There are many factors which can affect the circuitry of your hearing aids. In fact, you could call moisture kryptonite for hearing aids. Taking that into consideration, humidity is a big problem.
Irreversible damage is done by invisible moisture. It’s essential to educate yourself about why humidity damages hearing aids.
Humidity is a word that gets bounced around a lot, especially during the summer months, but what does it mean? PBS describes 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. 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 quickly when the humidity level is very high. Electronics are also susceptible to humidity and that is why it has such a detrimental effect on hearing aids.
Why Hearing Aids Have difficulty 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 mechanisms that make electronic devices function, and low humidity can lead to brittle core materials.
Hearing aids rely heavily on internal electronics to function. Newer digital hearing aids use a state-of-the-art audio processing chip to manage noise. It’s what is behind elegant functions like:
- Noise reduction
- Targeted listening programs
- Digital sound streaming
High humidity causes moisture to collect in the hearing aids damaging that chip. Batteries get wrecked and you get corrosion of elements inside of the case. It’s the equivalent of throwing your hearing aid in a sink of water.
Keeping Humidity Under Control
If you are investing in hearing aids, try to look for products that are water-resistant. Having this feature doesn’t mean you can go swimming with your hearing aids in your ear, but it does give some protection from humidity and other weather-related concerns such as getting caught in an unforeseen rainstorm or even sweat when you exercise.
When it’s very humid try to lessen 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 your house 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. 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. Silica gel crystals in a drying kit are used to protect 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. 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. 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. On the table in the sun, in the glove compartment, or in a hot room are examples of where not to store your hearing aids.
Thinking Past 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. Sweat in your ears can cause problems later.
- 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.