Many of the activities we love to do in the summertime include water, and water can be problematic for high-tech, electronic hearing aids. Water, oil, salt, sweat and sand can corrode contact points, destroy microphones and receivers and clog tubes. So, how do you enjoy summer activities while protecting your investment in your personal hearing device? We offer some advice here.
Assess what you have
Modern technology has improved the durability and the ability to withstand moisture of many hearing aids. Today, there are fully waterproof hearing aids — but they are rare. More common are water-resistant hearing aids. It is important to understand the capabilities of your personal hearing device to ensure you don’t damage it.
Acknowledge what you want to do
The summer activities you want to do will determine if your hearing aid is up to the task or if it needs to be sidelined. With kayaking, hiking and water gun fights there is light moisture contact, so water-resistance is adequate. For swimming, tubing down the river and other activities where you are likely to be fully submerged, you will either need a waterproof hearing aid or you’ll need to remove it before engaging in the activity.
• Water-resistant materials. A recent technological development called Nanoblock offers a highly durable protective coating that completely seals every part of the instrument, protecting it from moisture and dirt. This coating protects against earwax, oil from the skin, moisture and sweat, adding a level of water-resistance to hearing aids that are made with it. These devices are protected against splashes and sweat. However, water-resistant does not mean waterproof and submersion in water from swimming or showering could damage these hearing aids.
• Protective covers are an inexpensive way to add water-resistance to a non-waterproof hearing aid. They fit most hearing aid models and are made of water resistant spandex nylon. The sleeve protects the hearing aid amplifier, case, controls and battery compartment from moisture and other environmental elements, while still allowing sound to enter the microphone. Although these sleeves won’t protect your hearing aid if it’s completely immersed in water, they will help minimize the damage from excessive perspiration or a stray splash. Ear Gear and Hearing Aid Sweat Bands offer this protection in a variety of sizes and colors.
If you want to swim, dive or otherwise submerge yourself in water while using your hearing aid, you need a completely waterproof hearing aid to avoid doing damage. While more rare, waterproof hearing aids are available.
Consider a hearing aid dryer/dehumidifier
Even the most careful among us can have an accident where our hearing aid gets wet. When this happens, simply remove them from the water source, pat dry, remove the batteries and dry the battery compartment, then put them in the hearing aid dryer overnight. Hearing aid dryers are available for as little as $10 and can often prevent permanent damage.
Whether you’re looking for a hearing aid that can handle water-based summer fun or just need a professional hearing evaluation, visit Dr. Heather Dean at Sierra Nevada Hearing Aid Center for quality care and advice. Call 775.882.3277 for an appointment.