There are many factors which can affect the circuitry of your hearing aids. Hearing aids seem to self-destruct under extreme 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.
Permanent damage is done by invisible moisture. It’s important to educate yourself about why humidity damages 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 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.
Human beings are very sensitive to humidity because sweat is the most effective way to cool down the body. When you sweat it evaporates into the air, but that doesn’t happen as fast 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 accumulate on the intricate mechanisms that make electronics function, and low humidity can lead to 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. Because of this, you get awesome features like:
- Noise reduction
- Targeted listening programs
- Digital sound streaming
High humidity causes moisture to accumulate inside 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.
How to Get A Handle On Humidity
Water resistant models are currently available. This feature will give you some protection from humidity and bad weather, but you still can’t swim with them in.
If you live in an area prone to high humidity, think about getting a room or house dehumidifier to cut down on water vapor inside. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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 Beyond 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.
- 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.
- Try not to put your hearing aid down on wet surfaces. A glass or coffee cup can leave moisture behind.
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.