How to Care forYour Hearing Aids
You bought your hearing aids a few months ago and now they seem to be on the fritz. Don’t be alarmed. Chances are they just need some routine professional care.
The inner ear canal is 100 percent humid and remains a constant 98 degrees. Earwax is a combination of salt and corrosive body acids. These conditions are harmful to electronics. But with proper care and cleaning, you will not only help keep your hearing aids functioning properly and prevent the need for repeated repairs, but you will also prolong the life of your hearing aids.
Here are a few tips on taking care of your hearing aids:
Invest in a hearing aid dehumidifier: An absolutely indispensable investment, a dehumidifier helps dry out the digital circuitry inside your hearing aids. Hearing aids tend to easily gather moisture—sweat from around the ear, earwax or humidity in your environment. Don’t forget to remove your hearing aids before hitting the sheets and place them in the dehumidifier (remove batteries first). Dehumidifiers don’t cost a bundle and they can add years of useful life to your hearing aids. They will also reduce the need for repairs as moisture build up is a common reason hearing aids are sent to the manufacturer for repair.
Clean away ear wax: Ear wax, along with moisture, is a common reason hearing aids are sent in for repair. Ear wax as well as dirt and grime can work its way into hearing aids (particularly custom in-the-ear hearing aids) and can gum up the circuitry, clog the hearing aid speaker or microphone, and cause less than peak performance. The first step when hearing aids are removed should be to wipe down the outside casing with a soft cloth to remove any wax, debris or oils. Often times, wax is simply on the outer casing and can be wiped away. Earmolds can be removed from the hearing aids and cleaned with a mild soap solution. Dry them carefully using a forced air blower (not a hair dryer). Be sure they are dry before reattaching them to the hearing aids. With proper care and cleaning you can reduce the negative effects of earwax on your hearing aids. Clean the hearing aid’s microphone screens: Some of the problems that may occur with debris-filled microphone covers are decreased overall volume and decreased directional microphone effectiveness. If your hearing aid’s microphones are clogged with debris, they won’t pick up the sounds around you clearly. To clean your microphone screens, first wipe away any obvious debris or earwax from the microphone area. Then check to see if the screen covering your microphone appears to be clogged. Although earwax is not as likely to plug microphones, it can be a factor for wearers who use completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing aids as they are fit deeper within the ear canal. If there appears to be debris within the microphone screen, make an appointment to see your hearing professional
as they can either clean the microphone screen with safe cleaning tools and/or replace the screen in office.
Replace BTE hearing aid tubing: All BTE hearing aids connect to some sort of earmold by way of plastic tubing. Over time this soft flexible tubing can crack or become hard, which affects the acoustical effectiveness of the tubing. In other words, the sound may be muffled and you could possibly experience whistling. If the tubing between the earmold and BTE hearing aid appears to have hardened or is discolored (yellowish) it is time to see your hearing professional for a quick tubing change.
Use wax caps: Many hearing aid manufacturers utilize wax caps that snap into the end of ITE hearing aids. If earwax is a problem for you, this may be an ideal solution. These plastic caps pop off for easy cleaning and keep earwax from reaching the hearing aid speaker resting at the edge of the wearer’s ear canal. Discuss this option with your hearing professional.
Practice good ear hygiene: If earwax build-up is a problem, purchase an over-the-counter ear cleaning kit that contains a wax softener. Do not use cotton buds as you will only end up pushing the wax deeper inside the ear canal. Ideally visit an audiologist or physician for safe earwax removal.
Air out your hearing aids: If you have not purchased a hearing aid dehumidifier yet, be sure you to pop open the casing doors of your hearing aids. This natural air-drying method keeps circuits running smoothly, and lets your hearing aids dry out overnight. Plus, it saves on battery life.
Avoid extreme heat or cold: Hearing aids are sensitive to extreme heat and cold temperatures. That does not mean you have to rely on weather reports to wear them. Try to not let snow touch your hearing devices when your skiing or playing sports or doing outdoor activities like snow blowing. Likewise, don’t leave your hearing aids sitting in the car or on the porch exposed to the sun in the summer.
Check batteries: Batteries should last about 1 or 2 weeks. Using a battery tester, check that the batteries are at full strength so that the hearing aids are working at peak performance. Always keep spare batteries.
Hearing aids should be checked by a hearing healthcare professional every 4 to 6 months. A thorough cleaning and visual inspection will help you with routine maintenance. Your audiologist may also do a listening check at this appointment or run the hearing aids through diagnostic procedures to ensure that the units are working appropriately. If you are needing maintenance to your hearing aids, call Better Hearing and Balance at 479-657-6464 for an appointment. Our office provides walk-in service for patients also, and we can also service hearing aids during the day while you are running errands. For more information, see our website at