Hearing aids can do so much to improve your quality of life. They can motivate you to return to social environments, help stave off dementia and Alzheimer’s and prevent falls, along with so much more. They can make your life and the lives of those around you more comfortable, so you and your family don’t have to yell to hear each other or argue over the volume of the television. However, if you do not properly clean, care for, and maintain your hearing aids, their effectiveness may wane or they may stop working altogether.
Here is a quick guide to hearing aid care and maintenance to help you keep your hearing aids in tip-top shape for years to come.
How to Clean Your Hearing Aids
Most hearing aids come with a cleaning tool, typically one with a brush on one end and a wire on the other. It’s important to brush the dome of your hearing aid (the part that goes in your ear) and the microphone (typically found on the body of the hearing aid under or near the base of the tubing) on a daily basis to get rid of any dust, earwax, dirt, oil (from your hair), or other debris that can muffle the sound coming through your hearing aid or cause feedback (whistling). It is best to do this at the end of the day as part of your evening routine.
You should also clean your hearing aid tubes regularly with the wire tool. Start by removing the tubes from the body of the hearing aid. Then, insert the wire through the base of the tubing so that it comes out of the dome (the other end). Wipe the end of the wire clean before pulling it back through the tube, and then wipe it down again. Repeat this step as necessary until the tubing is clean.
Hearing Aid Maintenance
Like a car, there are several working parts that make a hearing aid work, and practicing good hearing aid maintenance will keep your aids running at optimum performance. Every three months, you should replace the domes and tubing of your hearing aids, as these do eventually wear out.
Be sure to replace the battery in your aids if the sound is weak, intermittent, or gone altogether (how long the battery lasts depends on your hearing aid’s style and how you use it). You may also want to rotate or flip the controls on the hearing aid every few days or so (probably not while it’s in your ear) to clear any dust or lint that may have gotten caught in the controls.
If you have issues with sound distortion or feedback (whistling), you should try lowering the volume. You may also need to adjust the position of the hearing aid, as it may not be inserted properly. If you continue to experience the issue, you may need a different dome or tube due to a blockage or your desired settings. Or you may just need to clean away any wax or debris.
How to Care for Your Hearing Aids: General Tips
Wondering what steps you can take to keep your hearing aids in peak working condition? Know the dos and don’ts of protecting them:
- DO store in a cool, dry place with the battery compartment open.
- DO remove your battery if you are not using your hearing aid for a long period of time in order to prevent corrosion.
- DO use a hearing aid dehumidifier overnight to remove any trapped moisture (such as sweat or oils from your hair).
- DO avoid physical shock to your hearing aid, such as dropping it or stepping on it.
- DO NOT expose your hearing aids to excess moisture.
- DO NOT use your hearing aids in the rain.
- DO NOT wash your hearing aids with water.
- DO NOT swim with your hearing aids on.
- DO NOT use your hearing aids while in the shower.
- DO NOT use hair spray while wearing your hearing aids
- DO NOT expose your hearing aids to excess heat.
- DO NOT use a hair dryer while wearing your hearing aids.
- DO NOT let your hearing aids go through the dryer.
- DO NOT leave your hearing aids out in the sunlight for long periods.
With these simple tips, you should be able to protect your hearing aids from that could damage or impede their effectiveness.