How Humidity Affects Your Hearing Aids

by | Jul 16, 2021 | Hearing Aids, Patient Resources

Water is one of the biggest dangers for hearing aids, which is why humidity can be a big issue.

Modern hearing aids have very complex inner workings and there are many things that can damage them. You rely on your hearing aids every day and if they are not functioning properly, it can have a big impact on your quality of life. Water is one of the biggest dangers for hearing aids, which is why humidity can be a big issue.

The problem is, you cannot always tell if the environment is too humid, and this can cause irreparable damage to your hearing aids. If they are not functioning normally, you should take them to your audiologist to get them checked over. However, you should also consider whether humidity levels could be causing issues. This page will tell you everything you need to know about how humidity affects your hearing aids.

What Is Humidity?

Everybody is familiar with the concept of humidity but you may not know exactly what it means. Humidity is a term used to describe the level of water molecules in the air and the relative humidity describes the number of water molecules present compared with the maximum amount the air can hold. When humidity is very high, the air may feel wet. But even if it doesn’t necessarily feel that wet, humidity levels could still be damaging your hearing aids.

Why Does Humidity Damage Hearing Aids?

Your hearing aids are constructed using lots of small, sensitive electronic elements. The components that take in sound, process the signals and then amplify them are all prone to damage from water. When levels of humidity are very high, moisture will build up and collect on the electronic components, potentially causing damage. If moisture is particularly high, this can break the hearing aids completely. Excess levels of moisture also build up in the tubing, which can affect the frequency response of the hearing aids.

When it is hot and humid, you are likely to sweat more and sweat doesn’t evaporate as quickly. This further increases the levels of moisture on the components and degrades the sensitive electronics.

Common Signs of Hearing Aid Damage

If your hearing aids are damaged by humidity, there are some common signs that you will notice. Look out for static and cracking, distortion, sound cutting out during loud noises, sound fading in and out and the hearing aids only working some of the time. In some cases, your hearing aids may simply need to be adjusted, so speak to your audiologist to see if they can be fixed. However, it may be the case that humidity has damaged the internal workings beyond repair and the hearing aids need to be replaced.

How to Fix Humidity Damage

When you suspect you might have a humidity problem, there are a few things you can do to get them working again. Do a few simple checks to make sure that they are switched on and the battery is charged properly.

If everything else seems to be in order, it’s likely that humidity is the issue. To prevent further damage, you need to take your hearing aids out and dry them fully. If you have in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids, take them out and put them in your drying device with the battery door open. For behind-the-ear (BTE) devices, you should check the tubing for moisture build up and use a puffer to clear moisture from the earmold tubing. Then, put them in your drying device for a few hours, even if they don’t look like they have much moisture on them.

How to Prevent Humidity Damage

Prevention is the best way to extend the lifespan of your hearing aids, and there are a few simple things you can do to reduce moisture. When you are getting new hearing aids, speak to your audiologist about options with a nanocoating and a high-water resistance rating.

You should also avoid wearing your hearing aids when exercising or at the very least, exercise during the coolest part of the day to reduce sweating. You can also get hearing aid sweatbands that will prevent moisture without blocking the sound.

If you are concerned about moisture in your home, you can get a humidity tester to monitor the levels. A dehumidifier will help you keep it under control and prevent damage to your hearing aids. A hearing aid drying storage case is incredibly effective too.

If you think that you may have a moisture issue with your hearing aids or want to explore water-resistant options, get in touch with Allison Audiology & Hearing Aid Center to speak to an audiologist today. You can call us at Houston: 713-827-1767 to learn more about how we can help.

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Jana Emola-Austin, Au.D.

Raised in Bryan, Texas, Jana completed her undergraduate studies at Texas A&M University before attending the University of North Texas with an ambition to earn her master’s degree in speech pathology. However, a required audiology class soon set her on a new career path. She became enthralled with the subject and says audiology resonated with her because it involved everything she enjoys – helping people to improve their lives and relationships with others and using technology to make positive impacts. Following this revelation, Jana went on to graduate with her Doctor of Audiology degree. After many years of assisting patients in the clinic on a daily basis, Jana’s main responsibilities at Allison Audiology have shifted to a management role. She now works behind the scenes focusing on administrative, management, and marketing responsibilities.