Just like extreme summer heat that often prompts sweating, which can lead to hearing aid damage, cold wintry weather can also cause hearing aid damage if proper precautions aren't taken. Here's some information on how cold weather and moisture can damage hearing aids, what to be aware of and how you can prevent weather damage:
Cold weather and moisture
Temperature extremes can be damaging to a hearing aid and its batteries. The cold itself is not necessarily damaging, but the condensation that occurs due to temperature change can set into the hearing aid and damage it. Even when it isn't snowing or raining, moisture is present because extreme temperature changes are common in the winter.
For example, if you are walking outside and the temperature is 20 degrees Fahrenheit, you will almost certainly be bundled up from head to toe with a hat over your ears. But when you make it to your destination, it could be nearly 50 degrees warmer because the heat is on. Even if you take off your coat and other winter gear right away, the temperature change can form condensation on your hearing aids. And maybe you were walking quickly and your head began to sweat, which could also damage your hearing aids and batteries.
Signs of moisture and cold damage
Moisture can ruin the microphone and receiver of your hearing aids, as well as clog the earmold tubing and sound and cause corrosion. If you think your hearing aids have been damaged, here are some signs:
- Your hearing aid cuts out during loud noises.
- The sound fades or comes and goes.
- Everything you hear is punctuated by static.
- Sounds are unclear or seem distorted.
- Your hearing aid completely stops working and then starts again. This might happen a few times.
If you think your hearing aids have been exposed to moisture, there are other things to check first, including:
- Your hearing aid is turned on and the T-switch is in the right position.
- The batteries. Make sure they have been inserted correctly. Also, sometimes when batteries are dying, you will see some of the same signs. Check to make sure the battery is not corroded. If it is, it will have a white powdery substance and should be thrown out immediately.
- The battery contacts - the points where the batteries touch the hearing aids and clean them or remove moisture with a dry cotton swab.
- The earmold, to be sure it or the sound outlet are not clogged with wax.
- The tubing frays or cracks.
If none of these things are problems, you may have moisture in your hearing aid. In behind-the-ear hearing aids, look in the earmold tubing for moisture droplets. Purchase an earmold puffer, which blows out any moisture, and consider having your earmolds fitted with a moisture dispersing tube.
For in-the-ear hearing aids, the devices are a little trickier to remove the moisture. If you don't already have one, purchase a drying device and place your hearing aids in it immediately to hopefully dry them out and avoid damage.
While moisture is hard to avoid in extreme cold, there are some precautions you can take in an attempt to keep your hearing aids dry and safe. Here are some tips:
- Purchase a hearing aid drying kit or dehumidifier. Remove your hearing aid batteries and store your devices in this device every night.
- Use an umbrella in the rain and make sure your ears are covered in the snow.
- If you think your hearing aid has gotten wet, remove the battery immediately.
- Purchase hearing aid sweatbands or spandex covers to keep them moisture-free.