Hearing aids need to be cared for in order to operate and function properly. Is your device is suffering from moisture or heat? Read our helpful article.

Hearing aids have come a long way since their invention in 1898. They are smaller, a lot more discreet, and much more comfortable. This, of course, has its advantages. But it also means that it is very easy to forget that you are even wearing them, which can often result in them ending up in the shower or swimming pool by mistake.

Hearing aids, just like other electronic devices (such as your cell phone), are sensitive to both heat and moisture. They contain incredibly sophisticated technology and circuitry in a very small shell. Even though hearing aids are now being made to be water resistant, it is still recommended that you remove them when showering, bathing, or swimming. Moisture can clog up the openings of a hearing aid and can also build up in the tubing. This can result in the frequency response of your hearing technology being affected. It can also corrode certain components and battery contact points, or short-circuit the receivers and microphones. A small amount exposure to moisture may not cause too much harm, but prolonged exposure will do a lot of damage and affect the performance of your hearing devices.

How do you know if there is moisture in your hearing aid? You may notice some of the following:

  • Your hearing aid makes a static or crackling sound
    • Corrosion of electrical connections can create static sounds
  • The sound from your hearing aid is slightly distorted
  • Your hearing device sounds as if it is fading in and out
    • Damaged connections can cause the audio output of your hearing aid to become uneven in its performance
  • Your aid works intermittently
    • If your hearing aid suddenly turns off and then on again, corrosion may have damaged the battery contacts

If you think your hearing aids may have moisture damage, do a general check first to make sure it is not something that can be easily solved first:

  1. Is the device turned on?
  2. Are the batteries in correctly or need to be replaced?
  3. Do the battery contacts need to be cleaned?
  4. Is the tubing/receiver wire intact?
  5. Are the wax filters blocked?
  6. Is your mould/dome clean?

If all these things are fine, it could be a moisture problem.

What must you do if you have a moisture problem or if the hearing aids come in contact with water?

  1. Remove the battery
  2. Dry them immediately with a towel
  3. Get them in your drying device ASAP

If they are still not working after a few hours, let you hearing-care professional know, and get them sent in to the manufacture for a service/repair.

DO NOT try to dry them with a hair drier or other heated device, since extreme heat can damage or even destroy your hearing aids and hearing aid batteries. It is possible for the plastic casing on your hearing aids to melt when exposed to high heat, but the most likely thing to happen first is that your hearing aids will be damaged internally. The heat can damage the electronics inside the hearing aid and can also considerably reduce the battery life.

How do you prevent moisture and heat damage? Some effective and common preventative measures include the following:

  • Choose a hearing device that comes with nanocoating or a high IP (water resistance) rating
  • If you are prone to excessive sweating, remove your hearing aids when exercising, or else try to exercise during the cooler parts of the day
  • Keeping your technology in a drying device when not in use
    • This could be an air-tight tub with a desiccant tablet or an electronic drying box

The best way to prevent the hearing aids from getting heat damage, is just to make sure they are always kept in a cool dry place, like in their box. If you go out, make sure to take a box with you. If you must take them off when it is very hot outside, make sure to put them in the box and ensure that the box is kept inside a bag or under a towel.

Although cleaning and looking after your devices at home can significantly improve the life of your hearing aids, you should still bring them in to be properly cared for by a professional. They may be able to spot something that needs to be repaired that you may not have noticed. They are also able to make adjustments to your devices to better suit your hearing needs. If there is something wrong with the hearing aid and they are not able to fix it, they can also send them through to the manufacturers to open up the device and give it a more thorough cleaning or repair. It is recommended that hearing aids are sent in for servicing every six months to a year, to maintain the life of the hearing aid. During a hearing aid service, the manufacturer will check all the internal and external components of the hearing device, to ensure the aid is still functioning correctly.

– By Talia Lifson