Wet Hearing Aids - Prevention and Maintenance Tips

Moisture & Hearing Aids

Moisture is one of the main causes of hearing aid damage. That means taking precautions to protect them from wet environments is key to prolonging their life. Whether its sweat from a heavy workout, rain from an unexpected downpour or simply forgetting to remove the hearing aids before taking a shower – moisture and hearing aids simply do not mix well. As a result, there is an increasing number of hearing aids on the market today that are equipped with expensive moisture-proof features to help combat the adverse effects of water. Unfortunately, in the world of low cost hearing aids and trying to keep prices affordable, moisture-proofing is not very often part of the equation.

How Moisture Can Causes Hearing Aid Damage

Here is a brief summary describing how moisture can cause hearing aid damage. Keep in mind that a hearing aid is basically a tiny electronic device made up of small metallic pieces. As is the case with most metals, unattended moisture can cause corrosion, condensation, and electrical shortages. Continued exposure will eventually cause malfunction. Similarly, when moisture comes into contact with batteries, there is a corrosive effect on the battery itself which thereby reduces its effectiveness.  As the moisture continues to move throughout the hearing aid, it can make its way into the hearing aid tubing where it may condense into tiny drops. This can mix with wax buildup and create blockages that will cause the hearing aid to slowly lose clarity and amplification until it finally gives up completely.

If you think your hearing aids have been damaged from exposure to water, here are some signs to look for:

  • Your hearing aid cuts out during loud noises.
  • Static or distorted sound quality
  • The sound fades or comes and goes.
  • Stop working and then starts again several times

So, How Do I Keep My Hearing Aids Safe From Unwanted Moisture?

Now that we have established why moisture and hearing aids do not play nicely together, let’s try to answer a simple question – “How do I keep my hearing aids safe and avoid unwanted moisture exposure?”

Unfortunately, because of the design of today’s hearing aids, it is difficult to completely protect them at all times – sometimes accidents do happen. However, increased prevention is possible by making a deliberate attempt to adjust your daily routine to avoid situations that could expose your hearing aids to moisture. For example, remembering to place them in a storage case before showering can prevent bathroom accidents. Also, if you often are engaged in activities that produce excessive sweating it would be a wise investment to purchase hearing aid sweatbands or spandex covers to keep them moisture-free.

Another great suggestion is to remove them from your ears while sleeping and leave the battery doors open so that air is allowed to flow through the device. This has the dual benefit of preserving battery life along with helping to dry out some degree of moisture within the hearing aid.

Ideally, the aids should be stored in a container that will help dehumidify them, such as the Dry Aid Jar. This is typically an inexpensive solution for nighttime hearing aid storage and does provide a safe place to keep them while you sleep as well as an environment that uses silica crystals to absorb moisture from the hearing aid overnight. The silica crystals can be dried later by being placed inside an oven for a short period of time.

Another product called the Dry & Store Box is also available. This electrical device uses heat, moving air and silica crystals or a similar substance to remove moisture from a hearing aid.  It also has a germicidal lamp which helps kill bacteria, molds, or fungi that may be growing on the surface of the hearing aid and helps to reduce odors.

Do-It-Yourself Ideas For Drying Out Wet Hearing Aids

If your hearing aids do get wet, the first thing you should do is turn them off and remove the batteries. Leaving wet batteries inside the device can cause further damage.

Here are a few additional tips to use that may help you dry wet hearing aids:

  • Inspect the battery for moisture and thoroughly dry it using a soft cloth.
  • Place the hearing aid and batteries on a dry newspaper and let them air-dry for 24 hours. Placing the aids near a table lamp can speed up the drying process, but be sure and avoid getting them too close, because the heat could actually cause more damage.
  • If there appears to be moisture in the tubing, disconnect it from the hearing aid and gently blow condensed air though the tube.
  • Rice can work as a dehumidifier and soak up the water in your hearing aid. Place a cup of uncooked rice in a plastic baggie or container with a lid. Put your hearing aid into the rice, seal the baggie/container closed, and leave it overnight.
  • Try using a a fan or hairdryer on its “cool” setting to dry your hearing aids.

Remember, as a general rule of thumb – water and hearing aids are NOT a good combination. Exposure to water and/or moisture can often cause damage to your devices. Therefore, the best plan is to avoid getting your hearing aids wet altogether. However, if they do get wet, then the suggestions above may help save you the trouble of a costly repair or replacement. If you have already tried drying your hearing aids and they are still not working properly, the next step would be to contact your hearing aid provider for further assistance. By taking care of your hearing aids and steering them clear of moisture, you can continue to hear more clearly and enjoy the sounds around you.