Winter means snow, ice, and taking extra precautions to keep yourself safe. For individuals who wear hearing aids, it also means taking steps to protect the sensitive electronics in the devices. Moisture and freezing temperatures can damage hearing aids or keep them from optimal performance. As the snow falls, and the thermostat drops, take precautions to keep yourself, and your hearing aids safe this winter.
How Cold Weather Affects Hearing Aids
Although modern hearing aids can withstand some wear and tear, temperatures can damage the functions of these delicate and high-tech devices. The cold weather itself is not the problem. It is the condensation that gets into the hearing aid that does significant damage. In cold temperatures, condensation can accumulate when you move from the cold air outside into the warm inside. This activity puts your hearing aids at high risk for water damage. Cold weather causes a battery drain and significantly reduces the charge of zinc-air batteries. The signs of hearing aid damage include:
- Hearing aid cuts out during loud noises
- Sounds come and go
- Sounds are unclear or distorted
- Hearing aid stops working then starts working again
Hearing Aids And Earwax
Condensation and battery drain are not the only issues for hearing aid wearers during cold months. If you wear hearing aids, you are at high risk for earwax hardening in your ear. A strange object in the ear, such as a hearing aid, causes the ear to produce additional wax. This extra wax can lead to ear infections, headaches, and tinnitus. Please remember that cotton swabs are not sufficient for wax removal. Plan an appointment with your hearing healthcare professional to have the wax professionally removed.
How To Protect Your Hearing Aids
Cold weather is detrimental to hearing aids. Battery drain is the primary problem, along with condensation and moisture damage. You can’t do something about the weather, but you can take care of your hearing aids this winter. Here are a few tips:
- Keep your hearing aids dry by wiping with a cloth daily.
- Leave the battery door open when not using your hearing aids.
- Carry extra batteries in case weather drains batteries quickly.
- Consider wearing a hat, scarf, or earmuffs to keep your head warm and dry.
- Try to remove your hearing aids when participating in winter sports to avoid prolonged exposure.
- Purchasing a hearing aid sweatband can help to absorb excess moisture while protecting your delicate device.
- Turn down the noise reduction setting on your hearing aids for protection against noise from snow blowers, snowmobiles, and other high decibel machinery.
- Purchase a hearing aid dryer case or dehumidifier for storage when not using your hearing aids.
- Always keep your maintenance appointments with your hearing healthcare professional.
Stay Warm This Winter
As the snow falls and the ice hardens, keep yourself, and your hearing aids warm and dry. Cold weather is damaging to hearing aids, so please take the proper precautions. Please remember to visit your hearing healthcare professional for hearing aid maintenance and hearing care.