There are many factors which can affect the electrical circuitry of your hearing aids. Hearing aids seem to self-destruct under severe moisture conditions. 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.
Moisture that you can’t see has the highest chance of causing permanent damage. It’s essential to educate yourself about why humidity damages hearing aids.
Let’s Talk About 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 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. When you can feel wetness in the air, that means the relative humidity is high.
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 fast when the humidity level is very high. Moisture and electronics don’t mix well and that includes hearing aids.
Typically Electronic Devices Have a Hard Time Dealing With Humidity
Too high or, too low, humidity can influence your hearing aids. When water vapor percentages are high condensation can collect on the intricate elements that make electronics work, and low humidity can result in brittle core materials.
Internal electronics are the reason your hearing aids work. An advanced signal processing chip controls noise levels in a newer hearing aid. It’s what is behind elegant functions like:
- Noise reduction
- Targeted listening programs
- Digital sound streaming
Moisture can accumulate inside the hearing aid when humidity is high and ruin that component. It can corrode elements inside the casing and ruin batteries as well. You might as well throw your hearing aid in a pool full of water, and the effect is the same.
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 provide some protection against humidity and other weather-related concerns like getting caught in an unexpected rainstorm or even sweat when you work out.
When it’s very humid try to decrease indoor water vapor by using a dehumidifier. 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. You will need to take other steps at the same time.
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. 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.
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.
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.
Other Moisture Factors
Damage can be caused by other types of wetness. Take precautions to protect them from other kinds of wet such as:
- Make sure all lotion or sunscreen is fully absorbed before touching your hearing aids or putting them in your ears.
- Leave your hearing aids in a safe place before you go swimming.
- When exercising wear a sweatband. 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.