Hearing aids are useful and versatile devices that can have a major impact on your life. However, they are also sensitive devices that require some care and attention to function their best. Cold weather and winter conditions can often lead to damage or performance problems if you don’t take the right precautions. Here are a few of the ways winter weather can impact your hearing devices and the steps you can take to stop it.
Cold Weather’s Effects on Hearing Aids
Cold weather can be damaging to hearing aids in several ways. Here are a few of the most common causes of hearing aid damage due to winter weather.
One of the most common effects of cold weather on hearing aids is reduced battery life. Most hearing aids use zinc air batteries, which are sensitive to the effects of temperature and humidity. In most cases, this only leads to reduced battery life: colder air temperatures and dry air will reduce the available voltage in the battery, causing them to run out faster.
However, in some cases cold temperatures can cause more serious problems. The most common cause is condensation. When temperatures drop, the surface of your hearing aids will become cold. Then, when you go back indoors, water can condense on these cold surfaces and get inside your hearing aids, leading to electrical damage. Moisture can also infiltrate your hearing aids in other ways during the winter, such as when you sweat or when it is snowing.
Diagnosing Moisture Damage
If you do think your hearing aid has been exposed to moisture, you can look for the following signs to be sure:
- Your hearing aid cuts out or becomes garbled when you hear a loud noise or a shift in volume.
- The sound from your hearing aid fades or sounds distorted.
- Your hearing aid generates static, especially at the end of other sounds.
- Your hearing aid completely stops working for periods of time.
If you start to notice any of these problems in your device, you should get it serviced immediately. Try to avoid using it in the meantime, as there could still be moisture inside your hearing aid that could cause further damage.
How to Care for Hearing Aids in Winter
Because of the way cold temperatures and moisture affect hearing aids during the winter, it’s important to keep them clean, dry, and warm. There are a few good ways to achieve this goal, such as:
- Wear a Hat, Headband or Earmuffs: Wearing headgear when you go outside serves a dual purpose during the winter. First, it keeps your head and ears warm, which prevents condensation from forming on your hearing aids. Second, it helps keep sweat from running down your head and into or behind your ears.
- Use a Dehumidifier: One of the best ways to protect your hearing aids is to use a hearing aid dehumidifier or drying case. Dehumidifiers are relatively inexpensive and can help protect the delicate circuitry inside your hearing aid. Some even function as cleaning and sanitation devices.
- Open Your Battery Compartment: Finally, one of the oldest and simplest pieces of advice for hearing aid care is to open the battery compartment and remove the batteries when your device isn’t in use. This both allows the hearing aid to dry inside and prevents your batteries from draining as quickly.
More Hearing Aid Tips and Advice
Want to get more hearing aid help and advice this winter? Contact us today at the Oklahoma Hearing Center. Our experienced audiologists will help solve your problems and give you the help you need to hear better. Call (405) 546-4280 today to make an appointment, or visit our Facebook page for additional news and tips.