There are many factors which can affect the electrical circuitry of your hearing aids. 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, 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.
Let’s Talk About Humidity
Even though 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. The greater the percentage, the wetter everything feels.
Humans cool 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. Electronics are also susceptible to humidity and that is why it has such a detrimental effect on hearing aids.
Why Hearing Aids Have difficulty with Humidity
Too high or, too low, humidity can impact your hearing aids. When it’s too moist, the delicate electronics will accumulate condensation. When it’s overly dry things become more brittle.
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
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 equivalent of dropping your hearing aid in a sink of water.
Keeping Humidity Under Control
Water resistant models are currently on the market. This feature will give you some protection from humidity and wet weather, but you still can’t go swimming with them in.
If you live in an area prone to high humidity, think about getting a room or house dehumidifier to lessen water vapor inside. It’s an investment that will help you and your family in numerous ways and protect other electronic devices like that expensive 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. 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. Moisture is eliminated by putting the hearing aids into the dehumidifier for a couple of hours. 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.
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. Don’t just do this in the summer, do it all year round.
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.
Other Moisture Factors
Damage can be caused by other types of wetness. Don’t forget to think about other types of wetness like:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.