Hearing aids are powerful yet sensitive instruments. While care is taken in manufacturing to protect the tiny computers that live inside our hearing aids, they still need to have openings for microphones and speakers, battery compartments or charging ports. They also need to spend most of their days inside or behind our ears, neither of which are the most hospitable environments for sensitive electronics! While we need to take care year-round to keep our hearing aids clean and dry as much as possible, the winter months pose some unique challenges.
Protect Them From Extreme Temperatures
Hearing aids aren’t meant to operate in extreme temperatures, and moving them from cold to warm environments and vice versa is a recipe for disaster as condensation can pose a moisture risk for hearing aids that aren’t at least somewhat water resistant.
In winter, if you’re going out of doors with your hearing aids, be sure to wear a hat, scarf or earmuffs that will cover up your hearing aids while you’re out. If you’re going to be out for an extended period of time, and especially if you’ll be physically active while you’re out, like running the snowblower or going skiing, maybe leave them inside.
In summer, if you’re swimming or sunbathing, it’s a good idea to store your hearing aids in a secure place with regulated temperature. Glove compartments in the car are notorious for rising to high temperatures!
Even when it’s very cold outside, it’s easy to work up a sweat when you’re all bundled up, and the combination of moisture and cold, then returning indoors, will not be friendly to your hearing aids. Be aware that perspiration will be an issue before you leave the house, and try to dress so that your hearing aids will be less vulnerable. Wear a headband, or a hat with breathable fabric to allow moisture to escape.
Similarly, in warmer climates, humidity and heat from the outdoors can lead to moisture forming within the aids once you move to a cooler location. When you come in from outside, remove your hearing aids right away and wipe them down with a soft, dry cloth. Much the same as your glasses fog up when you come inside from cold weather to a heated home or hot weather to an air conditioned space, condensation will beset your hearing aids and could pose a serious problem. Whenever they’re not in use, keep the battery compartment open to allow it to dry out more easily. If you have a hearing aid dehumidifier, use it each night and whenever you’re not wearing your hearing aids.
Bring More Batteries
Cold and humidity will cause your batteries to wear out faster. Keep an extra set on hand to avoid downtime with your hearing aids; you might want to stock up in case snowfalls might make it harder to get more.
Don’t Apply Heat!
If your hearing aids do get wet, don’t try to dry them out by placing them near a heater or using a hair dryer. Just as hearing aids are not meant to withstand extreme cold, extreme heat can melt them. Instead, contact your hearing provider to see if they offer drying services using Redux.
In the Event of Water Damage: Redux
Accidents happen. Sometimes our hearing aids will be dropped in the snow or a sink full of water, or we will wear them outside not realizing how active we’re being while they get drenched in our sweat. Some people report getting so accustomed to their hearing aids that they accidentally wear them into the shower!
If your hearing aids become submerged or otherwise overwhelmed with moisture, a Redux machine may be able to help. Talk to your hearing healthcare provider about whether they have a Redux machine, which can save a set of hearing aids in a pinch. Redux’s patented drying technology applies a safe level of heat while the device is vacuum-sealed. The vacuum reduces the temperature required to evaporate water, so the Redux machine is able to take a completely submerged device and completely remove all moisture from it in 15 minutes!
Redux works not only with hearing instruments, but also with phones, tablets, cameras, personal listening devices and more. If you have a water-logged device, whether it’s a hearing aid or other electronic instrument, count on Redux to safely remove the moisture and bring your device back to life!