With the cold, rainy season upon us, those who wear hearing aids in Portland should take a few extra precautions to protect them from the ravages of winter. Granted, we don’t get a lot of snow here in the Pacific Northwest, but any type of moisture – including the non-frozen variety – can cause damage to your aids.
Winter and Hearing Aids Don’t Mix
When Portland’s notorious winter rains kick in, we take precautions to protect ourselves from the moisture and cold. Any true Portlander knows that does not include using an umbrella – perish the thought! – but there are other ways we protect ourselves from the dampness and chill. You should take similar precautions to keep your hearing aids safe from the weather, as well. While they are durable and well-built instruments that can withstand temperature swings pretty well, moisture is a different story. It can damage the internal circuitry of your equipment, to it’s important to take steps to prevent that from happening.
When you go outdoors in cold weather, your body will generate heat to protect itself. Coming back indoors causes condensation to form as a result of the sudden change in temperature. This type of moisture can cause problems with your hearing aids, so it’s important to follow the below steps to ensure you keep them protected when venturing outside during the winter months.
- Protect your hearing aids from the cold. Cold temperatures themselves shouldn’t harm your hearing aids, but they will negatively affect battery performance. To prevent this, do not leave your hearing aids in a cold car or next to a drafty window. When wearing them outdoors, be sure to keep them covered with a hat, scarf, earmuffs or a ski cap to prevent exposure to the elements. If you’re skiing, snowboarding or participating in any vigorous winter sport, take off your hearing aids and keep them inside to ensure they remain safe and warm.
- Keep them away from moisture. Outdoor activities will cause you to perspire regardless of the temperature. Wicking away sweat will help prevent damage to your hearing aids. Opt for clothing and accessories that are breathable and absorb moisture. If your hearing aid is a behind-the-ear style, consider purchasing a hearing aid sweatband for added protection. When you come back inside after being outdoors in the cold, remove your hearing aids to allow them to breathe. Wipe off any condensation that has built up, open the battery compartment door to assist with ventilation and store them in a dehumidifier at night to prevent moisture from building up.
- A few more tips. Never dry your hearing aids by placing them near a heat source such as a radiator or fireplace – extreme heat is no better than cold for your hearing aids (and probably much worse; it’s impossible to repair a melted hearing aid). Keep a supply of extra batteries on hand during the coldest months to ensure a ready supply. And with all the rain Portland gets, water-resistant hearing aids might be a smart choice.
For more tips on protecting your hearing aids from the cold, talk to your Portland audiologist today.