Summer is here and while you prepare to get out and have some fun in the sun, make sure you know how to treat your hearing aids. Summer can present some serious concerns for your hearing aids from water exposure to bug spray. Make sure you know how to maintain and protect your devices everywhere you go.
While most hearing aids have some form of moisture protection –like nano-coating – your hearing aid isn’t designed for swimming or water sports (one exception is the Phonak Paradise Life Rechargeable Aids which are explicitly designed to be waterproof). The electronics in hearing aids are vulnerable to water damage which can ruin a device.
Salt water can present an extra threat to hearing aids, as both the water and the crystallizing salt can cause harm. When you head out to the pool or beach, store your hearing aids in a waterproof case that you keep out of the way from splashing water and puddles. Always remove and protect your hearing aids when you are around water to protect their performance and lifespan.
The temperature climbing doesn’t do your hearing aid any favors. In areas of direct sunlight, or spaces like cars where heat accumulates are especially bad spaces for hearing aids in the summer. Extreme heat can harm the electronic components of your hearing device as well as warping or cracking the protective outer shell. Don’t leave your hearing aids in a hot car and keep them away from direct sunlight.
Small sand particles can be big trouble for your hearing aids. Sand in a hearing device can impair its performance and cause permanent malfunctions. Don’t ever touch your hearing aids if your hands are sandy – instead, wait until you can wipe them down with a clean towel. If you are storing your hearing aids in a case, make sure the case is also not exposed to sand and brush down the exterior before removing your hearing aids.
Ocean spray can damage your hearing aids, but other summer sprays can also be a hazard to your hearing devices. Spray-on sunscreen and bug spray introduce small particles and moisture to the air that can get into your hearing aid, especially if they are sprayed directly on your device. Often aerosol spray particles are very fine and can infiltrate your hearing aids even when larger particles, like sand, cannot. When applying spray this summer, cover or remove your hearing aids to keep them out of harm’s way. Wipe down your hearing aids every time you remove them to get rid of any lingering particulate.
More heat means more sweat which means more moisture exposure for your hearing aids. Nano-coating on the exterior of most hearing aids will help prevent excess moisture from condensing or penetrating your device, but during the summertime it is best practice to spend extra attention towards keeping your devices dry. Use a nightly dehumidifying case to help prevent moisture damage and if a day is excessively sweaty take breaks to wipe down and dry your hearing aids.
Choosing the Right Hearing Aid
Wondering how to pick a hearing aid that can keep up with your summer lifestyle? When you are concerned about hearing aid durability, consider the IP rating associated with the model. In hearing technology, IP stands for “ingress protection”. The IP rating is a two-digit number that ranks a hearing aid’s resistance to particles and moisture. For the two digits, the first number ranks particle resistance and the second indicates water resistance. The higher each number is, the better the device is protected. An IP rating of 58 would offer more protection than an IP rating of 36. When comparing models, IP ratings can be useful when you have special lifestyle factors to consider and can help you choose the right hearing aid for your needs.
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Jamie Martin, NBC-HIS