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For some unknown reason to me hearing aids require dehumidifying. The humidity somehow very significantly interferes with the microphones and other electronics. Daily dehumidifying stops the interference. Does humidity play a role in tablet, phone and other small devices glitches? If so how large? Will a dehumidifying fix increase electronic device reliability?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Is it your impression that a hearing aid left out on a desk in the open air would be absorbing moisture from the air? Surely its far more likely that it would be absorbing moisture from sweat during use? \$\endgroup\$
    – brhans
    Commented Apr 8, 2015 at 19:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @brhans humidity is a function of environment. the rate of absorption while attached would be greater but when not attached it is not negative and depending on the environment may be positive. \$\endgroup\$
    – user37675
    Commented Apr 8, 2015 at 19:58

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I'm not sure why OP is getting downvoted as their question has been generalized for all electronics.

Humidity does indeed play an important role in general electronics manufacturing. Thermal and humidity testing is something all automotive and mil-spec rated electronics go through. Weather it's corrosion, short circuits or material deformation, the effects are real and difficult to predict even when an integrated circuit lists a certain rating.

When it comes to phones, tablets and other commercial devices, most are not rated for extreme conditions. It's easy to watch a phone's battery life drop when you take it skiing and then later see it turn itself off from over temperature because your phone stand is right on top of the air vent in your car.

For various cost and availability reasons, commercial products don't care to test around those corners and assume the user will be in a normal environment. In many cases, it's easier for them to build a watertight enclosure instead of get the circuits to work in those conditions. This applies to hearing aids, internal ear monitors and other wearables.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ OP was discussing consumer devices in standard use cases. And while manufacturers do absolutely control the humidity of products in storage, once assembled, many don't have humidity controls after that point, beacuse it no longer matters. Your phone died while skiing because it died. Humidity won't cause a BSOD unless there is actual water inside the device. \$\endgroup\$
    – user39962
    Commented Apr 12, 2015 at 23:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ A hearing aid that breaks its seal is no longer a standard use case. A phone below 10 degrees C is no longer standard commercial environment. Perhaps you are lucky, but my experience certifying products has indeed caused parts to fail corner testing. \$\endgroup\$
    – lm317
    Commented Apr 12, 2015 at 23:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ I understand what you are saying. But hearing aids are frequently dehumidified not because the seal broke, but to remove liquid obstruction from the sound channels. Standard use case consumer devices do not benefit from scheduled desiccation. \$\endgroup\$
    – user39962
    Commented Apr 12, 2015 at 23:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ahh good to know. I've never had that problem with my IEM's as the liquid typically stays outside or wicks outside the ear. That's unfortunate that liquid obstructions are a part of normal operation. \$\endgroup\$
    – lm317
    Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 0:15
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Hearing aids are the proverbial ten pounds of crap in a five pound bag; lots of electronics in a tiny package. The enclosure, being plastic or silicone, doesn't absorb moisture. It is placed in a crevice on the human body. As the user sweats, moisture will start to accumulate, and cause the problems mentioned.

This is not the case for the handheld devices mentioned. Their normal use case puts them in the user's hand. If they are not in the user's hand, they are in a case, pocket, on a desk, etc. Excessive sweat will only be a problem when it gets to the point where the device is physically wet. Your average glitch in these types of devices is much more likely to be the result of a software problem.

Moisture in the air is not going to cause problems for either device.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Like guns hearing aids collect moisture from the air \$\endgroup\$
    – user37675
    Commented Apr 7, 2015 at 6:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ +1. I was going to post an answer, but, really this is the answer to the question asked. @caseyr547, the only situations in which ambient moisture will become a problem are when users make poor choices, like leaving a relatively cool cell phone in the bathroom while they take a scalding hot shower. After such an incident, a water damage repair may be necessary to clear ionic trails left in the device. And I have personally had to repair devices damaged by, well, sweaty people. \$\endgroup\$
    – user39962
    Commented Apr 8, 2015 at 23:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SeanBoddy ok so 100% humidity at what degree damages phones? Sometimes my part of the states is very humid and it gets pretty warm too. \$\endgroup\$
    – user37675
    Commented Apr 9, 2015 at 1:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @caseyr547, that's a question for physics.se. It would involve the condensation of water in warmer air passing over a cooler device, and the answer would depend on specific variables unique to the situation. \$\endgroup\$
    – user39962
    Commented Apr 9, 2015 at 1:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's another thing that doesn't matter for practical purposes, unless you like to store your phone in the refrigerator overnight. \$\endgroup\$
    – Matt Young
    Commented Apr 9, 2015 at 1:52

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