When you invest in hearing aids, you want them to last. While good hearing aids don’t require much upkeep, they need proper care to avoid repairs and extend their lifespan. Once you receive your new hearing aids, how to care for them becomes the dilemma.
Hearing aids are designed for daily wear, so they’re created to withstand their demands. However, hearing aids are still vulnerable to dirt, moisture, earwax, and impact.
Thankfully, hearing aid maintenance isn’t complicated. This guide explains how to take care of hearing aids so you can rely on them for years to come.
Handling Hearing Aids with Care
Hearing aids are durable but not indestructible. It’s common for hearing aids to become damaged after falling on a hard surface from any height. Hearing aid care begins with always handling your device over soft surfaces or while seated.
The risk of dropping and damaging your hearing aids is highest when you first become accustomed to inserting and removing them. Create a space where a dropped hearing aid would land safely.
When you remove your hearing aid and ready it for cleaning, ensure it’s on a soft surface, such as a clean towel.
Proper Device Cleaning
While your hearing aid should be water resistant, you should never immerse them in water, and always remove your hearing aid before swimming, showering, or taking a bath. In addition, you should take care to avoid getting your hearing aid battery wet.
Wash your hands before removing and cleaning hearing aids. Determining how to clean hearing aids depends on the type of device you use. For example, if you use in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids, you’ll need to focus on cleaning the device’s openings to remove wax buildup, including the microphone ports.
When you brush away debris from the openings of your device, hold the hearing aid to face the holes downward, ensuring loose particles don’t become further lodged inside. You may need to use a wax pick to clear out any dirt that didn’t fall out with a soft brush.
Use a clean, dry cloth to wipe the entire hearing aid and remove debris from its shell casing.
Cleaning the Ear
Hearing aid care also requires caring for your ears. Those who wear hearing aids are likely to have a buildup of earwax or cerumen. Hearing aids stimulate the glands in the ears that produce cerumen, causing them to create more earwax. Additionally, they can block the earwax from naturally drying up and falling out of the ear.
However, regardless of the amount of earwax buildup you experience, you should never use Q-tips or cotton swabs to clean your ear canal. Instead, your audiologist can advise irrigation kits or over-the-counter drops to help manage earwax buildup.
Hearing Aid Cleaning Tools
If you’ve felt overwhelmed with how to clean hearing aids, you probably don’t have the correct tools. Most drug stores and online shops carry tools for hearing aid maintenance. In addition, your audiologist may offer advice on the best tools for your hearing devices.
Often, hearing aid cleaning tools are all-in-one devices that contain a soft brush and a wax pick or loop to allow the removal of wax from holes and crevices. However, you can also buy these items as a separate brush and wax pick or loop.
A stand-alone brush may also have a magnetic battery removal tool attached to make cleaning hearing aids easier.
How Often Should You Clean Hearing Aids?
To make the most of your hearing aid maintenance schedule, clean your hearing aids nightly to keep them from accumulating wax and debris. It’s also important to regularly clean your earwax filter and, for behind-the-ear hearing aids, to soak your ear molds in soapy water about once a week.
How to Properly Store Hearing Aids Overnight
One of the most common reasons for hearing aid damage is improper storage. When your hearing aids are not in use, you should store them in a cool, dry place away from heat or moisture. You can plug in and store your rechargeable hearing aids in the charging station, kept out of a kitchen or bathroom, as they’re often more humid.
Discuss a dehumidifying box with your audiologist if your hearing aids use traditional batteries. When your hearing aids aren’t in use, leave the battery door open and turn your hearing aids off to preserve the battery and reduce moisture buildup.
Taking the time to understand your hearing aids and caring for them properly can significantly extend their lifespan.