Hearing Aids and Moisture - Why Do I Keep Hearing the Low Battery Signal?

Posted: March 22 2019

Hearing aids are sophisticated little devices and despite being water-resistant, they are not waterproof. The reason that hearing aids cannot be completely waterproof is that they have microphones and battery doors, which create seams and openings for moisture to enter. Once inside, the moisture can build up just like condensation on your bathroom mirror after a shower. With nowhere for the moisture to go, patients can experience issues such as: poor sound quality; intermittent hearing aid function; or a dead hearing aid. However, the most common symptom of moisture, is that patients will keep hearing a low battery signal from the hearing aid. Our initial reaction to this intermittent beeping is that it must be a "bad battery".  We have seen patients go through multiple packages of batteries, when in fact it is simply the moisture inside the hearing aid that is shorting out the device.

Physical exercise while wearing hearing aids is another common culprit for moisture and hearing aid dysfunction. While it is not ideal to be without hearing aids during a swim class or a hot yoga session, your hearing aids will thank you later.  Sweating and conditions such as hyperhidrosis (excessive uncontrollable sweating) can really damage hearing aids due to the degree of perspiration and its content.  The salt, minerals, and water all contained in our sweat, contribute greatly to the wear and tear on hearing aids. Eventually, this type of damage can lead to rusting of the transistors and components inside the hearing aid.  The most obvious form of corrosion is rust that appears along the battery contacts inside the hearing aid's battery door.  This is a telltale sign of damage created by repeated exposure to moisture.

Therefore, whether it is April showers, a snowy winter, or perspiration during a humid summer's day, hearing aids are susceptible to all types of moisture and humidity. This is why we must consider keeping them as dry as possible with the use of hearing aid desiccants or electronic dyers.  It is recommended to use these dryers every night during humid summer months or any time you are experiencing a recurring low-battery signal or intermittency in your hearing aid's function.  This will not only help with the efficiency of your hearing aids but will likely extend the lifespan of these very important medical devices. So check with your audiologist if you are experiencing issues that sound like moisture; it's probably not just a bad batch of batteries after all.

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