Getting caught out in the rain is bound to take place in our state. The rain can be predicted, but then again, it can turn into what seems like a hurricane in just a short time. Our beautiful state lends us gorgeous days and nights in which we can spend so much time outdoors doing fun activities.
A good drenching never really hurt any of us. Of course, unless you are “made of sugar.” Everything will dry: our clothes, shoes, hair, golf gloves, sunglasses ... everything ... right? What about your hearing instruments?
Modern hearing has very impressive moisture coating on them. Moisture coating material has been used on hearing aids for years, and like all products they have only gotten better. Around 2006 the development of nano technology moisture coating finally started to adequately repel oil, wax and grease along with water. Hearing aids are designed so that their cases will funnel the moisture and debris away from any openings in the hearing instruments, such as battery doors, receivers, and microphone covers. Premium quality hearing instruments have moisture coating on all the components, contacts and wires on the inside of the case as well as the outside.
If your hearing instruments are more than a couple of years old then they do not have the more advanced moisture protection on them, but they will most definitely have some type protection. So, not to worry, get out and do what you like!
Now then, your shopping expedition and golf day has been a washout with some soggy clothes and soaked hearing instruments. What should you do? I will let you worry about your clothes.
First of all, don’t panic if you got caught in a Florida downpour. As soon as possible, dry them out. (If it is only a little rain and you are just scooting into a store or clubhouse then they will be fine. Don’t worry about them). Come into the clubhouse and use the hand dryers to dry them. If your instruments have tubes then make sure they are completely dry as you can’t hear through water. If they have batteries then remove the batteries and throw the batteries away. If they are the only batteries that you have with you then dry them for just a few seconds and use them until you can get home and change them out for new.
Another trick is to use the air vents in the car. You can use either heat or cold air as both will do the trick.
Either way, when you get home, I would give another minute of drying time with the battery door open (battery removed) for about a minute on medium heat. This should do the trick.
Rechargeable hearing instrument cases are actually even more sealed than those with batteries. Still, I would use the hair dryer on a low heat setting for about a minute just in case any moisture is possibly trapped. Some chargers have drying pucks inside the case so it helps to continually dissipate moisture as they charge.
Moisture from rain and moisture from sweat will affect the the hearing instruments differently. The salt that is a bi-product of the sweat will cause the microphones to get clogged up and eventually may cause corrosion.
Premium products provide the best moisture repelling coatings. If you are experiencing salt-related issues with hearing instruments then you might notice telltale signs. These include green marks or corrosion showing up on the outside of the instruments. Usually the green corrosion will start up around buttons, microphone covers, and battery door openings. Your hearing instrument may sound scratchy or weak. Speech may be distorted if the microphone openings fill up with salt.
The instrument may actually appear to you that it is totally dead. That is usually not the case, once the microphone openings are clear then the sound can travel into the microphones to start the sound reproduction.
If you are having a malfunction with your instrument after it has been subjected to excessive sweating or even a day out on the ocean, then try turning the instrument upside down and using a soft toothbrush dipped in rubbing alcohol to brush over the microphone openings. Make sure the brush is soft and the instrument is upside down. The alcohol will rapidly remove the salt and oil that is ruining your hearing instrument. This is not something to be done daily. This is an “as needed” protocol.
If you enjoy the outdoors and are proficient at sweating then your should stop in to your hearing health care provider for a more detailed cleaning and salt removal.
Keep doing what you do. Keep your hearing instruments in your ears and don’t fret the rain! 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.