Preventing Moisture From Becoming A Barrier To Better
Waterproof Hearing Aids - Because sound waves have to somehow enter the hearing aid, there
is no truly waterproof hearing aid. There are, however, a few water resistant
hearing aids available.
2 HP-54 styles feature extensive waterproofing design (though not
recommended for use underwater). One mother
tells me, "The paperwork on states it is not for swimming underwater.
It states that the water will film over the mic. They recommended tapping
the aide to remove the film."
Eurion offers water-resistant hearing
aids, in cool colors!
Earmold Tubing - High humidity can cause moisture to collect in
earmold tubing. Do not make the mistake of thinking that this small amount of moisture
will not cause problems. The diameter of the inside of the tube effects the acoustics of
the sound entering the ear. Even small amounts of moisture in the hearing aid can cause
changes in what is heard. Think of it in terms of a pipe organ, the smaller the diameter
of the inside of the pipe, the higher the pitch that comes out. If you can see little
beads of moisture inside the tubing, the sound it's delivering to the ear is being
affected. It also doesn't take much moisture inside this small tube to completely block
the tube, thus preventing any sound from entering the ear. If moisture in your earmold
tubing is a problem, there are a couple of things you can do about it. First, there are
small bulbs available designed to make it easy to blow this moisture out of the tubing. Another
thing you can do is to ask your audiologist or hearing aid dealer about tubing designed to
resist this buildup of moisture. This tubing has a special coating on the inside. My son
has this type of tubing on his earmolds and it has really made a difference.
Super Seals -
Described to me once as "hearing aid condoms". They are latex covers for hearing
aids and come in a variety of colors. I've heard from others who say that they
make their own by cutting off the lower part of a balloon, roll it down like you
would a sock, and then roll it up over the hearing aid. If you do try this, you
will have to experiment to see which shape provides the best fit for your
hearing aid. If you use this idea, be sure to use a drying box at night so any
moisture that does get in doesn't cause damage to the hearing aid, especially in
Ear Gear -
designed to help keep hearing aids secure, cut down on hearing aid loss
and damage, protect hearing aids against sweat and allow for
a more active lifestyle. For adults and children.
Aid Sweat Band - A Hearing Aid Sock is the best way I could describe
Wraps - There is a product available that looks like a clear plastic
ribbon you can wrap around your hearing aid or BTE CI. I've heard from only one person
whose sister uses this, but she says her sister likes it. This wrap is called Moisture
Guard. (not to be confused with the Moisture Guard that's
electric dryer for hearing aids - see below.)
Headbands - Covers such as Super Seals aren't enough
when you sweat because they don't keep moisture out of the microphone. During those times
when you are sweating you should be wearing a terrycloth headband. The correct way to wear
one is so that the headband is between the top portion of the hearing aid and your head
(don't cover the hearing aid with the sweatband). This way any sweat that runs down the
side of your head will be absorbed by the headband instead of the microphone.
One gentleman with a cochlear implant recently wrote to say, "I have a
cochlear implant and I find bandanas as a headband work well in preventing
moisture problems. I fold it into a triangle, then roll it up and tie it on,
then I slide the microphone in the folds created by rolling it up."
Dehumidifiers - Audiologists recommend daily (actually nightly) use of
a dehumidifier. Before you use a dehumidifier of any type, remember to remove the
device's battery or you can shorten battery life. Some Dehumidifiers that you can purchase
- Dri-Aid - This is a little
red vinyl pouch with a small tin of color changing silica. I wasn't too impressed with
this years ago when we tried it, but I think it was because the amount of silica in the
tin wasn't appropriate for the high humidity area we were living in.
- Dri Doc - Water resistant, vinyl
case with silica pack.
- Dry & Store - Slight heat,
moving air, and desiccant.
- I have to admit to having been a little bit
skeptical about whether or not this system was worth the hefty price tag
but now I'm sold on them. My own hearing loss had progressed to the
point where yours truly now had to get hearing aids. I got some digital
ones and, wouldn't you know it, 3 days after I got them I fumbled and
one flipped into my glass of Coke! I just about cried, but had the
presence of mind to dry off what I could and drop it in my Dry & Store I
had gotten just the day before. I truly couldn't believe it when I took
my hearing aids out the next day and both worked perfectly! Not only do I have a
system, but so does my son! We're a dual unit family!!!
