Starkey Blog

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff… Your Hearing Aids Don’t!

Inspiration for innovative solutions to improve hearing aid performance comes in many forms. Our cutting-edge way to keep moisture out of hearing aids actually came from a plant. To develop HydraShield®2, our proprietary nano-coating used in hearing aids, engineers studied the self-cleaning system lotus plants use to keep leaves dry.

The rough, waxy texture on the surface of the lotus leaf prevents water from penetrating the exterior of the leaf. Interestingly, the surface of the lotus leaf is not solid. Instead, a hydrophobic coating on the leaf creates a web-like barrier that allows moisture to rest on top rather than penetrating the leaf. The advanced HydraShield®2 system used in Starkey hearing aids mechanically mimics the lotus effect. The nano-coating keeps moisture and debris (like sweat, wax and foreign material) out of the seam of the hearing aid case and the microphone ports.

Water is necessary for human survival, but it's Enemy Number One when it comes to hearing aid performance! It can:

  • Cause malfunction and corrosion
  • Block sound from entering the acoustic ports of the microphones reducing the volume of the hearing aid
  • Obstruct airflow, which can compromise the function of zinc air batteries

Protecting Your Hearing Aids

So how do we protect hearing aids from the dangerous intruders that threaten performance and function?

Designers and engineers combine function and form to deliver the most cosmetically appealing, highest performing devices possible. The application of HydraShield®2 helps ensure optimal performance by providing a water resistant barrier.

Similar applications have led to advancements in the materials surrounding the battery compartment. These materials are designed using water-repellant material that is acoustically transparent, leaving incoming sound unobstructed. The seams within the battery compartment, as well as the microphone and receivers, are each treated with water resistant barriers for protection.

Tested and Retested

Strict manufacturing protocols are in place to ensure superior quality for all of our products. A single hearing aid must pass 32 different test procedures before it is cleared for manufacturing. Laboratory tests include environmental chambers and salt fog machines to simulate hot, humid and corrosive environments. Salt fog mimics the composition of body sweat and accelerates the corrosion of hearing aid components. Over 115,000 data points are tracked for performance and function during testing. 

We sweat the small stuff, so your hearing aids don’t have to.

By: Beth McCormick

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