Water is necessary for human survival but remains the number one enemy when it comes to hearing aid function and performance. Water can result in malfunction, corrosion, and it can reduce volume by blocking sound from entering the acoustic ports of the microphones. The performance of zinc air batteries can also be adversely affected when airflow is obstructed by moisture.
“Damage incurred from high heat or cold may adversely affect a hearing aid’s performance. Much of this damage is caused by the changes in temperature which causes a condensation of moisture within the aid, rather than the temperature itself. This change can occur many times a day, as someone goes from hot to air-conditioned comfort and back again,” warned Dr. Mark Ross in a winter article on hearing aid troubleshooting.
Interestingly, the tiny components inside hearing aids are not susceptible to damage due to freezing temperatures alone, in fact, we’ve done winter testing on our hearing aids and know that they will function in temperatures as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit. So, the problem isn’t the cold temperature, but rather, as Dr. Ross noted above, the change in temperature. Consider during the winter how many times a day you move from a warm office or your cozy home out into the blustery cold? Changes in temperature result in a build up of moisture inside the hearing aid, and unlike eyeglasses, the condensation inside a hearing aid is not quite as easy to remove.
So what can we do to protect our hearing aids from the condensation caused by extreme temperature changes? First it is important to remember that our research engineers and scientists have worked tirelessly to create our HydraShield2 technology which delivers optimal water resistance and the highest performance in extreme conditions. Second, here are a few things you can do at home to ensure that your hearing aids function optimally this winter.
#1. Avoid storing your hearing aids in the glove box or on the dashboard of your car. Extreme temperature changes in your car (cold when off outside and heated when on and running heat inside) can create condensation and adversely effect performance.
#2. Skiing, snowshoeing, and sledding are popular winter activities. But, if you enjoy exercising outside during the winter months just remember to remove your hearing aids to protect them from excessive moisture caused by sweat and snow.
#3. If your hearing aid does stop working after you come inside from the cold be sure to open up the battery compartment and let your hearing aid rest for a while. Opening the battery doors will give moisture a chance to escape and allow dry, fresh air to circulate.
#4. Store your batteries in a cool, dry place.
#5. Use a hearing aid dehumidifier daily to remove condensation inside the hearing aid caused by fluctuations in temperature. It’s best to leave hearing aids to dry overnight while you sleep so they’re ready to go first thing in the morning.
#6. Remember to protect your hearing from loud sounds like snow blowers this winter. If your hearing aids are programmed with multiple memories, you can activate an increased noise reduction program, before you are exposed to loud noise. You can also wear noise reducing earmuffs over your hearing aids or opt to wear earplugs instead.
Keeping your hearing aids clean and dry will go a long way toward preserving and maintaining optimal hearing aid performance so you can enjoy your best hearing for many years. You can read more about hearing aid use and care on our Hearing Aid Use & Care page.