What are the differences between Dry Brik and Metal Can for storing hearing aids and implants?

Dry Brik is a very efficient desiccant that removes organic odours as well as moisture however when spent it cannot be regenerated by heating in an oven. The metal can desiccant is less aggressive and does not remove organics; when the crystals change colour they can be reactivated by heating in the oven at 105–150C for 2 hours. Heat and moving air within a sealed compartment make the drying process more effective and quicker. Dry & Store also has a UV lamp killing 99% of common bacteria found in the external ear canal, scalp and hair. Most electronic devices benefit from Dry & Store treatment – some users put their mobile phones in as well as hearing devices.

I was given a Dry Store Kit when I was switched on and used it nightly for my processor. Others use the Siemens Replacement Drying Capsules in an airtight carry case. What is the difference between these drying procedures?

It doesn't matter how it's done, as long as something is done to extend the life of your hearing device. The key is to make sure it isn't just left to lie on the bedside table or dresser. The Dry Store Kit is the 5 star treatment, with the light to kill to bacteria from earmoulds and the fan to draw out moisture. Or you could chose a simple air-tight container with a capsule of silica gel which works very well (and isn't as noisy for a sleeping partner if you want to keep it next to you rather than in another room). You do need to be vigilant that the silica crystals are still darkly coloured and moisture absorbent. The cost of each method is a personal issue, as there are disposable and reusable options for the crystals. It is worth remembering that the new CP810 processor with its shiny coating should not be exposed to the light in the Dry Aid Kit. It is a matter of simply removing the light bulb and using it as usual. Silica crystals are active when blue.

 

The “conventional wisdom” is to take the batteries out of your hearing aid or cochlear implant before putting the device into the Dry&Store. But I have found items on the internet claiming that batteries should in fact be put in the Dry&Store and indeed that battery life is actually increased. I’ve also heard people say that spent cochlear implant batteries kept for a while or overnight in the Dry&Store can be used again for a few hours and can even power low current devices like LED torches for some time.  Are any or all of these claims true?

Dry and Store is an electrical appliance intended for use every night for the care and maintenance of hearing instruments of all types. Dry & Store's patented process combines gentle heat with a super-absorbent desiccant to completely remove damaging moisture. When Dry & Store was first introduced in 1997, the protocol was to remove batteries when placing hearing aids in the conditioning unit. However, comments from users who “admitted” they had not removed their batteries seemed to notice longer battery life. In 1998, Energizer conducted tests and found that leaving batteries in hearing aids during Dry & Store conditioning actually helped extend battery life. In 2003, an interview with the Zinc Air Technical Manager at Rayovac, published in Audiology Online also acknowledged the benefit of leaving batteries in hearing aids during the drying process when their aids are used in high humidity conditions. Dry & Store users have continued to report dramatic increases in battery life, possibly due to the combination of functions – drying the hearing aids as well as drying the batteries: greater efficiency of the electronics when not impeded by moisture, improved battery contact points due to corrosion prevention, and simply because it takes less energy to drive a dry hearing aid than one that has diaphragms saturated with moisture. The bottom line: the “generally accepted practice” relative to removal of zinc air batteries is reversing its course which is good news for hearing aid users who no longer have to fumble with tiny batteries to remove them prior to condition.

I think it is a good idea to have an up-to-date record of any auditory processing deficits you may have.
Being the link between the sounds we hear, and our understanding of the meaning of the sound, auditory processing skills are an important aspect of a student’s learning experience. The good news is that most universities now offer many resources that will assist students with hearing or listening difficulties. Recorded lectures, for example, are now widely employed across faculties and allow the student to listen to lecture content in quiet and at their own pace. There is also a greater move towards interactive online course content

that you may find beneficial. Adult auditory processing assessments are not offered as commonly as those for children, but are available. I recommend you contact your local audiologist. As it is a specialised service you may need to make a few enquiries before you find a practice able to help. Your audiologist may also be able to recommend assistive strategies or a rehabilitation program to strengthen your auditory processing skills. Adult auditory processing assessments are offered at the University of Melbourne Audiology clinic (www.umac. org.au). This includes a comprehensive assessment of the skills required for effective listening to speech, particularly in noisy environments. Your Disability Liaison Unit will require a full report, so make sure that is included in the assessment when you are making your enquiries. 

There is no actual dollar amount that the voucher covers because there are a range of services and devices that are covered under the Commonwealth Government Hearing Services program. There is a very wide range of ‘free-to-client devices’ that can be fitted to a client that range from small in the ear devices to bone conduction aids and body aids, all of which have different costs but all of which are covered by the voucher.Some clients will need 2 hearing devices and others will need 1 and this will also impact on the cost.Different hearing service providers will be able to purchase devices from the manufacturer at different prices depending on their contracts, volume fitted and other factors. Some clients will need many appointments to be a successful device user, others will manage their device independently very quickly. The important thing is to find a qualified and experienced clinician who you trust to provide you with the best advice.

While a standard hearing clinic receives funding from the government to supply you with hearing aid batteries and parts for hearing aids, they cannot access the additional funding that Australian Hearing receives for complex clients such as cochlear implant wearers. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that a standard hearing provider will be able to subsidise your cochlear implant parts and batteries. You are under no obligation to transfer to Australian Hearing, but people who have a cochlear implant and meet the following criteria are eligible to receive services from the Australian Hearing Cochlear Implant Support Program.The criteria are: under 26 years of age and an Australian citizen or permanent resident, or an adult who meets the eligibility criteria for the Australian Government Hearing Services program and has a valid Hearing Services Card (the cost for this card is currently $40.53 per year or free for some eligible Department of Veterans Affairs card holders). If you meet these criteria, Australian Hearing subsidises the cost of batteries required for your processor. This is useful as these higher voltage batteries are more expensive than your standard hearing aid batteries. They will also subsidise the cost of replacement parts - cables, coils, microphone cover replacements, battery units and dry briks for your drying unit. If you qualify for a Hearing Services Card, the yearly fee is minimal if you consider that by using standard disposable batteries you will be paying $300 to $500 to power your processor. In addition, if a cable or coil/cable combination breaks down you would be paying about $90 to $470 to have it replaced. If a battery unit broke down (such as a BTE controller) it could be an additional $500. All parts except for the processor normally only have a 12-month warranty. The dry briks required for drying units (such as the Zephyr or Breeze devices) cost about $18 for a pack of 3 with each brik lasting around 2 months. (It is highly recommended that you place your processor in a drying unit to help prevent moisture damage).

If your processor is out of warranty (3-year warranty for Cochlear Ltd and Advanced Bionics processors and 5-year warranty for Med-El processors), it can cost somewhere between $300 to $400 to have it repaired.As a client of Australian Hearing these repair costs would be fully subsidised. You can see how costs can easily accumulate especially once your parts and processor are out of warranty. The Australian Hearing program is very generous and we are fortunate here in Australia that people who are on a pension or are under 26 years of age receive so much support. If you don't qualify for Australian Hearing's services, at least later processor models have the option of rechargeable battery units that can help diminish your power consumption costs. Whether or not you are on a pension, if you lose your processor or it is damaged beyond repair outside the warranty period, Australian Hearing will not replace the unit for you. So, it is strongly recommended that you insure your external speech processor at its replacement value.

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