Cold Weather and Moisture May Impact Hearing Aids
Temperature change in the winter can be damaging to a hearing aid and its batteries. The cold isn’t necessarily damaging, but the condensation which occurs because of the temperature change can damage internal components. When we have snow or rain, moisture is present because of extreme changes in the temperature. For instance: You’re outside walking and the temperature is 20 degrees Fahrenheit, you will surely have on a hat and be covered from head to foot. When you go inside the temperature is about 50 degrees warmer because of the heat. When you take off your coat and other winter garb, right away the temperature has changed. The change will cause condensation on your hearing aids. Or maybe you were walking fast and your head sweat, this too will cause damage to hearing aids and batteries. The best thing to do in the winter is not to wear your hearing aids while participating in winter activities. The activities may cause you to lose them or damage them by exposing them to moisture. A small amount of dampness is unavoidable, by wiping rechargeable hearing aids with a soft cloth you are trying to prevent moisture build up as much as possible. If you have battery operated hearing aids, use a cotton ball and make sure there is no moisture inside the battery compartment.
Bring extra batteries, the battery can drain faster than you’re used to if you have been out in the cold for a long period of time. If you have removable batteries, be sure to bring backup with you. If you’re hearing aids are rechargeable bring your charger along — just in case.
Don’t leave your hearing aids in the car. By leaving them in the car and getting cold the batteries lose battery life and performance. When you’re hearing aids are not in use always keep them in their protective case and have them with you during your daily travels.
Be sure when you do remove your winter clothing, such as hats and scarves, to be careful not to pull off or lose your hearing aids.
How do you know if you have moisture damage?
Moisture will ruin the microphone and receiver of your hearing aids and will clog the earmold tubing and sound and cause corrosion. Some signs that your hearing aids have been damaged are:
- Hearing aids cut out during loud noises.
- Sound fades or comes and goes.
- What you hear is punctuated by static
- The sounds are unclear or seem distorted.
- The hearing aid completely stops working and then starts again.
Fixes for your hearing aids
If your hearing aids have been exposed to moisture, there are a few things to check first. Such as:
- Is your hearing aid turned on and the T-switch in the right position?
- Check your batteries, if you have disposable batteries, make sure they are in correctly. Sometime, when batteries are dying you will see some of the same signs as mentioned above. Is your battery corroded? If it is, there will be a white powdery substance, than the batteries should be thrown away immediately.
- The battery contacts, where the batteries touch the hearing aids may be damp. Clean the contacts by removing the moisture with a dry cotton swab.
- Make sure the earmold is not clogged with wax.
If these suggestions don’t seem to be the problem than you may have moisture in your hearing aid. If you wear behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids, check the tubing for moisture droplets. If you have earmolds, you can purchase an earmold puffer, this will blow out any moisture.
If you still have problems contact your audiologist and have your hearing aids checked professionally.