There are a lot of different things that can damage the delicate that makes a hearing aid work the way it does, but few 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, more than likely 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 harms hearing aids.
What is Humidity?
Despite the fact that the word humidity is very common, what does it really mean? 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. The higher the percentage, the wetter everything feels.
Human beings are very sensitive to humidity because sweat is the most efficient way to cool down the body. 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 Electronics Have an issue with Humidity
Strangely enough, electronics 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 too dry things become more brittle.
Internal electronics are the reason your hearing aids work. Modern digital hearing aids use a sophisticated signal processing chip to manage noise. Because of this, you get amazing features like:
- Noise reduction
- Targeted listening programs
- Digital sound streaming
High humidity causes moisture to accumulate in the hearing aids damaging that chip. Batteries get destroyed and you get corrosion of elements inside of the case. It’s the equivalent of throwing your hearing aid in a tub of water.
How to Manage Humidity
If you are investing in hearing aids, look for products that are water-resistant. 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 using a room or house dehumidifier to decrease water vapor indoors. It’s an investment that will benefit you and your family in many 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. 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. 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. 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. If you are wearing your hearing aid then it’s a good idea in general. Sweat in your ears can cause problems later.
- Try not to put your hearing aid down on wet surfaces. 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.