Hearing Aid Maintenance Guide
Your hearing aid is a valuable device, not only does it provide the gift of hearing it also contributes to one’s overall wellbeing. Additionally, they can be a significant investment. Therefore, it’s important to provide the maintenance needed to keep them in top working condition.
Unlike most electronics, hearing aids have to operate in conditions that are far from ideal: the inside of your ear canals where they are subjected to earwax and moisture. A combination of regular cleaning which you can perform and routine maintenance from your hearing care professional will provide you with years of reliable hearing.
Tips For Caring For Your Hearing Aids
The Food and Drug Administration recommends that people follow a regular routine for cleaning and maintaining their hearing aid. By doing so you will extend the device’s life span and prevent malfunctions. Here are a few tips to be aware of when caring for your hearing aid:
- Avoid using solvents, alcohol, or water on hearing aids because they can cause damage to the internal electronics of the hearing aid.
- Extreme heat and cold can damage hearing aids, so avoid exposing them to it. For example, leaving them in the sun or in the car, placing them in or near a microwave or conventional oven can all potentially damage them. In the event that the temperature is below freezing. Leave them inside the house instead of stashing them in your coat pocket when you walk to the mailbox to pick up your mail.
- Get the proper tools for cleaning. A wax pick and brush are indispensable tools for at-home cleaning. Earwax can accumulate in the opening at the end of a hearing aid where the sound comes. This can cause a muffled sound or feedback (whistling). If not removed it can eventually damage the receiver. Use the pick and brush to gently clear wax away.
- When not in use, turn off your hearing aids and keep the battery compartment open.
- Establish good habits. Before cleaning your hearing aids, make sure you wash your hands well. During your hygiene routine, leave your hearing aids out. Wash your hair and face without your hearing aids in so water and soap won’t damage them. Put your aids in after you apply hair products like sprays or gels as these can be damaging to your hearing aids.
- Get into a routine of cleaning your device at the end of each day. Cleaning your hearing aids before bedtime gives them several hours to air out before you will put them in again. Avoid wipes with chemicals or alcohol when cleaning hearing aids as they could damage the devices.
- Replace dead batteries immediately.
How to Clean Your Hearing Aids
Follow these cleaning tips for both hearing aid styles, ITE (in the ear) and BTE (behind the ear):
- While cleaning the hearing aid, flip it upside down so any debris dislodged will fall out.
- When changing the battery, brush the battery compartment clean.
Cleaning Your ITE Hearing Device
When cleaning your in-the-ear (ITE) hearing device follow the below steps:
- Using a soft-bristle toothbrush or a brush provided by your hearing healthcare professional gently brush the microphone cover, receiver, and vent openings to remove any wax or debris. Remember to hold the device with the opening face downward so loose debris falls out.
- Next use the wax pick/wire loop to remove stubborn material from the air vent.
- For larger vents, run a vent cleaner carefully through the opening in each direction.
4. Finish by wiping down the entire hearing aid gently with a soft cloth.
Cleaning Your BTE Hearing Device
When cleaning your behind -the-ear (BTE) hearing device and earmold follow the below steps:
- Use a soft brush or dry cloth to remove any debris on the device.
- Remove the earmold from the hook to clean it. Some earmolds, especially those made from soft materials, can become discolored and stained over time. Wiping them clean daily and soaking them in warm, soapy water once each week will help. Let the molds dry overnight before using, and do not use alcohol or other chemicals on them. It is possible for your earmolds to develop a slight odor over time, but a strong odor could indicate you have an ear infection, so you should see a hearing healthcare professional if you notice it.
- Use a bulb blower to force water out of the tubing and then allow it to dry completely overnight.
Hearing Aid Cleaning Tools:
You can purchase these tools online or at most drug stores, but it’s a good idea to consult with your hearing healthcare provider first to determine which tools are best for your hearing aids.
The following tools are commonly used to maintain hearing aids:
- Hearing aid cleaning brush: The soft brush tip end cleans the body, faceplate or sound port of a hearing device. Some brushes have a magnetic battery removal tool to ease daily cleaning of aids.
- Wax pick or wire loop: This tool is designed to help remove wax and other debris safely from hearing aid nooks and holes.
- Multi-tool: These all-in-one tools are versatile because they contain both a brush and a wax loop for thorough cleaning.
When to Take Your Hearing Aid to a Professional
Hearing aids should be professionally cleaned regularly as recommended by your hearing care provider. They have vacuums with specialized attachments that gently suck wax from hard to reach areas, and they know how to safely clean vents, microphone screens, windscreens and receivers.
If it’s time for a professional cleaning or if you have questions on your hearing device, our team at REM Audiology is here to help. Call us today on (888) 710-5734.