Moisture can damage any electronic devices including hearing aids. It is commonly known that rice can ‘rescue’ an electronic device if wetted. Authors of the below-described study researched whether uncooked rice could be used as an efficient equivalent to often expensive moisture removal products. They compared uncooked white rice with seven different silica gel desiccants (four of them were produced and distributed by the same company). Relative humidity of a hearing aid (submerged in water for sixty seconds prior to testing) was tested in a chamber with an implemented Campbell Scientific temperature and relative humidity (RH) sensor and data logger. Sixty seconds may be perceived as a short time, however authors found that RH did not change significantly even if hearing aids were submerged in water for one hour. Two non-functional hearing aids were tested in this study. RH was tested prior and after 15 minutes, 1 hour and 8 hours treatments with different desiccants or uncooked white rice. Although the omnibus test indicated that there were significant differences between eight desiccants, the post-hoc analysis did not confirm any significant difference between rice and other desiccants. The recommended RH to preserve corrosion should be below 30%. For this study only eight hours treatment allowed this criterion to be met. However, even 15 minutes treatment caused over 20% decrease in RH (after eight hours treatment about 60% decrease was observed).
The obtained result may indicate that uncooked rice could be a much cheaper alternative to moisture removal products which may be very useful especially in countries where access to the commercial desiccants is limited.
It would also be interesting to find out how using rice as a desiccant influences the performance of a functional hearing aid which is used on a daily basis.