Moisture, Earwax, and Hearing Aids
Not too long ago, the #1 cause of hearing aid repairs was moisture exposure. Unfortunately, it was rarely the literal form, such as accidental showers or ill-timed pool tosses. The hearing aid circuits, microphones, and speakers were needing repairs due to moisture from our own bodies.
On average, the humidity of a healthy ear canal is about 60% (the range is between 40% and 70%, depending on the person). That ranks right up there with Birmingham, Alabama, in July! It’s not much dryer behind your ear, where about 60% of hearing aids reside. Hearing aid repairs are not only inconvenient, they are costly to the consumer and damage the reputation of the manufacturer and audiologist.
In the last few years, technology has allowed electronics manufacturers to develop extraordinarily effective oleophobic and hydrophobic coatings to the components of the hearing aids, as well as the filters and guards used to protect the microphones and speakers. This simple change has significantly reduced moisture-related damage.
Unfortunately, no filter or coating can combat earwax. The filter can stop the wax from ruining the speaker, but only if it is changed. If you aren’t sure how to change your filters and wax guards, ask your audiologist for a refresher. Keeping the hearing aids spotless will not only help you hear your best, but it will make your investment in better hearing last as long as possible.