- Dri-Eze Dehumidifier - A number of places
online sell this. Just
Dehumidifier - dries your hearing aid with a flow of
- Super Dri-Aid -
This is what we use for our son's hearing aids now. It's a jar of little tan pellets with
a few blue ones sprinkled in. When the blue ones turn tan, it's time to recharge them by
heating in the oven. The pellets are large enough that even if one of the little critters
manages to get inside the hearing aid, it can't get trapped anywhere and comes right back
- Though not made for hearing aids, I've always found it handy to keep
some Damp Traps in a baggie in my purse. I've also found these
pouches under other names, but they're basically the same. Another mother tells us
I buy these sachets called "Damp Traps" which are sold
at any old store (I get mine at Wal-Mart, near the cleaning products and
bug killers and such). They're little tea-bag-like things, and they're
marketed as a solution for keeping dampness away from small electronics,
cameras, etc. They're quite inexpensive and I just toss
one of those in a zippable plastic freezer bag, and put the hearing aids
in along with it. They're cheap enough that I just replace them whenever.
There are guidelines on the box as to how long they'll last. You can
"recharge" them once or twice in the sun.
Making Your Own Drying Container
The Drying Agent - There are a number of things I have
heard of people using as the drying agent in a drying box.
- Calcium Chloride - This is a chemical sold in grocery stores and
discount stores under names such as Damp Rid. While it does work extremely well at
absorbing moisture, I do not recommend its use. I would not even mention Calcium Chloride
on this page except that I know people using it and are unaware of the danger. It starts
out as dry white crystals but as it absorbs moisture, it turns into a liquid. This liquid
is caustic and if any of it gets into the device, not only will you have problems
with moisture, but you'll have the added problem of the chemical corroding the metal parts
inside. Because this product is caustic, not only will it eat at the metal
inside the device, but if ingested, it can cause burns inside the mouth, throat and
stomach. If you insist on using Calcium Chloride, take proper precautions to protect the
hearing aid and any children inside the home. Make sure you have the number to your local
Control Center handy. In case of accidental ingestion, give plenty of water or milk to
drink (do NOT induce vomiting) and call the Poison Control Center immediately.
- Silica - Silica has an advantage in that you can recharge it by
re-heating it in the oven. There are a number of sources of Silica. Silica is available as
a powder from craft stores (for drying flowers). Medications come packaged with a little
packet of silica crystals inside. These usually get thrown away. Your pharmacist will
probably save them for you if you explain why you need them for. One mother tells me:
Almost every bottle of pills the pharmacy gets from the manufacturer has a silica gel
packet in it. There are usually encased in plastic. These all get thrown away.
If you have a good relationship with your pharmacists simply take a empty container
in and ask them to toss the silica gel in your container instead of throwing it away.
In a week you will have enough to last you years. Be sure to pick it up
inside a week so they don't get annoyed and throw the whole thing out.
Once in a while I'm able to find a larger packet in the bottom of an
almost empty bin display for candy in a grocery store. When I
explain what I want them for, the check-out clerk has always let me have
them. You can also purchase color changing silica
packets from The
- Popcorn or Uncooked Rice - I've heard these from more than one source.
I haven't tried them myself, but at least you wouldn't have to worry about toxicity.
The Container - A jar or any other container with a tight
sealing lid will work.
Putting It Together - This is the easy part. The drying
agent goes in the bottom of the container.. The humidity in your area, size of hearing aid
and the size of the jar will determine how much to put in, but it should probably be
somewhere around one to two inches. Now you need to cut a thin (about one half inch
thick), soft sponge (not the kind that gets hard when it's dry) so that it sits on top of
the drying agent and touches the edges of the container all the way around. This keeps the
drying agent from getting inside the devices. Make sure there is enough room on top of
the sponge for the devices to rest without getting smashed when the container is
sealed. That's all there is to it!
Ideas For Emergency Drying Situations
What to do if your amplification gets soaking wet? Unfortunately, I've
had ample opportunities to deal with a soaked hearing aid so I'll pass along a few things I've
learned. First of all, NEVER use a heat source that's hotter
than your bare skin can stand to dry these devices! It's a
great way to destroy (melt) them. Neither should you attempt to dry a hearing aid or cochlear
implant out in the microwave
oven. If you happen to be lucky enough that your drying container is handy, dry the
outside of the hearing aid off. Remove the earmold and hook and set them aside. Remove the
battery and leave the door open. Gently shake out any fluid still inside the hearing aid.
If there are any other doors on the hearing aid and you know how to open them without
damaging them, open them. Now place the hearing aid inside the drying container and seal
the container. Use your blower bulb to blow out any liquid inside the earmold and hook.
Use a similar procedure for the cochlear implant, remove what you can, open up
what you can, and plop as much as you can into your drying container.
If you're not lucky enough to have access to your drying container, then
go to a nearby pharmacy, get some silica packets and after preparing the hearing aid as
above, place it along with the packets in a zip-lock bag.
After the hearing aid dries out, take it to your audiologist or hearing
aid dealer to check. If you're fortunate, the hearing aid or cochlear implant will work fine. If it doesn't,
at least you'll know that you did what you could to minimize damage.