Snow, ice, fog and rain: Winter weather can be miserable, but worse still it can have a harmful effect on your hearing aid. The main problem is moisture getting into the hearing device, which causes the electrical contacts to short or corrosion to set in.
Unfortunately, protecting your hearing aid from moisture isn’t just as simple as using an umbrella to keep the rain off. This is because the change in temperature between a warm house or car and the chill of the outdoors create the perfect conditions for condensation to form. The latter may build up within the housing of the device or in the battery compartment.
Moisture and your hearing aid
If you are sporty then your hearing care professional might have suggested using a waterproof hearing aid, in which case your device is better able to cope with the rigors of winter. However, the majority of people use regular devices and these are vulnerable to water, be if from rain, fog, perspiration or condensation.
At this point you might be thinking that sweat isn’t going to be a problem in winter, but you’d be wrong. When you dress in scarves, mittens and winter hats, it’s easy to get hot especially when doing something active like building a snowman or shoveling snow. Perspiration is as much a danger to your device as rain, a fact you need to be aware of.
Signs that your hearing aid may have suffered water damage include:
- It cuts in and out, sometimes working and sometimes not
- The amplified sounds are distorted
- Loud noise causes the device to cut out
- There is constant static
- Sounds fade in and out
There are other possible explanations aside from moisture, but it’s a good idea to thoroughly dry your device to see if this remedies the problem. To do this, switch off the hearing aid and take out the batteries. (Also, replace these batteries with new ones.) Check the tubing for wax build up and clean as appropriate.
Blot up obvious moisture in the battery compartment using a clean cotton swab or a warm dry cloth. Then place the device in a hearing aid dehumidifier overnight.
Replace the batteries and test. If the device still doesn’t function correctly then contact your hearing healthcare professional..
A good habit to get into is to remove the batteries and leave the device’s casing open overnight to allow any moisture to evaporate. Even better, invest a few dollars in a hearing aid dehumidifier. These vary in complexity but the simplest are inexpensive and involve you placing the device in a tub containing a gel that absorbs moisture: A quick and easy way to protect the investment that is your hearing device.