Protecting hearing aids from daily activities that might harm them?


#1

Folks,

I’m likely to be buying my first pair of hearing aids sometime in July. They’re likely going to be more expensive than I’d like them to be, but that’s another question altogether that’s not what this thread is about.

I’m very active: I do a lot of walking in all kinds of weather—I enjoy waking in the rain and snow. I do a lot of hiking. I do a lot of gardening. I often bike five miles to work. Hubby and I ski once a week in the winter time. We do some camping now and then. We travel by car several times a year to visit aging parents and other relatives. And I’m employed full time as a college professor, so I’m in the classroom a lot, and I walk all over campus in all kinds of weather.

I’m also more than a bit of a slob: Housekeeping is not my forte and we do have rather large dust bunnies under the bed and couch most of the time.

And while most people would not think it, Buffalo has a pretty humid climate. We don’t get too much of the really hot, sticky 90+ degrees with 90% relative humidity in the sumer, but we do get a lot of humid days in the mid 80s when we don’t have the AC on, and my office is not air conditioned. And we have a humid winter (think Lake Effect). Spring comes late (April-June) and is rainy. Fall is a bit drier.

I’m aware that moisture, humidity, water and dust don’t play well with hearing aids. And I don’t know just how easy it is for a hearing aid to fall off your ear. (I most likely will wind up with RITE type aids from what the audiologist has said.)

So what kinds of things are out there for protecting my investment in hearing aids once I buy them? How well do they work? And how much will they cost?


#2

Robysue,

I live in a hot humid climate especially in summer. Our temperatures average 30 deg C and it can rain for days or storm daily. I would recommend a drying unit. These come in either a passive desiccant in a jar style or an active dryer which may include a UV cycle to “sterilize” the HAs. The electric ones are less bother but more expensive. Depending on the level of HAs you buy, you may well recieve one or the other with your HAs. The simple desiccant style should be ok for your climate.

There are also cheap sweat covers for the HAs if you are working up a sweat often. Dust is a bigger issue and when you spend a lot of money on HAs it pays to protect them. Don’t drop them and clean them each night with a soft microfiber cloth. Then put them in the dryer overnight. I clean my domes daily. They can pull off to clean them thoroughly - either alcohol wipes or soap and water. They are quite easy to lose though so it pays to have a routine and do this in a clean area where you will not lose them if you drop a dome.

Outside they can be worn in a quick sprinkle of light rain but they are not meant to be drenched. If they do get wet then the dryer is needed to rescue them. Check the water and dust ingress rating for the HAs you intend to purchase. Your audiologist should explain this also. I recently, accidentally stepped head first into the shower having forgotten to remove my HAs. I stepped out again removed them and dried them with a tissue, took out the batteries and placed them in the HA dryer doing 3 cycles in the following 24 hour. They then worked just fine - no problems. You should also remember not to store your HAs in the bathroom as it is too humid a place to be best for storage.

When you settle on a style don’t forget to ask about what is included - eg. Replacement domes, wax guards, replacement receivers, batteries, cleaning tool/cloth, dryer and number of adjustments etc. Higher end HAs from private audiologists often come with these extras. Costco also provide replacement parts and adjustments.

I think you will need to be a little careful with keeping them clean and dry - especially if that is not part of your nature - but HAs are meant to be worn. If they fit properly they don’t just fall off. The receiver acts as an anchor to keep them in place. They can come off by dragging snug clothes over your head.

Just keep them clean and dry them, don’t drop them and have fun hearing better.


#3

Use the hearing aid covers 100% of the time and never worry. I prefer the ones made by Gear for Ears, a Conadian based company.


#4

That can get me in a sweat too, Carol. :slight_smile:


#5

Wear your hearing aid and don’t worry so much. They are far more resilient than you think. Read this thread: http://www.hearingaidforums.com/showthread.php?6582-Hearing-Aids-for-boaters-live-aboard


#6

Good thread.

Yes, I’m over thinking things right now. I tend to do that. But I do find that if I over think ahead of time, I can usually avoid doing stupid stuff up front. And that does allow me to relax and quit over thinking once I’m in the middle of “doing.”

As I write these posts, I remind myself of the total newbies over at some cpap forums that I’m a member of. I and other old hands do a lot of hand-holding and reassuring the newbies that things will be ok once they’re through the adjustment period. We also spend a lot of time getting people up to speed on what kind of machines they should and should not accept from the durable medical equipment provider. I’m finding that this forum provides a lot of the same kind of support for folks like me who are new to the whole hearing impaired/hearing aid world. And I appreciate the time, effort, and patience of the folks here in responding to newbies like me and helping us educate ourselves.


#7

One caveat: if you have pets, be sure to keep them in a drawer or cupboard when you’re not wearing them. They’re wonderful playthings.

I have receiver-in-the-ear aids. The wire leading from the receiver to the case that sits behind my earlobe is flexible but stiff enough that the receiver stays in place. Once in a while while changing clothes it will slip off the top of my ear, but the aids have never come off accidentally.

My aids came with a warranty that covers cleaning, repair, and replacement (for lost or destroyed aids) for two years. Also free batteries for two years (big deal, the batteries would only cost about $25 a year). They gave me 20 replacement domes and wax guards and they will give me more if I run out.They also gave me a free dessicant drying case (I live in a rainy climate) and a free carrying case. Follow-up adjustments are free.

Hearing aids used to be very sensitive to moisture, but like other electronics the sensitive parts are covered in plastic nowadays.

I’m a rotten housekeeper too. The one thing I’m strict about is making sure I put them in the same place every night so I don’t forget where they are.

A lot of people here in the forum have reported spending $6,200 for a pair of top-of-the-line aids bought from an audiologist. At Costco, the top price is about $3,600 for a pair, and several brands at Costco are much less. I bought from an audiologist. The price was $4,250 – I saved money because I don’t need bluetooth or smartphone connectivity, and I don’t need to function in noisy environments.


#8

Thanks Ken - I often use an iPad and with r & t together it is easy to hit the wrong one on the smaller screen keyboard. I also hate predictive text - have to watch what the device thinks I want to say!:slight_smile:


#9

THIS. Cats especially.


#10

Don’t get me started on that. I do pretty well with my ergonomic keyboard but iOS and Android typing leave me cold. I do love spellcheckers. I am spelling impaired. Though, they let the occasional typo work. On my blog I have a context/syntax checker that helps a bit.

I actually got a paid blogging job because the editor said she could live with my illiterate style there but not in submitted articles.


#11

I have to watch that my Aussie spelling does not get corrected to American - choosing British English is not a panacea for that. At work I have a reputation as a good speller but within the family - not so much. That is why I don’t disable autocorrection. I do hate Microsoft software when it tries to rewrite my sentences! At least Apple just tries to read my mind one word at a time.:slight_smile:


#12

I have always found this item intriguing. Haven’t bought one yet, but it gets good reviews.