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How High Humidity Can Affect Hearing Aids and What You Can Do About It

Humidity means moisture, which can effect your hearing aids. Find out the signs of moisture damage and steps you can take to prevent it from happening.

One of the great things about starting your better-hearing journey is that your world is more enjoyable when you can hear all those sounds you’ve been missing.

That might also mean you’re getting outside more, possibly exposing your hearing devices to humidity. Your hearing aids are tiny computers, and just like with laptops and tablets, moisture can present a challenge.

Humidity

Let’s discuss humidity first. Simply put, humidity is a measurement of the amount of water vapor in the air.

Hot air can hold a lot of water vapor, but cold air cannot. When hot air meets cold air, the drop in temperature means a drop in how much water vapor the air can hold.

Let’s consider a can of soda pop: When humid air makes contact with a cold can of soda pop, the air temperature around the can drops quickly. Any water vapor from the humid air that can’t fit in the cold air around the pop can has to go somewhere. That’s when condensation happens, creating the water droplets on the side of the can.

Humidity and Hearing Devices

The why

Humidity affects hearing aids in a couple of ways.

First, just like with condensation on that can of soda pop, moisture results when warm, humid air meets the cooler metal components of your hearing devices. This includes the components inside your devices.

Second, humidity makes you sweat — but humidity also makes it harder for the sweat to evaporate. Plenty of that ends up in or on your devices.

The how

How does all this condensation and perspiration cause trouble?

Moisture clogs ports and openings. It also builds up in tubing, which can affect the frequency response of your hearing technology. It can also corrode components and battery contact points or short-circuit the microphones and receivers.

In short, moisture is like kryptonite to your hearing aids. A little exposure won’t matter all that much, but prolonged exposure will do a lot of damage and affect the performance of your devices.

The what

Common signs of moisture damage include:

  • Sound is full of static or crackling
  • Sound is distorted
  • Sound cuts out during loud noises
  • Sound fades in and out
  • Device works intermittently
The fix

If you suspect you have moisture damage, do a general check first to make sure it’s not something easily solvable. Is the device turned on? Are the batteries in correctly or near the end of their life? Do the battery contacts need to be cleaned or dried? Is the tubing intact? How are the filters and ports?

If all else checks out, it could be a moisture problem. If you have in-the-ear technology, get them in your drying device ASAP, with the battery door open.

If you have behind-the-ear technology, check the earmold tubing for moisture. If at all possible, use an earmold puffer to remove the moisture. Then put your technology in your drying device ASAP, with the battery door open.

In either case, leave the devices in the dryer for a few hours, even if they look dry.

Prevention

Common, effective preventive measures include:

  • Choosing devices with nanocoating or a high IP (water resistance) rating
  • Hearing aid sweatbands that allow sound through but keep moisture out
  • Exercising during the cooler parts of the day
  • Removing your technology when exercising
  • Keeping your technology in a drying device when not in use

Contact us via email or call us now at (918) 532-6539 for a complimentary clean and check of your hearing technology.

5 Tips to Keep Your Technology Going Strong

Does my hearing technology call for ongoing professional upkeep? Can I handle any needed maintenance at home? How can I tell whether my devices are damaged? Where can I take them for replacement or repair?

Much like today’s tablets and cell phones, hearing aids are powered by complex technology that may require professional attention in certain circumstances, but a little DIY maintenance can go a long way in keeping your devices in top shape. Read on for five simple tips to maximize your tech’s longevity.

Keep ‘Em Dry and Sanitized
Water is kryptonite to hearing aids, so remember to
remove them before showering or swimming, and use a hearing aid dryer or dehumidifier not only to reduce moisture but to sanitize and store your technology at the same time.

Wipe Off the Wax
Earwax (also called cerumen) naturally accumulates
in the ear and on your hearing aid, but gently wiping your devices each night with a soft, dry cloth and clearing the part of the device that goes into your ear canal with the provided brush will make quick work of the buildup.

Check the Batteries
Batteries typically can last from a few days to a
couple weeks depending on the technology, usage, and other factors, but a constantly beeping hearing aid may mean the batteries need changing. Always keep spares on hand, and remember to remove and store batteries at room temperature apart from your hearing aids when not wearing them.

Replace the Wax Guard
Put your hearing aid’s wax guard — which helps
protect against the damaging accumulation of wax, skin particles, and debris — on a monthly change schedule. Also, if your technology isn’t functioning properly even with fresh batteries, it may be time to change the wax guard.

Skip the Pockets
Pockets seem naturally convenient for carrying
loose hearing aids and batteries while on the go, but not so fast! Keep your devices in their case to avoid losing or getting debris on them, and place batteries where they won’t come into contact with keys, coins, and other metals, which can cause battery discharge and other problems.

Self-care of your hearing aids is an important part of keeping them performing their best, and periodic clean and checks with our caring professionals will identify and address any damage or other problems that might otherwise be hard to spot. Contact us to schedule a complimentary clean and check today!

ZPOWER

New Rechargable Hearing Aid Batteries

ZPower is a manufacturer of new silver-zinc miniature hearing aid batteries that has partnered with several of our hearing aid Manufacturer’s to offer a new rechargeable option. The batteries should last approximately a year. The batteries should run a 12-14 hour day on a full charge. However, if the hearing aid user is utilizing Bluetooth streaming, then the hours per day would shorten if much streaming is involved. Ask about the rechargeable option when you come in for your next hearing aid check up.

