There are many factors which can affect the electrical 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 reason for water damage in hearing aids: humidity.
Invisible moisture has the highest chance of causing irreparable damage. It’s time to understand more about why humidity is a bad thing for hearing aids.
What is Humidity?
Humidity is a word that gets bounced around 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. When you can feel wetness in the air, that means the relative humidity is high.
Humans are very sensitive to humidity because sweat is the most efficient 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.
In General Electronics Have a Hard Time Dealing With Humid Weather
Oddly enough, electronic devices are not just sensitive to high humidity but low levels as well. When water vapor percentages are high condensation can accumulate on the delicate elements that make electronics function, and low humidity can lead to brittle core materials.
Internal electronics are the reason your hearing aids work. A sophisticated signal processing chip manages 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 collect inside the hearing aid when humidity is high and damage that component. It can corrode elements inside the casing and destroy batteries also. It’s the equivalent of dropping your hearing aid in a sink of water.
How to Control Humidity
If you are shopping for 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 provide some protection against humidity and other weather-related issues such as 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 help you and your family in numerous 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. 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.
Consider buying a dehumidifier designed especially 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. Drying your hearing aids as you sleep at night can be done using specially designed storage containers. 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.
A cool dry place is the ideal for storage. 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:
- Make sure all lotion or sunscreen is fully absorbed before touching your hearing aids or putting them in your ears.
- Find a safe place to store your hearing aids if headed for the pool or beach.
- 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.
- Try not to put your hearing aid down on wet surfaces. A glass or coffee cup can leave moisture behind.
Treat your hearing like the valuable asset that it is. 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.