Are Hearing Aids Heat Sensitive?

Most human inventions work best at temperatures people are comfortable with. It’s a natural result of us adapting the world around us to suit ourselves.

That principle especially applies to hearing aids and cellphones. If we expose them to temperatures higher than 100 ºC / 212 ºF for long periods, the electronic circuits begin breaking down and the components start to cook.

Hence it’s a bad idea to expose our ‘behind the ears’ to temperatures too hot for hearing aids. Or to use an elevator with electronic switches to evacuate a building that’s burning furiously for that matter.

How Do I Know Which Temperatures Are Too Hot for Hearing Aids?

If we feel uncomfortable in a high temperature, then our hearing aids are probably not in a good space either. We should never leave hearing aids in heat filled environments for more than a few minutes.

We should treat them as we do beloved pets. We should not lock them in the car or pickup with the windows closed on a blazing hot day or leave them in the bedroom with the sun blazing down on them for hours.

Miniaturization is making this situation more complicated. There’s little space inside laptops, smartphones and hearing aids for cooling air to circulate, in fact we’ve made it more challenging by sealing them the best we can from water intrusion. But that is not the end of hearing aids being sensitive to heat.

Hot days are often humid days. The moisture can enter hearing aids through battery compartments and cause dampness on warm components. Pop them in the humidifier for an hour if in any doubt. It’s not worth taking chances with your hearing aids.

Does This Mean I Should Not Wear My Hearing Aids on Hot Days?

No not at all, unless you spend time in an environment in which you feel uncomfortable yourself. We’re just saying don’t leave hearing aids in heat you cannot tolerate yourself. You should not have a problem on an average hot day, as long as you have air circulating around you.

Hearing Aid Batteries Are Sensitive to Heat

The great majority of hearing aids use button zinc-air batteries. That’s because they are safe, and don’t overheat while charging or discharging like lithium-ion ones.  They absorb and release energy using a chemical process. This process is temperature sensitive too.

A zinc-air battery’s operating life depends on the environment. It dries out faster in high temperature with low humidity. In very humid temperatures the moisture can accumulate inside, eventually flooding the active component and destroying the chemical balance.

A very low temperature, say 0 ºC / 32 ºF can slow the chemical reaction and reduce battery output to the point it no longer powers the electronics. Pretty much the same applies to your auto starter battery which also cranks slower in winter.

Are You Saying I Should Not Wear My Hearing Aids on Hot Days?

No not at all. You asked the question and we’re answering it as best we can. Most Americans are unlikely to experience the high temperatures we mentioned. Let’s just say you should remove your hearing aids if they feel hot behind your ears!

All electronic goods – including computers, phones, hearing aids and other digital devices – work best at temperature ranges humans are happy with too. So you can largely forget what we told you, except the comparison with the family pet.

Could You Fix a Hearing Aid with Heat or Humidity Damage?

In theory yes, but the micro technology makes it economically impractical. If you expose your hearing aids to temperatures that are too hot, the technician will spot the damage and the warranty will no longer apply.

Hearing aids are not heat sensitive inside the range humans enjoy. We make our hearing aids that way because we want you to be able to wear them all day long. All hearing aids are sensitive to heat because they are electronic devices, and that applies equally to the most, and least expensive options.

If you paid $5,000 each – maybe more – for your hearing aids we can’t recommend you wear them in the Mojave Desert because it’s the hottest place on earth. Your insurance won’t cover the heat damage because assessors know what to look for.

Blue Angels digital hearing aids mostly work the same way. If you drop them in boiling water they will never work again. If you leave them in the auto parking lot all day long in summer they may be ruined too.

However, you won’t feel half as bad as you would with more expensive ones from a hearing aid store. That’s because you could purchase a replacement set for $200. And we ship them to most places in the world there’s a regular courier service included in the price.