Are Your Hearing Aids Getting Damaged by Humidity?
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, more than likely you are missing the most common reason for water damage in hearing aids: humidity.
Irreversible damage is done by invisible moisture. It’s time to learn more about why humidity is a negative thing for hearing aids.
Despite the fact that the word humidity is very common, what does it really mean? PBS defines 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. 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 won’t evaporate as quickly. Moisture and electronics don’t mix well and that includes hearing aids.
Why Hearing Aids Have an issue with Humidity
Strangely enough, electronic devices are not just sensitive to high humidity but low levels as well. When it’s too damp, the intricate electronics will accumulate condensation. When it’s overly dry things become more brittle.
Hearing aids rely heavily on internal electronics to work. Newer digital hearing aids use a sophisticated signal processing chip to control noise. Because of this, you get awesome features like:
- Noise reduction
- Targeted listening programs
- Digital sound streaming
Moisture can accumulate in 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 equivalent of throwing your hearing aid in a sink of water.
Keeping Humidity Under Control
Water resistant models are currently on the market. Having this feature doesn’t mean you can swim with your hearing aids in your ear, but it does offer some protection from humidity and other weather-related issues such as getting caught in an unforeseen rainstorm or even sweat when you work out.
When it’s very humid try to lessen indoor water vapor by using a dehumidifier. It’s an investment that will benefit 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.
Consider buying a dehumidifier designed especially 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.
Other Moisture Issues
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. It’s a good practice whether you wear your hearing aids when you workout or not. Later that sweat will cause problems.
- 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. 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.