Simple Hearing Aid Maintenance Tips and Tricks
It is recommended that you visit your hearing health care professional about once every six months to have your hearing aids professionally cleaned. But what can you do in between your visits to the clinic to keep your hearing aids working optimally?
Here are some of the ways you can prevent the most common causes of hearing aid issues at home with a few quick tips and reminders:
Ear Wax Build-up
The most common culprit of hearing aid repairs is due to cerumen or ear wax. The ear canal contains not only the solid or soft components of ear wax, but also vapour that can migrate deep into the hearing aid where it can become solid and settle on critical mechanical components. It is recommended to use a soft cloth or cleaning brush (you can get one from your clinician) to use on your hearing aid to keep the microphones and receiver clean from debris. It is not recommended to use tissue, as tissue can contain aloe or lotions.
Many hearing aids today have ‘wax filters’ that generally need to be changed on a monthly basis, and every manufacturer has a special tool to help you do this. There are many different styles of hearing aids, and since the cleaning from one style to the other can change, it is best to schedule an appointment with your hearing health care provider to help clean them. It is recommended and important to clean your aids regularly.
Exposure to Moisture
Any exposure to water, humidity, condensation or perspiration can cause serious damage to a hearing aid. Today, many hearing aids are designed to be highly water (hydrophobic) and oil (oleophobic) resistant. Unfortunately, because of the nature of the design of today’s hearing aids, it is difficult to protect hearing aids from all oil and moisture hazards. However, there are certain measures you can take to help safeguard against the build-up of moisture that can lead to your hearing aids getting damaged. For example, you can prevent accidental exposure to moisture by leaving your hearing aids in a case as well as a different room before you shower. You would be surprised how many people have accidently worn their hearing aids in the shower! Also, the bathroom can have a more humid environment, so it is best to not store them there.
When you go to sleep at night, be sure to open the battery door fully. This not only preserves your battery life but also allows air circulation through the hearing aid. Ideally, it is also recommended that you store your hearing aids in a dehumidifier. They are relatively inexpensive and help to draw out moisture from your hearing aid at night while you are sleeping. For those who perspire more and lead an active lifestyle, there are more aggressive dehumidifiers available that your hearing health provider can recommend. If you ever drop your hearing aid in water, immediately open the battery door and make an appointment to see your clinician to check it for damage.
To avoid physical damage to the hearing aid, store your hearing aids in a safe place, out of reach of small children and pets. Animals tend to be drawn to our scent, and we have often seen chewed up hearing aids in our clinic from a client’s cat or dog. If your hearing aid has been chewed or is in pieces, collect all the pieces you see, put them in your container, and see your clinician right away.
Danielle De Roose, BC-HIS
Board Certified in Hearing Instrument Sciences
Registered Hearing Aid Practitioner