The summer heat is upon us. Many of our northern visitors have decided to stay due to the craziness and concerns of COVID-19. The last few weeks have brought some tremendously high temperatures. Typical of this time of year is the onslaught of grueling humidity. Just yesterday we had a couple in the office who were re-thinking their decision of not going back to Michigan.
The heat and humidity can be just miserable; especially if you are not used to it. The humidity alone can cause havoc with hearing instruments. I can tell you are all thinking about the humidity and how bad you were sweating just taking out the garbage last night.
You can not escape the humidity in Florida. Nope. It’s just here. And it causes you to sweat. Lots of sweat! Unfortunately, that sweat runs down your face and into any opening it can find in your hearing instruments. Think of the last time you played golf. How many times did you wipe the sweat off your face? How about the last time you walked out of the grocery store and walked to your car ... after breathing in that hot mask ... sweaty, right? Simply going from your air-conditioned house to the car, to the air-conditioned store and back to the air-conditioned car, then back to your comfy air-conditioned house creates a humidity and corrosion cycle inside your hearing instruments.
While Starkey Hearing Technologies hearing devices have impressive nano coating for moisture control, Florida humidity fights back. Salt from your sweat will deposit on your hearing aids, block the opening and corrode components. A few things you can do to combat the elements and protect your investment is to clean them regularly.
Daily, you should use your cleaning tools. Make sure and use your brush and turn the instrument upside down and brush off the microphone covers, battery doors, buttons and contacts ... brush everywhere. If you have been sweating profusely then take a dry paper towel and wipe off the entire system. During the summer months you may need to change your wax guards a little more often. Keep the wax, oil, moisture and sweat in control. If your hearing aid starts to make a frying noise or stops amplifying then it may have gotten some moisture or salt built up. With this scenario, you could take your cleaning brush and dip it into a little rubbing alcohol, turn the hearing aid upside down and brush over all the openings. The rubbing alcohol will help to remove the salt and dry out the hearing aid. Do not do this daily.
If, for instance, you have a button on you hearing instrument for different settings/memories and when you press it you can hear what it is announcing, yet you can tell it is not amplifying other sounds, this is a sign that something (sweat perhaps) is blocking the sound openings in your hearing instruments. You can also use a hair dryer on a low heat or no heat setting for about a minute to aid in removing the moisture.
Keep in mind, if you have rechargeable hearing instruments then you should only use an air setting and not heat due to the lithium batteries that power your hearing devices.
If you have a problem while out, then put your hearing aids in front of your air condition vents and turn the fan on high, just a minute, and you should be dry and good to go.
Our office also carries various Dri-Aid ™ kits and dehumidifiers that help to pull out excess moisture.
One thing is for sure, being diligent about cleaning and professional service for proper maintenance will keep your hearing instruments in top notch condition. Don’t be afraid to call for help. Our office is going above and beyond to provide our patients and ourselves with the safest environment possible. To Hear Better Is To Live Better!
Roseann B. Kiefer, B.A., BC-HIS, is owner of Lampe and Kiefer Hearing Aid Center, Sebring. This information is not intended to prevent, diagnose, treat or cure your condition. Always talk to your doctor before following any medical advice or starting a diet or exercise program.