by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
A mother wrote:
A few weeks ago my son’s digital hearing aid stopped working and he got very upset because he was in the middle of exams and didn’t want to have to send the aid away for repairs just then. I wangled a emergency appointment for that night with the audiologist. After he listened to my son’s recounting of how the hearing aid was(n’t) working, he broke into a relaxed grin and said that he knew exactly what the problem was. The ear hook, although we couldn’t see this, was filled with condensation. He changed the ear hook, and the aid has worked perfectly ever since.
He gave my son some extra ear hooks, to replace future condensation filled ones. Last week, my son had to replace the other aids’ ear hook. The audiologist said that the need for ear hook replacement was common. I know that neither set of my son’s analog aids, used over the course of 6 years needed this, so maybe this is the future for digital aids.
Normally condensation builds up in the tubes—suddenly forms a drop and wham—the sound shuts down instantly. When this happens, you just remove the tube from the ear hook and blow the moisture out, put it back together and you’re back in business. only takes a minute.
Like you, I’ve never had problems with moisture blocking regular ear hooks. But even if it ever did, I’d just take the ear hook off and blow it out and be back in business.
However, problems arise if the ear hooks have filters built into them. These filters collect moisture and do indeed block hearing. I had one set like this. When they blocked, I just destroyed the filters by pushing a needle through them. (I think your son’s ear hooks may have filters in them.)
After that, I used to use tiny foam filters in the top of my tubes instead. When they filled with moisture, I’d blow the filter out and put a new one in. This is easier than having to carry spare hooks (and cheaper too). Even if you don’t have your spare filters handy just blowing out the moisture-filled one gives you hearing back for the rest of the day until you get home and replace the filter. (These filters are free from your audiologist—at least mine were.)
In order to help prevent such problems it is a good idea to put your hearing aids in a jar of dessicant each night or use the Dry-n-Store, which not only evaporates the moisture, but also uses unltaviolet light to kills “bugs” on the earmold which greatly reduces ear canal infections.