Hearing aids are essentially mini computers that evaluate complex environments, process sound and apply amplification to account for an individual’s hearing loss. The microchip inside of the hearing aid is susceptible to environmental factors such as moisture just as any other computer or electronic device would be.

While some hearing aid manufactures aim to take preventative measures against moisture, they can’t prevent all moisture from getting into the devices. Many devices now have special seals around open ports and a coating on the entire device to help prevent moisture from entering the hearing aid. Hearing devices need certain ports open so sound can enter into the hearing aid and also so the sound can leave the device to travel into the individual’s ear. Once moisture does enter into the device, it will begin to corrode the components inside. It is usually a slow process, but eventually components of the hearing aids will begin to malfunction.

The best way to help prevent excessive moisture from corroding the components in the hearing aids is to help draw out the moisture from the device. For example, the devices can be placed inside of a hearing aid dryer. Hearing aid dryers have several forms. There are dryers with desiccant beads, dry bricks and UV lights. Each kind is effective to a different degree. The desiccant beads can be recharged in the microwave as they begin to collect the moisture but the beads are not as effective as the dry bricks or the UV light. The dry bricks need to be replaced every few months, but they can draw out more moisture than the beads. The UV light is the most effective and also least expensive over time. The UV light will last for a very long time so there is no need to purchase replacement parts or to recharge the components. When the hearing aids are consistently placed in a dryer over night, the dryer draws out the moisture from the components and will keep the devices functioning properly for many years.

Replacing batteries is a necessary part of wearing most hearing aids. Hearing aid battery life depends on several factors. The first is the size of the battery. There are 4 different battery sizes listed in size order from smallest to largest: 10, 312, 13 and 675. As the battery gets larger the life span also increases.

The second factor is the amount of hearing loss and the amplification needed. Mild hearing losses require only a small amount of amplification from the hearing aids while a severe hearing loss would require a significant amount of amplification from the hearing aids. The more amplification that is needed means more draw on the battery for the hearing aids to be able to produce that amount of amplification. Also, it is very common that each ear on an individual has a slightly different hearing loss. No two ears are exactly the same. Therefore, even when one individual is wearing a set of hearing aids, each hearing aid may send different amplification to each ear causing different amounts of battery drain for each hearing aid. The hearing aids may not produce the low battery warnings at the same time because of that. It is recommended however, to change both batteries at the same time since the other hearing aid will likely need the battery replaced within a few hours anyway.

A third factor of hearing aid battery draw is the amount of features in the hearing aids and how they respond to different environments. Some hearing aid technology is very active and is making changes in the hearing aids for the individual many times per minute.  The types of environments that an individual is in throughout the day can change the battery draw amount. If an individual spends a day in a quiet environment, the battery draw would be much less than that of an individual that spent the day in a large crowded environment with a lot of noise. The hearing aids are very active in that crowded environment, therefore spending more battery power to process the information.

The fourth factor affecting hearing aid batteries is whether or not the hearing aids have Bluetooth and other wireless connections. The hearing aids that are constantly connected to Bluetooth devices, or are used for phone call/media streaming will require a lot more battery power. Overall, the connections and clarity gained by the increased technology and wireless connections are well worth the time spent changing a few extra batteries per year.

Almost 50% of couples attribute good communication to the success of their relationship. Good communication between spouses and friends relies on communication strategies used to portray information and hearing healthcare to listen. Listening in many ways is more effective than speaking.

Listening and understanding conversations begins with the ear’s ability to hear sounds. Hearing loss can present itself in a gradual manner and others may notice hearing loss occurring before the individual with the hearing loss does. If a spouse or friend begins mentioning to you that you are not hearing conversations accurately anymore, it may be time to have your hearing abilities evaluated by a professional. Some of the first signs of hearing loss are answering questions incorrectly because the original question was not heard correctly and frequently needing to ask for repetitions of what was said.

When situations become too difficult for someone to hear and understand conversations, the individual with hearing loss tends to withdraw leading to less social interactions with friends and family. Hearing and understanding conversations can make a world of a difference when engaging in social activities with loved ones. Therefore, it is very important to have hearing abilities evaluated annually and corrected with individualized hearing devices if necessary. The ability to easily hear and understand conversations contributes to successful interactions with family and friends with little stress and effort.

Hearing aids are not just hearing aids anymore. They are more than those things that used to squeal in your grandparent’s ears. Hearing aids get smaller, yet smarter and more powerful every year. The advancements in hearing aids over the years have gone from analog to digital, large boxes with wires to almost invisible in-the-ear devices, and no connectivity to multiple types of connectivity.

Many hearing aids now have the ability to connect to wireless devices allowing for more clarity and the option of hands free communication. The types of connection signals that most hearing aids currently use are Bluetooth and 2.4 GHz. These signals enable the hearing aids to receive and send information to cell phones, TV boxes and media clips. Cell phones can be paired with many hearing aids to enable streaming of phone calls and media straight to the hearing aids as well as the use of apps to help make adjustments on the hearing aids. No more fiddling with small buttons on the back of hearing aids to make adjustments!

Just like the ability to stream from a cell phone, the hearing aids can be paired to a TV box that will send the TV signal right into the hearing aids as if you were wearing a headset. The signal quality and clarity remains constant while the hearing aids are in range of the TV box. Gone are the days of needing to blast the TV volume to be able to understand the dialogue on your favorite TV show.

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