Your hearing aids are tiny computers, and just like with laptops and tablets, moisture can present a challenge. Humidity can affect hearing aids in a couple of ways. First, just like condensation that develops on a soft drink can, moisture results when warm, humid air meets the cooler metal components of your hearing devices. Second, humidity makes you sweat and makes it harder for sweat to evaporate. This means some of your sweat may end up in or on your devices.
What is Humidity?
Humidity is a measurement of the amount of water vapor in the air. Hot air can hold a lot of water vapor, but cold air cannot. When hot air meets cold air, the drop-in temperature means a drop in how much water vapor the air can hold. For example, when a cold can of soda meets humid air, water droplets form on the side of the can. This is because any water vapor from the humid air that can’t fit in the cold air around the can becomes condensation.
How Will Humidity Effect Your Hearing Aid
If the humidity is high enough to make you uncomfortable, your hearing aids are being affected. Moisture will clog ports and opening and may cause your hearing aids to work intermittently or not at all.
Prolonged exposure to high humidity can do a lot of damage. Moisture can build up in the tubing, which can affect the frequency response of your hearing device. It can also corrode components and battery contact points or short-circuit the microphones and receivers. In short, moisture is like kryptonite to your hearing aids.
Common signs of moisture damage include:
- Sound is full of static or crackling
- Sound is distorted
- Sound cuts out during loud noises
- Sound fades in and out
- Device works intermittently
How to Protect Your Hearing Aids
If you are out and about when humidity levels are high, be sure to check your hearing aids for moisture damage. If you suspect you have moisture damage, here are a few things to check: First, make sure your batteries are in correctly and are fully charged. Is there any discoloration when you open the battery door? Do the battery contacts need to be cleaned or dried? Does your tubing have excess wax or moisture? How are the filters and ports? If all else checks out, it could be a moisture problem.
It is always best to use a drying device at night. There are boxes with silica compounds that act as desiccants. You can remove the batteries at night and place your hearing aids in the box. While you sleep, the desiccant will draw moisture out of the hearing aids and help them dry.
There are also electronic drying boxes. These boxes use a germidical lamp, airflow and heat lamps to dry out your hearing aids overnight. They require electricity and run on an eight-hour cycle.
Common, effective preventive measures include:
- Choosing devices with nanocoating or a high IP (water resistance) rating
- Hearing aid sweatbands that allow sound through but keep moisture out
- Exercising during the cooler parts of the day
- Removing your technology when exercising
- Keeping your technology in a drying device when not in use
If you are concerned you may have hearing loss, it is important that you have your hearing checked as soon as possible. Dr. Joe Griffith, AuD,CCC-A is a certified audiologist who makes “house calls”. Call him at (504) 738-4557 or visit accessiblehearing.com to schedule your hearing test today. You are just a phone call away from the hearing help you need and deserve.