Hearing aids are delicate machines with lots of moving parts. Because of this, they require different kinds of maintenance with each season’s change. Prolonged exposure in frigid months can zap your hearing aid’s batteries and lead to cracked plastic components. In summer months that can be hot and dry one day, or humid and full of sudden thunderstorms, your hearing aid device can suffer in other ways. As we transition from the freezing cold temperatures of winter to the warming temperatures of spring and summer, condensation can build up in hearing aids and cause damage. Moisture can have a negative effect on the electronic elements that make hearing aids work. Batteries can short out and other components can corrode.
Damage to your hearing aid of course means there will be damage to your hearing abilities! Damaged hearing aids can result in shorter batter life and devices that shut down unexpectedly. The sound quality of damaged devices can be distorted, weak, or garbled.
There are few waterproof hearing aids or that are water-resistant. There are several things you can do, however, to ensure that your hearing aid is in the best conditions possible no matter what summer weather you encounter.
- First and foremost, always check the weather during unpredictable summer months! If you live in a consistently hot climate (especially one that is humid), you may also be living in a place with constant air conditioner—meaning that your hearing aid might be susceptible to constantly changing temperature conditions that can lead to the buildup of condensation. Many places experience daily rains in the summer. Remember to always have a covering on-hand to protect your hearing aid devices from sudden, windy rains.
- Be sure to store your hearing aids in a clean container that is located in a cool and dry location. Heat can cause major damage to hearing aids, so do not leave them, for example, in your car while you run an errand, or on top of a counter or table that is exposed to the sun. It can be easy to forget the location of your hearing aids, especially if you leave them out but not in a container or in a dedicated space that you return to. Try to store your hearing aids in the same place every time you take them out.
- Remove your hearing aids when you are exercising. This may seem like a no-brainer, but we often become so comfortable with our hearing aid devices that we forget that they are there at all. Exercising, especially in summer months, simply means more opportunities for your hearing aids to collect moisture. So, it is very important to remove them before you get too sweaty.
- Apply sunscreen before inserting your hearing aids, and wash sunscreen from your hand before removing hearing aids. The oils in sunscreen can invade the small crevices of your hearing aid device and create blockages that are more difficult to clear out than, say, water or sweat. If you think more consciously about when and where you insert and remove your devices, you can limit their exposure to substances such as sunscreen that may cause damage.
If your hearing aid does become exposed to moisture or debris such as sand, there are a handful of things you can do to minimize damage. Of course, dry the device with a towel very gently, or use a hair dryer on the cool setting (never on warm air or hot settings, as this can further damage a hearing aid). You can also acquire a dehumidifier to dry your device. Much like you can do if your cellphone gets wet, you can put your hearing aid into a bag of uncooked rice. No matter what, be sure to get your hearing aid to a hearing aid professional to be checked out as soon as possible.
In the summer months you may find yourself paying more attention to your hearing aid care in order to avoid costly damage. The benefits of doing so far outweigh a careless mistake that can lead to lasting damage. Visit us at Hearing Group for regular maintenance before summer starts and as the seasons change come fall. Between yourself and your hearing health professional, you will ensure a long life for your hearing aid—and a full, vibrant life for yourself no matter the weather.