There are a lot of different things that can damage the delicate technology that makes a hearing aid work the way it does, but few have the impact of water. Hearing aids seem to self-destruct under extreme moisture conditions. Taking that into consideration, humidity is a huge problem.
Irreversible damage is done by moisture that you can’t see. It’s time to learn more about why humidity is a negative thing for hearing aids.
What is Humidity?
Despite the fact that the word humidity is very common, what does it actually 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 greater the percentage, the wetter everything feels.
People are very sensitive to humidity because sweat is the most effective way to cool the body. When humidity levels are high our sweat will not evaporate as fast. Moisture and electronics don’t mix well and that includes hearing aids.
Typically Electronics Have a Hard Time Dealing With Humidity
Too high or, too low, humidity can affect your hearing aids. When it’s too moist, the intricate electronics will collect condensation. When it’s too dry things become more brittle.
Hearing aids depend heavily on internal electronics to work. A sophisticated 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
High humidity causes moisture to accumulate in the hearing aids damaging that chip. Batteries get wrecked and you get corrosion of elements inside of the case. It’s the same as throwing your hearing aid in a tub 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 place, but it does give some protection from humidity and other weather-related concerns like getting caught in an unforeseen rainstorm or even sweat when you exercise.
When it’s very humid try to minimize indoor water vapor by using a dehumidifier. It’s an investment that will benefit you and your family in numerous 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. Although a house or room dehumidifier will help protect your hearing aids, it’s not enough. You will need to take other steps at the same time.
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. 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. 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. 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. Avoid putting them in the glove compartment, in a hot room or on a table in the sun.
Thinking Beyond Humidity
Air vapor is not the only moisture that can damage hearing aids. 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. It’s a good practice whether you wear your hearing aids when you workout or not. Later that sweat will cause problems.
- Check surfaces before you put your hearing aid down. A glass or coffee cup can leave moisture behind.
Your hearing aids are a valuable asset, so treat them that way. 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.