Is Moisture Causing Harm Inside Your Hearing Aids?
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, chances are you are missing the most common cause of water damage in hearing aids: humidity.
Invisible moisture has the greatest chance of causing permanent damage. It’s important to educate yourself about why humidity harms hearing aids.
Humidity is a word that gets talked about a lot, commonly during the summer months, but what does it mean? PBS defines 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 larger 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 high. Moisture and electronics don’t mix well and that includes hearing aids.
Why Hearing Aids Have a Problem with Humid Weather
Too high or, too low, humidity can affect your hearing aids. When water vapor percentages are high condensation can accumulate on the delicate mechanisms that make electronics work, and low humidity can result in brittle core materials.
Hearing aids rely heavily on internal electronics to work. An advanced audio processing chip manages noise levels in a modern hearing aid. Because of this, you get amazing features like:
- Noise reduction
- Targeted listening programs
- Digital sound streaming
Moisture can collect in the hearing aid when humidity is high and ruin that component. Batteries get ruined and you get corrosion of elements inside of the case. You might as well throw your hearing aid in a sink full of water, and the effect is the same.
How to Manage Humidity
If you are shopping for hearing aids, try to look for products that are water-resistant. This feature will give you some protection against humidity and bad weather, but you still can’t go swimming with them in.
When it’s very humid try to decrease indoor water vapor by using a dehumidifier. It’s not only your hearing aid that will benefit, there are health benefits, and other electronic devices in your house 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. 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. If it is very humid and you have no other way, uncooked rice can reduce 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. Avoid putting them in the glove compartment, in a hot room or on a table in the sun.
Other Moisture Issues
Damage can be caused by other types of wetness. Don’t forget to think about other types of wetness like:
- 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. If you are wearing your hearing aid then it’s a good idea in general. 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. 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.