By Courtney Campbell, Au.D.
The summer months bring so many wonderful things—warm weather, sunshine, outdoor activities, and vacations—but for people who wear hearing aids, summer also brings extra maintenance.
Moisture is the enemy of hearing devices, so one of the biggest challenges during the warmer months is the accumulation of moisture in them. This moisture can be caused by humidity in the air, perspiration, or accidental splashes of water at the beach or pool or from a sprinkler.
Here are five ways to keep your devices dry and safe:
Use hearing aid covers for behind-the-ear styles. There are several different types on the market. Hearing aid “sweatbands” are made from an all-natural fabric that repels moisture, dust, and dirt. There are also hearing aid sheaths that are made of a water-resistant, spandex-nylon material that also keep out dirt, sweat, and moisture. Both options protect the hearing aid from outside moisture while letting sound come in naturally.
Dry instruments overnight. Recommended for use year-round, desiccant jars and electric hearing aid dryers are special containers that either use desiccant beads or electric drying technology to suck excess moisture out of the hearing aids. They double as overnight storage and should be used nightly.
Leave the battery doors open. To avoid corrosion in the battery compartment, leave the battery doors on your instruments open or take the battery out when you aren’t wearing the hearing aids.
Use clips to keep hearing aids secure. When participating in an activity with lots of movement, use specially designed, lightweight lanyards that attach your BTE or in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids to your clothing or glasses. If your devices do fall out of your ears, they won’t get too far!
Disinfect your hearing aids. Warmth and moisture are breeding grounds for bacteria. Always be sure to disinfect your hearing aids before inserting them in your ears. There are many disinfectant wipes specially made for this purpose.
And finally, if you are near water and do not need your hearing aids for safety reasons, always take them out and put them in a safe place. But if the hearing aids do get wet or even submerged, remove them from the water immediately, dry them off, take out the battery, and place them in a desiccant jar or electric hearing aid dryer.
Which styles of hearing aids are best suited to active lifestyles? Find out here.
Courtney Campbell, Au.D., is an audiologist at A&A Hearing Group in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and has been wearing hearing aids for over a decade.