines 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 fast. 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
Strangely enough, electronic devices are not only sensitive to high humidity but low levels as well. When it’s too moist, the delicate electronics will collect condensation. When it’s overly dry things become more brittle.
Internal electronics are the reason your hearing aids work. Newer digital hearing aids use a state-of-the-art signal processing chip to control noise. It’s what is behind elegant functions like:
- Noise reduction
- Targeted listening programs
- Digital sound streaming
Moisture can collect in the hearing aid when humidity is high and damage that component. It can corrode elements inside the casing and destroy batteries also. It’s the same as throwing your hearing aid in a sink of water.
Keeping Humidity Under Control
If you are shopping for hearing aids, try to find products that are water-resistant. Having this feature doesn’t mean you can go swimming with your hearing aids in your ear, but it does give some protection against humidity and other weather-related concerns such as getting caught in an unforeseen rainstorm or even sweat when you work out.
When it’s very humid try to cut down on indoor water vapor by using a dehumidifier. It’s an investment that will benefit you and your family in numerous ways and protect other electronic devices like that costly TV you got for Christmas. 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. They come at all costs levels. Drying kits rely on silica gel crystals to protect the 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.
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.
A cool dry place is the ideal for storage. 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. Take precautions to protect them from other kinds of wet such as:
- 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. It’s a good practice whether you wear your hearing aids when you workout or not. 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. 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.