The two primary culprits to cause problems with hearing aids are wax and moisture. Some instruments are less vulnerable to wax issues because of their design, but because of humidity, ALL hearing aids are susceptible to the effects of moisture to some degree. Even the rechargeable instruments, while the benefit from some heat from the recharging process, can still benefit from the use of a dehumidifier, and some manufacturers have started incorporating them into the recharging case as a result. Manufacturers don't like having to repair hearing aids, so whatever they can do to reduce that they will.
At a minimum, what generically is called a "Dry Aid Kit" should be used. This is a small sealable jar or cup that has dessicants in it that absorb moisture from the hearing aids, and retail for around $10-$20. That small investment can save a lot when it comes to repairs. Moist hearing aid users can do just fine with DAK's.
The dessicants themselves, which will either be loose beads or contained in a silver disc, must be "recharged" about every two months by heating them in an oven (i.e. 300 degrees for 20 minutes), and then they can be re-used. Eventually the entire DAK should be replaced, and in most areas the last about five years.
Some users, however, may want to invest in an electronic dehydration system, such as Hearing Technologies "Dry 'n' Store" systems. These are a bit more expensive ($80 - $120), but are essential for people who are in high humidity environments, who sweat a lot, or just generally have the instruments exposed to the weather. These systems are electronic and circulate dry heat as well as use a dessicant to dehydrate the aids, and some have a UV light in them which kills bacteria build-up on the aids, making them less itchy in your ears.
Note that the dessicant "bricks" that come with the DNS systems are not reusable, and have to be replaced about every two months, at a cost of around $4 each. As an alternative, consider purchasing a mini-DAK as well, which uses a "rechargeable" silver disc (see above) that can be used in place of the disposable dessicant bricks, thus saving you money in the long run. $4 per two months over five years is around $120, whereas the $15 mini-DAK lasts that long, and can also serve as your "travel size" when you go on trips.
Overall, hearing aid dehumidifiers are a good idea, especially in humid environments like New Orleans, Florida, or Hawaii, but are a smart choice anywhere. A small investment of $10 - $120 is nothing compared to a $250 repair charge or significantly more when it comes to purchasing new hearing aids because the electronics became corroded due to moisture exposure.
Yes I would recommend that you use one. I am in Florida and I find that it makes a big difference for my patients.
There are two types of dehumidifiers. There's a dessicant jar that you can keep the hearing aids in every night. There is also an electronic dehumidifier that plugs in and does an even better job. I recommend the electronic type if you perspire a lot or if you work outdoors.
If you're hoping to get the maximum life out of your hearing aids before having to get a new set, using a hearing aid dryer/dehumidifier is a great way to increase those chances.
Hearing aids set behind and/or in the ear, they are subject to the weather and our natural body functions including the production of sweat and earwax. Throughout most individuals day to day life, moisture is going to be a factor, whether you get caught walking in the rain, sweat, or have the occasional shower or dip in the pool and forgetting you have them on.
For people in the south such as yourself, humidity is an extra factor that would warrant the necessity of having a dryer/dehumidifier.
Care and maintenance of your hearing aids is crucial to you having the best experience with your hearing aids. A hearing aid dryer/dehumidifier will help minimize the amount of time you spend in your hearing professional's office, and increase your time enjoying the sounds of life.
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