Does Cold Weather Affect Hearing Aid Performance?

Senior friends wearing aids enjoying a day on the slopes

Contrary to popular belief, winter is fun! Okay–it can certainly be a bummer if you have to get anywhere. Or if you don’t have the proper gear (or proper infrastructure). But there are plenty of fun things to do in those colder winter months!

Don’t believe us? Well, here are just a few examples of how cold weather can be fun: you could go skiing or sledding. You could have some fun on a snowmobile! Or you could grab a pair of ice skates and spend some time out on the ice. With the right gear, winter can be just as much of an outdoor season as spring, summer, or autumn (and the hot cocoa is so much more satisfying when you’ve been outdoors in the cold).

But that’s an important caveat: you need the right gear to stay comfortable. You may be thinking: Does my hearing aid count as “the right gear”… and if so, will cold air affect my hearing aids? Or does cold weather damage my hearing aids?

Most hearing aids are designed to be all-weather… to a point

Hearing aids are designed to be used every day. They’re built so you can wear them to the grocery store, out on a hike, or just around the house. Which means that hearing aid manufacturers understand that these devices may take a pounding. (We don’t suggest you do anything drastic with your hearing aids–just remember that they’re designed to accompany you throughout your normal daily activities.)

As a result, most hearing aids are designed to be somewhat “all-weather.” Most hearing aids can operate quite nicely between the temperatures of -13 and 158 degrees Fahrenheit. That covers the broad range of temperature possibilities (though there are some places, especially up north, that will occasionally get colder than -13 degrees).

Which is a good thing! It means you’ll be able to hear in most environments. Now, you may be thinking: if that’s true, why don’t my hearing aids work as well in the winter? Well, drops in temperature will put stress on your devices–so while they may operate, they may not operate optimally.

Some winter hearing aid tips

Luckily, there are some things you can do to help ensure your hearing aids continue to work at peak efficiency (or near enough) even in cold weather.

  • Try not to get your hearing aids wet: When snow melts, it becomes water! So be careful about exposing your hearing aids to snow. If you’re going to ask, “Well, can I wear hearing aids when it’s snowing or raining?” Yes, you can. Most hearing aids are water resistant–but not necessarily waterproof. This means your hearing aid can probably get a little wet–but it’s not a great idea to leave it that way longer than you have to.
  • Try wearing a hat or earmuffs: Not only will this keep your ears warm, it’ll keep your hearing aids warm, too! And the warmer your hearing aids are, the more optimally they’ll be functioning. Your next question might be: can I wear ear muffs over my hearing aid without impacting my hearing? Well, it depends on the hearing aid–but in most cases, your hearing aids will still continue to work.
  • Check your batteries (and make sure they’re charged): Do hearing aid batteries freeze or something? Well, not really. But cold weather can drain your batteries faster than warm weather. This means you’ll want to make sure you have a full charge before heading out into any inclement weather.
  • Keep your hearing aids somewhere warm and dry when you aren’t using them: This will help prevent moisture from causing problems with your hearing aids. You’re probably asking: “How do I remove moisture from my hearing aids?” In most cases, you can dry it off and then leave it someplace warm and dry.
  • Use accessories to keep your hearing aids strapped to your ears: There are all manner of straps and clips you can use to make sure your hearing aids stay in place. This can be especially important if you’re engaged in strenuous activity, such as skiing or skating or sledding.
  • Talk to your hearing specialist about the fit of your hearing aids: Hearing aids can sometimes become uncomfortable when they’re cold. Talk to your hearing specialist about the fit of your devices to give yourself the chance to minimize discomfort.

So, if you’re wondering: how do I protect my hearing aids in the winter? Well–now you’ve got some answers.

What should you do if your hearing aids stop working?

Of course, even in the best possible weather conditions, your hearing aid may occasionally stop working. There are a few basic troubleshooting steps you can take (for example, ensure the batteries are charged and that your devices are nice and dry). But if those steps don’t help, your hearing specialist should be able to help you identify the cause of the issue and the best way to solve the problem.

Don’t let cold weather keep you from enjoying life!

There are plenty of reasons why you might want to stay indoors when it’s -10 degrees outside. Maybe you don’t like the cold. Maybe you’re going to make yourself some nice warm soup. Maybe you aren’t a big fan of snowmobiles. The important thing is that it shouldn’t be your hearing aids that are preventing you from living your best winter life.

That’s especially true if you take care of your devices–and follow the tips outlined above. If you have any questions about how cold weather might impact the performance of your hearing aids, talk to your hearing specialist today!

Want more information?

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