Two happy seniors sitting on a bench surrouned by snow talking about protecting their hearing aids against the cold

How to Protect Your Hearing Aids Against the Cold

November 25, 2021

Winter, a beautiful season filled with crisp white days and frosty cold nights, so it is no wonder that many brave the cold to experience fun in the snow. Outdoors is still commonplace for many, including hearing aid users. While cold weather brings its unique aura, it isn’t the best for hearing aids. 

Did you know that weather can affect the functioning of hearing aid? Hot climates tend to have high humidity content in the air, and very cold weather causes condensation, which affects the hearing aid. For example, in winter, the temperatures outdoors are very low. The temperatures inside a building or house could be much warmer than outside due to heaters and other heating appliances.

Hearing aids and the cold

When you go outside and then come inside, the temperature change can cause condensation to occur on your hearing aids and this can damage the inside of the hearing aid. Wipe your hearing aid with a soft clean cloth; this will help prevent condensation from forming on the hearing aid. Moisture affects about 98% of all hearing aids and to some degree, it can pass through moisture protectors in the hearing aid. Try not to use your hearing aid when playing winter sports if possible. If you choose to wear them, it would be advisable that you consider using well-fitted headgear, cords, covers, and hearing aid helmets for your hearing aids. These will help against moisture and help prevent the hearing aid from falling out of your ears.

Protecting your hearing aids

Store your hearing aid in a cool, dry place, preferably in a hearing aid dryer or with drying capsules if you live in very cold climates and often use your hearing outdoors. If you do not have a dehumidifier, you can use a dry aid kit. 

It is essential to keep your hearing aid in a hearing aid dryer or hearing aid dehumidifier when you are not using it. Remove the battery and leave the battery door open and place it in your drying aid kit and this will help to absorb the moisture in the hearing aid. A hearing aid dehumidifier is an electronic device that helps absorb the moisture from hearing aids as it slowly warms and circulates the air inside the drying box. Drying crystals are a non-electronic type of dryer that uses gel or desiccant types of crystals to absorb moisture from hearing aids. Never place your hearing aid near a heater or in the microwave to warm up as this can melt your hearing aid and cause damage to it. Speak to your hearing health provider about the different types of drying options available and which one is best for your hearing aid considering the climate you live in.

To protect your hearing aid from the cold, you should keep it covered. You can use certain clothing items such as hats, scarves, earmuffs, headgears, etc. By keeping your ears warm during cold weather, it can protect your hearing aid as well. Preferably use breathable fabric, which are fabrics that allow moisture and water vapor to pass through. It also allows air to pass through easily. This allows for sweat to dry up quicker. Clothing items made of cotton are one example of fabric you can consider next time you go shopping.

Hearing aid batteries and the cold

The cold can drain the power of hearing aid batteries. Why does this happen? Batteries need chemical reactions to work. Very cold temperatures slow down these chemical reactions or can sometimes stop these reactions from occurring. Slow chemical reactions will produce less energy causing less power, especially with zinc-air batteries. It is advisable to always carry spare batteries with you if you need to change the batteries but this can be costly as you would be required to change batteries frequently. Lithium-ion batteries are less affected by changes in the temperature than zinc-air batteries. Most rechargeable hearing aids use lithium-ion batteries. There are many advantages of using lithium-ion batteries, especially if you enjoy playing sports and extreme sports and live in an environment with high moisture content and cold temperatures.

Some advantages include:

  • Cost-effective
  • Saves time- No need to go out to buy batteries or order online
  • It is ideal for hearing aid users with dexterity problems
  • It reduces the chance of hearing aid dying suddenly, provided that the hearing aid was charged to full capacity, lithium-ion batteries should give sufficient power throughout the day.

Signs of moisture/water damage

  • A hearing aid suddenly stops working.
  • The sound from the hearing aid can slowly fade away.
  • The sounds are unclear
  • You might hear a static or crackling noise.
  • Changes in the volume of sound. 
  • The battery loses power frequently.

Hearing aids are expensive and valuable to every hearing aid user. Cold weathers are unavoidable, and you don’t need to limit your outdoor activities anymore. Changing your hobbies to protect your hearing aid is a thing of the past. Practice the tips shared above. It helps you prolong your hearing aid life while you still live your life the way you want to. Speak to your hearing health provider if you have any further questions on how cold weather can damage your hearing aid and how you can protect it.

Image of post writer Marcellé Swanepoel.

Written by Marcellé Swanepoel

B. Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology

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