There are a lot of different things that can harm the delicate technology that makes a hearing aid work the way it does, but not many 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 reason for water damage in hearing aids: humidity.
Moisture that you can’t see has the greatest chance of causing permanent damage. It’s time to learn more about why humidity is a negative thing for hearing aids.
What is Humidity?
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. The relative humidity refers to the ratio of water molecules in the air compared to how many the air can actually hold. The larger the percentage, the wetter everything feels.
Humans cool down 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 fast when the humidity level is high. Moisture and electronics don’t mix well and that includes hearing aids.
As A General Rule Electronic Devices Have a Hard Time Dealing With Humidity
Too high or, too low, humidity can affect your hearing aids. When water vapor percentages are high condensation can collect on the delicate elements that make electronic devices work, and low humidity can cause brittle core materials.
Hearing aids rely 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. It can corrode elements inside the casing and destroy batteries as well. You might as well throw your hearing aid in a tub full of water, and the effect is the same.
Keeping Humidity Under Control
Water resistant models are currently on the market. This feature will give you some protection from humidity and bad weather, but you still can’t go swimming with them in.
When it’s very humid try to cut down on indoor water vapor by using a dehumidifier. It’s not just your hearing aid that will benefit, there are health benefits, and other electronics in the home will also be protected. 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. 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. Drying kits rely on silica gel crystals to protect the 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.
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.
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
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.
- Leave your hearing aids in a safe place before you go swimming.
- When exercising wear a sweatband. If you are wearing your hearing aid then it’s a good idea in general. Later that sweat will cause problems.
- Check surfaces before you put your hearing aid down. 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.