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Back to Basics – Cleaning Your Hearing Aids

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You have just brought home your new high fidelity amplification system. You want to take care of your investment. You received detailed instructions from your hearing healthcare provider on care and maintenance but what did they say exactly?

Hearing aids are worn in a somewhat inhospitable environment for electronic devices. The ear canal is warm, moist and creates wax and possibly you use sprays, gels or lotions, all of which can get into these complex devices and create weak or distorted sound, limit function or actually cause the hearing aid to appear dead.

Regular cleaning and maintenance are crucial to optimal performance of your devices. Hearing aids come in different styles and sizes. Some are custom and completely in the ear while others are worn over the ear with either a mold or dome in the ear to deliver sound. All should be cleaned and checked daily.

Clean your hearing aids with a soft, dry cloth every day. Do not use water, solvents or other cleaning agents as they may damage the finish or cause damage to the electronics. The new open fit hearing aids that sit on top of the ear with the thin tubes and small domes that go into the ear canal must be checked for wax regularly.

The receiver is often found in the portion of the hearing aid that goes into the ear canal and is covered by a dome. Receivers must be kept clear by using a pick that has a tiny metal loop at the end for scooping out wax or a brush to remove other debris. Simply squeeze the dome to remove wax or take it off entirely and clean the filter below with the pick. Many receivers have a protective filter to prevent wax from going deeper into the receiver and the filters can be either cleaned with the pick to remove wax or replaced as needed depending on how much wax you produce. Additional replacement filters and domes are always available from your practitioner.

Behind-the-ear hearing aids with a tube and a mold can be cleaned by simply using a pick to remove wax from the opening at the end of the mold that goes into the ear. The mold portion can actually be twisted off the hearing aid and cleaned with warm soapy water. Ensure that it is completely dry before reattaching it to the hearing aid.

Microphones are either on the faceplate of custom aids or on the top of behind-the-ear aids and should be kept free of debris and dust by gently brushing on a regular basis. I like to hold the microphones upside down when I’m cleaning them to make sure that any debris falls out and not deeper inside. Some microphones have protective covers but they can still be brushed.

It’s always a good idea to work over a soft cloth to prevent any damage if the hearing aid is dropped while cleaning.

Of course at Living Sounds we are always happy to see you and are only a phone call away to assist with cleaning and checking your hearing aids for you.

Adele Collingwood, BC-HIS
Registered Hearing Aid Practitioner
Board Certified in Hearing Instrument Sciences 

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