The 10 Best Hearing Aid Dryers
A Brief History Of Hearing Aids
Being unable to hear is no longer quite the handicap it once was, and those afflicted can lead full lives, often with others being none-the-wiser.
In the early years of humanity, losing your hearing could be extremely dangerous, and maybe even fatal. After all, if you couldn't hear that saber-toothed tiger sneaking up on you, you could end up as his lunch.
Unfortunately, for a long time the only recourse available was to cup your hand to your ear and yell, "Huh?" It would be this way until about the 13th century C.E., when the hard of hearing were given hollowed out animal horns to use as assistive listening devices.
About five centuries later, the first ear trumpets came along; these were funnel-shaped horns that directed noise directly to the eardrum. They did nothing to amplify the sound, however, and they were extremely bulky and cumbersome to lug around.
A new invention came along in 1876, however, that would require a complete re-thinking of listening devices: the telephone. Since the technology in the receiver allowed for control of the volume and frequency of the sound, it was also capable of amplifying those sounds for those who needed it.
The first person to capitalize on this was a man named Miller Reese Hutchison, who created an electric hearing aid called the Akouphone in 1898. This device used a carbon transmitter that enabled it to be portable, but the transmitter was a large, bulky box that wasn't much easier to carry than an old-fashioned trumpet.
Vacuum-tube hearing aids came along in 1920, the brainchild of a Navy engineer. These weighed a mere seven pounds, so they were easier to carry around.
When transistors were invented in 1948, they quickly replaced vacuum tubes, as they were smaller, needed less power, and weren't as hot or likely to produce distortion. They were quickly used in hearing aids, and just as quickly, a serious problem was discovered: moisture ruined the transistors.
The problem was solved with the creation of silicon models in 1954, but the time of transistors was drawing to a close regardless. Integrated circuits were introduced by Texas Instruments four years later, and they dominated the market for the next 20.
Engineers recognized the value of computers for improving hearing as early as the 1960s, but the giant size of mainframes back then made them impractical. However, when the microprocessor hit the scene in the 1970s, everything changed.
Digital hearing aids first became commercially available in 1987, with the first behind-the-ear model debuting two years later. Hearing aids just kept getting smaller and more powerful, and soon in-ear models began to be offered, many of which were virtually invisible to observers.
Today, the hard of hearing have an assortment of options to choose from, and some can even wirelessly stream music and television. Being unable to hear is no longer quite the handicap it once was, and those afflicted can lead full lives, often with others being none-the-wiser.
Even better, it gives you a ready-made excuse for your selective hearing.
The Importance Of Keeping Your Hearing Aids Dry
Wearing hearing aids shouldn't dictate your entire life. Unfortunately, certain activities like swimming or even playing sports could cause your earpieces to get wet — and electronics don't react very kindly to getting wet.
You should dry them off every time you take them out, and disinfect them regularly.
The worst thing that can happen is that your hearing aids will become completely wrecked, but that shouldn't happen unless you forgot to take them out before taking a dip in the ocean.
What's more likely to happen is that the receiver will become clogged, dampening the sound you're able to hear. Another possibility is that the reception will be plagued with static, or even intermittent power issues.
Keep in mind that moisture is a breeding ground for bacteria as well. If you let your earpieces stay wet — and you never clean the earwax off — it can lead to infections. Hearing aid users are especially susceptible, as the earpieces can compact the wax and force it deep into the canal.
You should dry your hearing aids off immediately if they got soaked accidentally, such as after strenuous exercise or walking home in the rain. If you don't have a dedicated dryer, then wipe them off with a towel and then dry them with a hairdryer or fan.
Don't wait until it's an emergency, though. You should dry them off every time you take them out, and disinfect them regularly.
Tips For Taking Care Of Your Hearing Aids
Prescription hearing aids can be expensive (and over-the-counter models aren't exactly cheap), so it behooves you to take care of yours.
We've already covered the importance of avoiding water, but dirt, hairspray, and makeup are all also capable of fouling up their operation. Each of these can clog up the microphone, rendering the device useless, so make sure your hands are clean before you handle yours.
Hopefully this goes without saying, but don't try to do any repairs yourself.
Store them someplace secure as well (and again, a dryer makes an excellent storage solution). You don't want them left where kids or pets can find them — and dogs especially are drawn to them, due to the high-frequency sounds they emit.
When you're not actively using them, turn them off to prolong their lifespan. Similarly, remove the batteries whenever you clean or dry them.
Hopefully this goes without saying, but don't try to do any repairs yourself. Take them to a professional — and if you're smart, you'll visit the professional before something goes wrong. Regular maintenance can go a long way to ensuring that you're always able to hear.
Hearing aids are relatively hassle-free, and if you take care of yours, they can give you years of faithful service. Or you can mistreat them, and we can force you to go back to using old-fashioned ear trumpets, just to teach you a lesson.