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How to Dry Your Hearing Aid

Published: July 18, 2020

Updated: October 13, 2022

Moisture damage is a common cause of faulty hearing aids. But, it can be prevented by using drying crystals and a hearing aid dehumidifier.

Drying Your Hearing Aid 

Moisture damage is one of the most common causes of faulty hearing aids. That’s why most manufacturers insist that users keep their hearing aids safe and dry. Correct maintenance of your hearing aids will prevent or minimize damage. A hearing aid dehumidifier and drying crystals are key to protecting your hearing aids.

What causes moisture damage?

Condensation is common in hearing aids. Weather conditions and body heat can cause condensation to form in the hearing aids. For example, if you leave your hearing aids in the bathroom while showering, condensation can collect inside them. Like all electronic devices, condensation and moisture can damage internal parts, which will cause it to work intermittently or break down completely.

Why do hearing aids become damaged because of moisture?

Hearing aids contain sophisticated parts that include high-tech circuit boards and microelectronics. Some hearing aids are partially water-resistant and have protection against humidity and sweat. However, continuous exposure to moisture will cause the parts inside the hearing aid to corrode and become damaged.

How to protect your hearing aids

The best way to protect your hearing aids is to use dehumidifiers or drying crystals daily. These are similar to drying products placed in leather items, shoe boxes, pill containers, and more. They are ready to use and keep products safe from mold, mildew, fungus, stains, rust, corrosion, oxidation, odors, etc.

There are many options available to dry your hearing aids. Some dehumidifiers and drying capsules are rechargeable while others do not require electricity.

What are drying crystals?

The most common drying crystals available for hearing aids are made of silica gel. Silica is also known as silicon dioxide. The gel form, that we see in nearly all products requiring protection against moisture, contains tiny crystals that look like sand. They have millions of small pores or holes that absorb and hold moisture. Silica gel is nearly harmless, which is why you find it in some food products. However, it is still advised not to open the packets or ingest them.

The drying crystals available from Lexie Hearing are those typically found included with your hearing aids. They are usually packaged in small disc-shaped plastic containers with a breathable lid. The disk is sealed and once the seal is broken, the silica gel will start to absorb the moisture. Therefore it is always advised to store the drying crystals in an airtight container to avoid them becoming saturated. Most of the time one small disc is sufficient to protect a hearing aid.

Most drying crystals for hearing aids will have a built-in color indicator that will change color as the crystals get more saturated. The indicator normally changes from a darker color to a lighter color once it is saturated. The lighter the color, the less it will absorb any moisture. It is important that hearing aid users monitor the color of the crystals and replace them sooner rather than later.  

Some hearing aid users may have to replace their crystals more often than others. This is particularly common for users that live closer to the sea or where humidity is high. This may also happen if two hearing aids are placed in the container with one crystal disc at a time or if the container is left open.

What is a hearing aid dehumidifier?

It is a small electronic device that reduces the humidity level in the hearing aid. It has a similar drying action as drying crystals but is more expensive than drying crystals and can’t be used with all types of hearing aids. These electric dryers come in a variety of sizes with different features. Some have light indicators to show that they have been activated. They only need a few hours to work effectively and then switch off automatically. Others need to be on overnight, have UV lamps, and a cleaning cycle. Some users prefer dehumidifiers because some devices can disinfect or deodorize as well.  

Speak to your hearing healthcare provider or a Lexie Expert about how long to dry your hearing aid. There are factors that might influence the amount of time your hearing aid should be in the dryer. This includes climate, body type (if you sweat a lot or not), and lifestyle (playing sports often).

One of the downsides of dehumidifiers is that they can be bulky and need a power socket to work. This can be especially inconvenient for people who travel a lot. Smaller more compact dehumidifiers can be just as effective as larger models. It is important to note that electronic dehumidifiers cannot be used with any rechargeable hearing aids.

Tips for using drying crystals and a hearing aid dehumidifier

To protect the hearing aids from getting lost or damaged, store them in a sealed container when not worn. Preferably, store them with drying crystals to keep them dry. 

Before storing the hearing aids with the crystals and dehumidifiers:

  • If you are using a battery operated hearing aid, remove the battery and store it safely. This can prevent the battery from drying out and extend its life. Remember to store your hearing aids safely out of reach of children and animals.
  • Leave the battery doors open while storing for drying. This will allow air to circulate through the hearing aids and let moisture escape.
  • Clean the battery contacts found within the battery compartment of the hearing aid, by removing any visible moisture, wax, or debris. Additional moisture can prevent the effective drying of moisture in the hearing aid.
  • If you are using a behind the ear hearing aid (BTE), remove any moisture from the slim tube or tubing that forms part of the hearing aid. If you have  a receiver in the canal (RIC) hearing aid, do not remove the RIC cable from your hearing aid before storing your hearing aids.
  • If your hearing aid has been exposed to moisture and the sound quality of your hearing aid is affected, store your hearing aids with the drying capsules or dehumidifier for a minimum of 24 hours before trying to use your hearing aid again. If you are using a rechargeable hearing aid, be sure to only store your hearing aids with a drying capsule and not an electronic dehumidifier. An electronic dehumidifier may damage your rechargeable hearing aid.

After storing the hearing aids with the crystals and dehumidifiers:

  • Regularly clean and dry the containers that are used for storage and drying. That way the hearing aids do not get contaminated and are clean to use.
  • Monitor the color of the drying crystals to see how often they need to be replaced. Ensure that you have spare crystals at hand.
  • Keep the hearing aids dry when it is raining and there is not anything to cover the hearing aids like an umbrella or hat. Rather take the hearing aids out and store them safely until they can be used again.  
  • If you travel often, plan ahead. Hearing aid users often leave their drying crystals or dehumidifiers at home when they are away due to their size. Smaller more compact dehumidifiers can be effective for travelers. The discs with the drying crystals are small and can fit into a small container or even a resealable plastic bag. Traveling should not stop hearing aid users from protecting their hearing aids.

Signs of moisture and/or water damage

  1. A hearing aid suddenly stops working and starts working again.
  2. The sound from the hearing aid can slowly fade away.
  3. The sounds are unclear.
  4. You might hear the sound of static or a crackling noise.
  5. Changes in the volume of sound. 

Protecting a hearing aid against moisture is one of the ways to increase its lifespan. This allows for optimal performance and uninterrupted hearing pleasure. It avoids costly repairs and precious time being without the hearing aids. Daily use of dehumidifiers or drying crystals is an inexpensive way to keep this especially important item safe.

General Recommendations:

  • Prior to placing  your hearing aids and drying capsule in an airtight container, try to remove any excess moisture by shaking your hearing aid and/or dabbing it with a dry cloth which will help to absorb excess moisture and speed up the drying process. 
  • With battery operated hearing aids, only insert your batteries if you are certain your hearing aids are completely dry. If uncertain, it is better to wait a little bit longer than risk further damage. 
  • NEVER place your hearing aids in direct sunlight for extended periods of time.
  • NEVER place your hearing aids in a microwave or oven.
  • NEVER place your hearing aids on top of a radiator or in front of a heater. 

 

Image of post writer Kajal Ramnarian.

Written by Kajal Ramnarian

B. Communication Pathology Audiology

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