Winter Hearing Aid Care
Winter is on its way, and if climatologists are correct, this one is slated to bring a bit more moisture than usual to the southern states, as well as some much-needed drought relief to the West Coast. While the need to winterize your house, vehicle, and other equipment exposed to cold temperatures and moisture is obvious, it’s easy to forget about electronic components, like hearing aids, which can be damaged by condensation from changes in temperature and other forms of moisture. Even though you should already follow routine cleaning practices to maintain your hearing aid’s optimum performance, it’s especially important to take good care of it during the winter months when cold, wet conditions are in effect.
Temperature Changes, Condensation, and Other Sources of Moisture
Cold temperatures themselves are seldom severe enough to affect hearing aids, especially when most of your time is spent indoors. It’s the side effect – condensation – that can be damaging to them. Frequent changes in temperature, such as when you come inside the warm house from shoveling snow, can cause moisture to build up inside the hearing aid’s tube, damage the microphone and receiver, and encourage corrosion. This effect is also why you shouldn’t store batteries in the cold.
Other sources of moisture are sweat from outdoor activity, as well as obvious precipitation. All of these sources have the same effect on your hearing aid, and it’s not a good one. Here are a few signs your hearing aid might be affected by moisture:
- It stops and starts working again randomly
- It cuts out during loud noises
- Reception starts to fade in an out
- Static accompanies sound
- Sounds become distorted
Anti-Moisture Treatment & Prevention
If you’ve experienced any of the previous issues and suspect there’s moisture inside, one of the following methods may succeed in drying it out and restoring its function.
- Remove the battery and dry the contact points with a cotton swab. You may need to completely replace the battery, but this is worth a try.
- Use a dry kit or dehumidifier.
- Place the hearing aid on newspaper overnight.
- Place it near a lamp, but not too close to the heat.
- Put it in a bag with dry rice or silica gel, which are sometimes effective at removing moisture.
- Place it near a fan or hair dryer on low heat.
If none of these drying methods work, you may need to take it to a hearing health professional for repair or replacement. Of course, it’s always better to prevent moisture damage from happening by cleaning and using a dry kit on a daily basis during winter months. Additionally, wearing a moisture-wicking band over your ears when you’re especially active may help keep moisture from getting into your hearing aid.
If you’re experiencing any problems with your hearing aid -- whether moisture-related or otherwise -- or if you suspect your hearing may have changed, contact and schedule an appointment with your hearing care team as soon as possible.