Hearing aids help those with auditory problems hear the world around them. But just like any other investment, these devices require special maintenance and care to ensure they continue working properly. Even the best hearing aids on the market will still need to be maintained.
It takes just a few minutes to clean and care for your hearing aids. As tempting as it may be, do not skip this important step. Failure to properly care for your hearing aid can significantly reduce its lifespan and cause you to have to make repairs more often.
Here are some tips on how to care for and maintain your hearing aids.
Cleaning Kit and Supplies
To perform daily or periodical hearing aid care and maintenance, you will need to gather the following supplies:
A Listening Tube: A listening tube allows you to see how well your hearing aid is working. If the sound is clear, you’re in good shape. There should be no breaks in sounds, and you should be on the lookout for feedback, or whistling sounds, inside of the devices.
Battery Tester: Hearing aids typically run on batteries, which will eventually run out of juice. Test your battery regularly to ensure that it’s still working properly.
Dry Kit: Contains silica gel, which absorbs moisture and keeps the hearing aid dry.
Earmold Blower: Blows air into the earmold and tubing to eliminate moisture.
A Drying Container: Dry-aid kits have absorbent beads which eradicate moisture from the device. Batteries should be removed before putting your aids in these containers.
Patients who rely on hearing aids need to practice daily care and maintenance to prolong the life of the aids and keep them working properly. Each day, perform the following maintenance tasks:
- Inspect the hearing aid parts for breaks, cracks and other signs of damage. Analyze the earmold and tube for earwax or moisture damage. Use your blower to remove earwax build-up, and be sure to place your aids in a drying container in between uses.
- Next, check the batteries. Use a battery tester to assess the performance of batteries. To evaluate the lifespan of batteries, you can place a sticker on the calendar indicating the day on which you changed the batteries of your hearing aid.
- Use the listening tube to make sure the sound is clear and the aids are working properly. Make noises and check if the device is responding to them accurately. If you hear any feedback, crackling or static, you may need to have your aids repaired.
Cleaning Your Hearing Aids
From ear wax to moisture vapors, hearing aids are susceptible to the accumulation of liquid and solid substances that can stop them from working properly. It is important to ensure that your hearing aids are kept clean at all times.
Here are some tips:
- You can clean the hearing aid by using Kleenex, wipes or a towel.
- Take care not to wipe anything onto the tubing of the hearing aid.
- When not in use, disconnect the hearing aid by opening the battery case door.
- Store the hearing aid in a dry kit to prevent accumulation of moisture.
- Do not attempt to repair the device on your own.
Tackling Earmold and Earwax Problems
Taking care of the earmold is crucial. Before jumping into the cleaning process, disconnect the earmold by removing the tubing from the ear-hook (ask your audiologist to demonstrate this process to you).
- Wash the earmold with mild detergents or antibacterial cleaning agents.
- It is advised to wash the ear mold at night so that it can dry overnight.
- Use an earmold blower to dry out any moisture present inside the tubing.
- Clean any ear wax plugging the ends of the tube.
- Consult your audiologist for replacement of cracked tubing.
Make it a point to clean your hearing aids every morning to prevent wax build-up.
Tackling Battery Issues
The last thing any patient wants is to have a non-functional hearing device when they need it most. For this reason, battery care is just as important as anything else on this list.
Here’s how to care for your battery:
- Use a battery tester regularly to make sure that your batteries are working properly.
- Buy authentic batteries from reliable brands.
- Zinc-air hearing batteries are the ideal choice when buying hearing aid batteries.
- Discard old batteries in the trash. You can also recycle them.
- Remove the battery sticker minutes before inserting it in the hearing device.
- Once the sticker is removed, let the battery sit in the air to enable complete activation of the battery.
- Always check the expiry date of batteries and buy new ones only.
- Always keep an extra pair of batteries with you at all times.
Tackling Water Issues
Moisture can damage your hearing aid, whether it be from humidity, water, perspiration or condensation.
Here’s how to prevent water issues to keep your hearing aid working properly:
- Store the hearing aid in dry aid kits.
- Use the silica dry kit to get rid of any moisture in the device.
- Avoid accidental water exposure. If you plan to go for a swim or take a bath, remove your hearing aids first. Store your aids in their case, and keep them in a cool, dry place to avoid overheating and condensation build-up.
- Open battery doors at night (storing in drying aid kit) to allow evaporation of moisture if there is any.
- Eliminate any moisture in the aid’s tubing by using the earmold blower. Be sure to remove the tubing from the earhook before using the tube blower.
Avoiding Physical Damage
Physical damage can cause your hearing aids to stop working properly. Severe damage may require repairs or complete replacement.
Here are some tips to help avoid physical damage to your hearing aids:
- Always store your aids in their case when not in use.
- Make sure your aids are out of reach of pets and small children at all times.
- If damage does occur, make an appointment with your audiologist as soon as possible.
- If the case becomes damaged, do not wear your aids. The sharp edges could cause irritation or abrasion to the ear.
- Have tube damage repaired immediately, as it can affect the device’s sound quality.