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We all know a version of summer fun: whether it’s water skiing, taking a walk, or playing chess in the park, summer/fall is the best time of year to get outside and enjoy the warm weather and the sights, sounds, and smells of life.
It’s important to remember, however, that our hearing aids are delicate instruments that are sensitive to moisture. While all hearing devices are water-resistant to a degree, they can still be damaged by prolonged exposure to sweat.
Follow the few tips below and you’ll be in good shape to enjoy the summertime without damaging your hearing aids in the process.
Keep Your Ears Dry
In addition to keeping your hearing aids dry, you’ll want to take extra precautions to keep water out of your ear canals, as well. Getting your ears wet from swimming and then popping your hearing aids back in when you get out of the water can trap moisture inside your ear canal, increasing your risk for developing swimmer’s ear (a bacterial infection of the ear canal).
If you’re going swimming, always make sure to:
- Remove your hearing aids.
- Keep your ears dry with a bathing cap or swimmer’s earplugs.
- Towel-dry your ears afterwards.
- Avoid inserting fingers or cotton swabs into your ears.
- Leave earwax alone! It helps water to evacuate your ear canal.
- Leave a little extra time for your ears to air-dry before reinserting your hearing aids.
Keep Your Hearing Aids Clean
Sandy beaches and salt water are bad news for hearing aids. Never touch your hearing aids with salt water or sand on your fingers. The salt water will leave salt deposits on your hearing aids, and sand will be very difficult to remove from the tiny openings in your hearing aids.
The best practice is to put your hearing aids into a waterproof container during your time at a beach or swimming pool, and don’t remove them until you’ve made sure that you and your hands are clean enough to safely handle them again.
Keep Your Hearing Aids Away from Heat
Extreme heat is bad for the batteries in your hearing aids, and can even melt their plastic casing. If you’re going to the beach or pool, never leave them in the car, where the temperature will get even hotter than the air outside. Keep them in a waterproof container in a shaded spot and they’ll be okay.
Check the IP Number on Your Hearing Aids
The IP number is a rating assigned by the International Electrotechnical Commission. An example of an IP number is “IP67.” The first numerical digit, 6, represents the device’s resistance to dust and debris, and the second numerical digit, 7, represents the device’s resistance to water. The dust scale goes from 1-7 and the moisture scale goes from 1-9.
The moisture rating “7” means that the hearing aids can withstand 30 minutes submerged in water that is less than 3 feet deep. A rating lower than 7 means the device is not submersible. Discuss the IP ratings of various hearing aid models with your hearing care provider to determine what your hearing aids can practically be expected to withstand.
Invest in a Hearing Aid Dehumidifier
These devices are relatively inexpensive and can significantly prolong the life of your hearing aids if moisture is a concern. Whenever you take them out at night, remove the batteries from your hearing aids and place them in the dehumidifier so they get to spend some time each night totally dry. You can purchase a dehumidifier from your hearing care provider or most drug stores.
Talk with Kenwood Hearing Centers About Your Needs
If you have questions about what to do with your hearing aids during these summer and fall months, talk to us. We have plenty of recommendations and a good knowledge of your specific hearing aids, so we can help you keep them safe, clean and working for their expected lifespan.