New Technologies

New hearing aid technology is allowing many patients to upgrade to better devices and hear significantly better than with their old devices. Microphone directionality has improved and so has the quality of the overall microphones. Music listening has changed dramatically and the hearing devices have a much more higher fidelity than they have had in previous years. Noise filters has improved to help patients hear more speech through noise than in past years.

8 Tips That Preserve Your Technology and Protect Your Hearing

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Thanks to hearing aids, people are able to engage in more activities each holiday season. Protect your technology with these eight tips and tricks specifically created for a winter full of festivities and fun.

1. TEMPERATURE CHANGE.
Moisture from a drastic change in temperature (like walking into your cozy home from a chilly outdoor adventure) can damage hearing aids and shorten battery life. Earmuffs, a hat, or an umbrella will help prevent unwanted moisture from getting in.

2. WATER-RESISTANT TECHNOLOGY.
If you lead an active lifestyle through the seasons, consider choosing water-resistant (note that these are not waterproof) hearing aids. These devices have a coating that protects them from perspiration and water drops.

3. MAKE SURE YOU’RE COVERED.
Behind-the ear hearing aids are at risk for damage due to the humidity from sweat. Ask us about hearing aid protection to reduce exposure to moisture, dirt, and dust.

4. HIGH AND DRY.
Hearing aid dehumidifiers rid your technology of moisture overnight so they’re ready to go in the morning. Use this handy tool all year round to help extend the life of your technology.

5. DON’T BLOW IT.
Snowblowers are estimated to range from 90 to 106 decibels (hearing damage starts at 85 decibels, or the sound level of a bulldozer). The longer you’re exposed to this noise, the greater your risk for hearing damage. Make sure you adjust the volume settings on your devices, or pick up a pair of decibel-reducing earmuffs.

6. SOAKED, NOT SUNK.
If your hearing aid has gotten wet, remove the batteries immediately, store the hearing aid in a dry-aid kit or dehumidifier, and contact us to find out if other steps should be taken.

7. CAN’T STOP, WON’T STOP.
Keep your batteries (and hearing aids) in tip-top shape by keeping them away from excessive temperatures. To help ensure your batteries perform efficiently, leave the battery door open at night or whenever you’re not using them.

8. SAFETY FIRST.
When snow hits the ground, the fun outdoor activities begin. Risking damage to or loss of your hearing aids in the snow is not so entertaining. To keep the fun and your technology going, ask about adjustable retention products for hearing devices.
Have questions about any of the tips or devices mentioned? Well, we’ve got answers! Give us a call at 918.333.9992 so we can help you have the happiest, healthiest hearing this winter! You can also call us to schedule a free clean and check, and receive $500 off AGX5, 7, or 9 technology!

Summer Sweat and Hearing Aid Moisture

Summer rains and then hot humid sweaty days can wreak havoc on your hearing aids. Often times our newer technology hearing aids have moisture proof coatings and the inside of the aids are covered in membranes to repel moisture, but they are not water proof. So we encourage our patients to use common sense. Do not wear them in the shower. Do not mow the yard with the aids on. Do not swim with them in….and so on.

But sometimes, you just need to hear. If you will be in the rain, try to wear a hat with a brim to protect the aids. If they get damp, dry them off with a towel or dry rag and lay them out over night to “air out”. We do have dry kits for sale for those patients that have excessive moisture problems. But an ounce of prevention, will keep you hearing better and more consistently.

Batteries, Batteries, Batteries……must we change them so frequently?

Hearing aids have turned into mini-computers. The current hearing technology on the market is processing so much information in the little computers and the amplifiers are driving louder decibels for patients to hear better that it is hard to imagine the hearing aids drain batteries so quickly. But, yes, the average battery typically lasts about a week if the aids are work about 14 hours per day.

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Also batteries in the United States have gone through some changes in the last few years. Many of the batteries are mercury free and are now green for the environment. Unfortunately that affect the voltage initially, but the battery manufacturers have recommended new batteries need air/oxygen prior to activation and use. So very important to know that prior to use of each battery, to remove the tab and allow at least one minute of air/oxygen to activate the battery prior to insertion into the hearing device. That has helped battery performance to be more consistent for the most part since the mercury changes.

If you have further battery questions, please feel free to contact our office. We are happy to help. So give us a call today!

Sincerely,

Dr. Stephanie R. Moore
Audiologist

We’d Love to See You!

With the holidays already upon us, we know that you will want to focus on the fellowship, conversations, and special moments of the season—not on the condition of your technology. If you haven’t already made an appointment for a clean and check of your devices, we encourage you to do so. It’s amazing what a little extra care from an AudigyCertifiedTM professional can do to enhance your listening experience.

It’s A Family Affair

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Make the most of your time together this holiday season by ensuring that you’re hearing your absolute best. If it’s been a while since you’ve had your hearing checked, call our office to make sure your hearing needs are being fully met by your hearing aids. In addition, check out the following tips to make sure you don’t miss a moment of your time together with your family!

Quick Tips for Better Holiday Hearing

  • Attending a family gathering or dinner? Ask to be seated where you’ll hear your best.
  • Are you traveling? Do you have an extra set of devices? A cleaning kit? Bring them along, just in case
  • Don’t hesitate to remind your loved ones about your hearing difficulty. Odds are, they’ll be more than happy to slow down and speak up in conversations.
  • Relax and have fun. The holidays come once a year. Enjoy them with the ones you love!