July 5, 2010

Ask the Audiologist

margaretBy Margaret Christiansen, AU.D, CCC-A
Audiology Consultants, P.C.

Why does it seem my hearing aid breaks down more in the summer months?

It’s that time of year again! We are starting to enjoy the good ‘ol Midwest heat and humidity. Unfortunately, with the rise in temperature we also see a rise in hearing aid malfunction. Moisture is a common culprit of hearing aid breakdown. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help reduce the chance that moisture will cause problems with your hearing aid. 

A certain amount of moisture in hearing aids is inevitable, and some people are going to stuggle more with moisture related problems than others. Movement between the warm temperatures outside and a cool, air-conditioned environment can result in condensation inside a hearing aid. Use of a drying system, such as a Dry and Store is an efficient way to combat moisture in hearing aids. The Dry and Store is an electronic box that you put your hearing aids in every night. This runs through a 6-8 hours cycle that pulls moisture out of your hearing aids as well as sanitizes the surface of the aids. Consistent use of a Dry and Store has been shown to reduce hearing aid repairs significantly!

If you are actively perspiring while wearing a hearing aid, periodically wiping down the outside of the hearing aid and the battery compartment can help reduce moisture related problems. Sweat bands can be worn to help keep moisture away from the hearing aids. Behind the ear hearing aids can even accommodate water proof casings that can be slid over the hearing aid to wick moisture away from the aids. Opening the battery doors when the hearing aids are not in use can also help dry the moisture that has made its way inside the hearing aid. This will help reduce the chance of corrosion inside the aids.

There may be some situations where it is smarter to take the hearing aids off and leave them in a safe place. For example, if you are going to be exercising or working in the yard and know you will be perspiring, it may be wise to take your hearing aids out to avoid the moisture that may get in them. If you are going to be perspiring and don’t need your hearing aids, take them out. 

Of course, there are going to be times when you know you will be perspiring but still want to wear your hearing aids. By all means…wear your hearing aids! Go ahead and wear your hearing aids to that outdoor wedding or family picnic. Your hearing aids are there for you to use! Just take appropriate precautions to reduce the impact of moisture on your hearing aids.

Perspiration isn’t the only way moisture can get inside a hearing aid.  Be sure to wear a hat or carry an umbrella in the rain. When not wearing your hearing aids, make sure they are being stored in a dry place. 

Moisture is one of hearing aids worse enemies. Some amount of moisture is unavoidable, but the hearing aid user can take precautions to reduce the impact this moisture has on their hearing aids.