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Hearing aid protection in harsh weather

Last update on Jan, 13, 2021

Today’s hearing aids are designed to keep you doing what you love—no matter what the weather brings. While it’s true that wet and wintry weather can take a toll on hearing aids, there are simple steps you can take to protect your devices and prevent weather-related damage. Read on to discover the best hearing aid protection strategies to combat moisture and cold. 

Let’s take a look at how cold and wet weather can affect hearing aids—plus how to take care of hearing aids amid the elements so you can relax, have fun and stay active all year.

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Hearing aid protection in cold weather

Similar to glasses fogging up, liquid condensation can form on your hearing aids when you head indoors after being out in the frosty air.

While the outside of your hearing aids are hardy enough to handle a few drops of water, the real issue comes when condensation forms on the inside of your hearing aids. The inside houses highly sensitive electronics and the batteries—both of which can be damaged if exposed to condensation.

Speaking of batteries: The cold, dry air of winter can reduce the voltage of many disposable hearing aid batteries, causing them to drain and die faster.

Hearing aid moisture protection in the cold

Wear a warm hat, headband or hearing aid sleeve—these help absorb or wick away moisture, keeping your head warm at the same time.

Practice proper hearing aid care each night, and whenever you notice moisture:

  • Wipe down the outside with a soft, dry cloth.
  • Use an air blower or puffer to remove moisture from the ear mold and/or tubing.
  • Open the battery door to let the compartment air out.

Place your hearing aids in a dehumidifier to dry out overnight.

Keep them warm by storing them close to your body. Try using an interior coat pocket, or tuck them away in your purse (avoid the car—it’s too cold).

Look for hearing aids with rechargeable with lithium-ion batteries, which experience little to no power loss in cold weather. Li-ion technology also allows for a quick charge when need be.

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Hearing aids protection in the rain or snow

Many hearing aids have a protective coating that helps them repel light moisture. If you’re walking to your car and it starts to sprinkle, your hearing aids should be fine—just wipe them down with a soft, dry cloth once you’re inside.

That said, most hearing aids are not fully waterproof. Avoid direct exposure to heavy rain or snow whenever possible. The more precipitation that falls on your hearing aids, the more likely it is that some of it will sneak its way inside. This can damage the electronics and corrode the battery, particularly for RIC or BTE hearing aids. These models’ electrical components are housed outside the ear, which makes them slightly more vulnerable to water damage. 

Check the forecast before heading out. If there’s a chance of precipitation, bring along proper gear (see below) to minimize hearing aid exposure.

Invest in wet-weather gear. Rain or snow can strike at any time—but with the right gear, you can keep your hearing aids dry and prevent water damage. Here are some smart buys you can stock up on:

  • Several umbrellas to keep in the car, at home, in a purse, etc.
  • Waterproof jacket with a hood
  • Wide-brimmed hat
  • Winter hats and headbands that cover the ears
  • Portable rain ponchos (some conveniently come on a keychain)
  • Hearing aid band or sleeve—these are specifically designed to cover your hearing aids and absorb or wick away moisture

If your hearing aids do get wet, don’t panic—you may still be able to preserve them. Here’s your action plan to dry out your hearing aids:

  • Turn off your hearing aid and discard the battery. It’s completely worth the loss—a wet battery can cause further damage to your device. 
  • Gently dry your hearing aid with a towel or dry cloth.
  • Use a hearing aid dry box or hearing aid drying kit to completely remove moisture. Don’t have a hearing aid dryer? You could try placing them in a bowl of uncooked rice, or leave the battery door open and let them air dry for 1 to 2 days.
  • Once your hearing aid is completely dry, insert a fresh battery.

Note: If you still hear crackling, static or distorted sounds, your hearing aid may have water damage. Contact your hearing care provider to discuss next steps.

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Hearing aid protection during winter activities

Between sledding, skiing and building snowmen with grandkids, winter can be a magical time to enjoy the outdoors. Don’t worry about wearing your hearing aids during your favorite winter pastimes. You can—and should—bring them along. Hearing aids will help you communicate with others, enjoy the full soundtrack of the season and hear important signals or alerts in your environment.

There are, however, two issues to watch out for—both avoidable if you take proper precautions. The first issue is excessive moisture, which can leak into the hearing aid and cause damage. Moisture can come from the weather itself (as mentioned above), but it can also come in the form of perspiration. Skiing, sledding and other frosty fun can really work your heart and muscles, so you might find yourself sweating quite a bit, despite the chill in the air.

The other issue to watch out for during winter activities is dropping or losing your hearing aid. All that moving around while you shovel, skate or ski can make a hearing aid come loose from the ear. Digging around in the snow searching for your hearing aid can cause a lot of stress—plus damage to your device, if it’s left in the elements for too long.

Prevent a damaged or lost hearing aid

You can buy hearing aid clips, which attach to your clothing and come with adjustable loops that go over the ear hook. Hearing aid headbands and sleeves are also available, which are designed to cover your hearing aid to protect it from moisture, sweat and debris. Look for sleeves that come with a cord and clip attachment.

While hearing aid clips, cords and bands are most effective, a hat or headband will still offer some hearing aid protection. Make sure it fits snugly and completely covers your ears.

Once the outside fun is done, practice the same hearing aid moisture removal tips mentioned above for proper hearing aid care each night.  
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