How Moisture Can KO Your Hearing Aids
There are a lot of different things that can harm the delicate technology that makes a hearing aid function the way it does, but not many have the impact of water. In fact, you could call moisture kryptonite for hearing aids. 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 reason for water damage in hearing aids: humidity.
Moisture that you can’t see has the greatest chance of causing irreparable damage. It’s important to educate yourself about why humidity damages hearing aids.
Let’s Talk About Humidity
Despite the fact that the word humidity is very common, what does it actually mean? 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. The higher the percentage, the wetter everything feels.
Humans cool down their body by sweating so that makes us very sensitive to humidity. When you sweat it evaporates into the air, but that doesn’t happen as quickly when the humidity level is very high. Moisture and electronics don’t mix well and that includes hearing aids.
Why Hearing Aids Have a Problem with Humidity
Too high or, too low, humidity can affect your hearing aids. When it’s too damp, the intricate electronics will collect condensation. When it’s too dry things become more brittle.
Hearing aids rely heavily on internal electronics to function. Newer digital hearing aids use a state-of-the-art audio processing chip to manage noise. 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 ruin that component. It can corrode elements inside the casing and ruin batteries also. You might as well throw your hearing aid in a tub full of water, and the effect is the same.
How to Manage Humidity
Water resistant models are currently on the market. 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 getting a room or house dehumidifier to minimize water vapor indoors. It’s not just 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. However, protecting your hearing aid more completely will require additional thinking. You will need to take other steps at the same time.
Consider buying a dehumidifier designed especially for hearing aids. There is one out there for every budget. 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. 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. 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 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.
- Leave your hearing aids in a safe place before you go swimming.
- 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.
- Try not to put your hearing aid down on wet surfaces. A glass or coffee cup can leave moisture behind.
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.