Drying Your Hearing Aid with a Dehumidifier
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. Correctly maintain your hearing aids to prevent or minimize this type of 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. Varying weather conditions and the heat from our bodies can cause condensation to form in the tubing of the hearing aid and cause a build-up of moisture inside the aid. Remember, if you leave your hearing aid in the bathroom while taking a shower, condensation can collect inside the hearing aid causing it to break. Like all electronic devices, condensation and moisture can damage the hearing aid 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. They have 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
Hearing professionals will agree that the most efficient way to protect your hearing aids is to use dehumidifiers or drying crystals daily. These are similar drying products that are used daily with leather items, cosmetic bags, shoe boxes, pill containers, and even placed on windowsills. They are ready to use and keep products safe from mold, mildew, fungus, stains, rust, corrosion, oxidation, odors, and essentially spoilage and breakdown.
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 the 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 provided with the Lexie Lumen hearing aid are those typically found with any hearing aids. They are usually packaged in small disc-shaped plastic containers that have 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 disk 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 generally where there is higher humidity. 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?
A dehumidifier for hearing aids is a small electronic device that reduces the humidity level in the hearing aid. It has a similar drying action as drying crystals but dehumidifiers are more expensive than drying crystals. 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 Health Care Provider or a Lexie hearing expert about how much time is needed to fully dry your hearing aid. There are factors that might influence the amount of time your hearing aid should be in the dryer, for example; 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.
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 they are not being worn. Preferably, store them with drying crystals to keep them dry.
Before storing the hearing aids with the crystals and dehumidifiers:
- Remove the battery and store it safely. This can prevent the battery from drying out and extend the life of the battery.
- Clean the battery contacts of the hearing aids by removing any visible moisture, wax, or debris. Additional moisture can prevent the effective drying of the moisture in the hearing aid.
- Remove any moisture from the slim tube or tubing that forms part of the hearing aid.
- Leave the battery doors open while storing for drying. This will allow air to circulate through the hearing aids and let moisture escape.
After storing the hearing aids with the crystals and dehumidifiers:
- Regularly clean and dry the containers that are used for storage and drying, so that 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 and 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. 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
- A hearing aid suddenly stops working and starts working again.
- The sound from the hearing aid can slowly fade away.
- The sounds are unclear.
- You might hear the sound of static or a crackling noise.
- Changes in the volume of sound.
Protecting a hearing aid against moisture by correctly storing it is just one of the ways to increase its lifespan, ensure its optimal performance, and uninterrupted hearing pleasure. It avoids costly repairs and precious time being without the hearing aids. Using dehumidifiers or drying crystals daily is an inexpensive way to keep an especially important and expensive item safe.