Thursday, June 17, 2010

Summertime, and Hearing Aids

Flip flops, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
One of my readers wrote to me last month asking about taking care of hearing aids in the summer. Since then I have read a lot of great advice from blogs like Speak Up Librarian and Jeff's Bionic World and thought I would throw my own two cents in there - especially since the start of summer is in just a few days, on the 21st.

Here in Arizona it already feels like summer, and it has for a month now. The "dry heat" will soon give way to humidity as our summer monsoon season brings water to the desert, along with flash floods and slick roads. Living in a hot environment like this can lead to trickiness when it comes to hearing aid care - keeping them dry and cool. Here is some of my advice:

Keep your hearing aid in a dehumidifier when you are not wearing it.
If you do not wear your hearing aid all day, stick it in a dehumidifier when you are not wearing it, and run the machine overnight. Simply placing the aids in a cool dry spot even if you do not run the dehumidifier will cut down on the amount of moisture the hearing aids experience, and running the dehumidifier overnight will ensure they are dry. I use a Dry and Store, which I bought from my audiologist.

Do not bring your aids with you when you take a shower, or go to the pool.
I leave my aids in the bedroom when I am going to take a shower. Leaving them on the sink means they are subject to moisture from the shower. I usually take them with me to the pool but leave them in a special, heavy Oticon case. I used to use baggies, but they can collect moisture and can be moved every which way by the wind.

Remember the batteries!
When you are making trips, seeing relatives and seeing the sights this summer, don't forget your batteries. An extra moment to stow a package away in your purse or pocket can mean you can enjoy your vacations even longer.

Make regular trips to your audiologist to maintain your hearing aid.
My audiologist recommends that I take my aids in every three months for them to run through their dehumidifier and take care of any additional issues. I often forget, but summer is a great time to catch up on your hearing aid maintenance schedule.

If you have problems with moisture, try a Sweatband or other product.
I think I have a pair of Sweatbands laying around here somewhere. They are fabric sleeves that slide over the aid to protect it from sweat on your skin. If you are active, or going to be outside a lot, these are a great option, and there are other similar products too.

Anybody else have input on summer care for your aids?

4 comments:

  1. Good advice, not only for summer.

    My Ear Gear (http://www.gearforears.com/) arrived last week. Since then I have taught an all day martial arts class and worked out several times in the gym. I have not had any issues with them yet.

    I've been reading your blog for several months now and love it. Keep up the good work.

    Cheers,
    Scott

    ReplyDelete
  2. Scott, the Gear for Ears looks really useful. I might give them a try. Thank you! :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I live in the tropics, where humidity is a real problem. To do housework or any outdoor activity, I must remove my hearing aids, as the sweating causes them to malfunction within minutes. When my first born was a baby I was afraid to do housework without my aids (for fear of not hearing him cry), so I tried using small waterbomb balloons as a sock to protect the aids - just like the Ear Gear. The problem I found with this is that the ballons rubbed against the microphone of the aids, which was irritatingly loud. Scott, is this a problem with the Ear Gears at all?

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm sorry about the delayed response. The upside to the delay is I have had more time to use the ear gear.

    Having used them both inside and out, exercising and teaching martial arts I really like them. In a noisy environment like the gym I'm able to hear people better, or resorting to lip reading. Which can be a pain if someone is out of breath and trying to talk to me.

    The first weekend I had them I taught martial arts classes outside all day. I was in the tidewater area of Virginia and it was VERY hot and VERY humid. They held up well and I was able to hear my students without any real problems.

    Another factor that can effect my hearing aids (I have Oticon Delta's) is my hair. During all these "tests" my hair was about as long as I generally let it get. Which tends to be just over the tops of my ears. Even with the additional sweat the ear gear held up really well.

    Judy, the scratching sound over the mics was solved after playing with the placement of the covers. There is a seam that runs over the top of my hearing aids. I just slide that seam to either side of the mics and the problem mostly went away.

    I hope this helps.

    Cheers,
    Scott

    ReplyDelete

All comments on my blog are moderated, and I reserve the right not to publish any comments for any reason. This blog is set up so that anyone can comment. If you have trouble, email me, or check Blogger's help section.