Cleaning Your Hearing Aids: A Guide
Upkeep is an important part of owning and maintaining hearing aids. With proper care, your hearing aids can go long periods of time without professional cleanings or repairs. While emergencies and accidents do occur, you can prevent issues by knowing how to properly clean your hearing aids.
Whether you’re still getting the hang of owning hearing aids, or just want to brush up on your cleaning routine, there’s no harm in making sure that you’re taking care of your hearing aids properly. Cleaning hearing aids can seem daunting at first, since many people feel anxious messing with devices that they care about. However, knowing how to clean your hearing aids is something that will feel natural after enough maintenance sessions. If you’re looking for some guidance on how to store and clean your hearing aids, this article will walk you through what you need to know.
Care Tips For Hearing Aids
Like with every electronic device, there are some general care tips you should know. Obvious things like “avoid contact with water” and “handle carefully” are a given, but hearing aids are small, delicate devices that require mindfulness. Here are some things you should know about owning hearing aids.
- Don’t set them down in the bathroom or kitchen. These are places that see a lot of action and liquids, so it’s best that you don’t stash them there, even for a moment. It only takes a second for them to get swept into the sink or covered with water.
- Avoid using hairspray or hair products while wearing your hearing aids. If you regularly use hairspray or hair gel, try to find another alternative. The gunky spray can build up inside your hearing aids and cause problems.
- Keep them away from pets and children. Pets and infants can easily swallow or chew on hearing aids, and older children might break or misplace them. It’s best to keep your hearing aids in a place that the pets and kids can’t touch.
- Replace your batteries often. This goes double if you live in a cold climate. Disposable batteries run out quickly, especially if you have a hearing aid with many features. Make sure to carry backup batteries with you and replace them as soon as they go dead.
- Turn off your hearing aids and remove the batteries when you’re not using them. This will save power and allow the battery compartment to air out. If you use rechargeable hearing aids, you don’t have to worry about this as much.
The Importance of Regular Ear Cleaning
Before we get into cleaning your hearing aids, it’s important to touch on the importance of keeping your ears clean, too. Your hearing aids go into your ears, which is where they pick up earwax and skin debris. If you look after your ears, cleaning your hearing aids will be much easier. The stimulation of your hearing aids inside your ear can also cause more earwax production, so you’ll want to clear it away to avoid buildup and blockages.
While many people clean their ears using q-tips, this is actually unsafe and not recommended. Instead, use the swab to gently brush around the entrance of your ear, and wipe your outer ear clean with a wet rag. This will get rid of any earwax that has worked its way to the surface of your ear. If you are prone to blockages, speak to your doctor about a professional ear cleaning.
How to Clean ITE Hearing Aids
Hearing aid wearers with in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids have a different cleaning routine than those with behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids. While a hearing aid professional can give you a demonstration of the process, here is an online guide to help you clean your ITE hearing aid.
- Find the openings on your hearing aid, and check for any earwax or debris buildup.
- Facing the openings downward, gently brush at your hearing aid with a small hearing-aid brush or unused toothbrush. Holding your hearing aid face-down will prevent the loose particles from getting stuck inside the openings.
- Next, use the small hook or wax-pick included in your hearing aid cleaning tools. Clear out the holes, and make sure to dislodge any debris so it won’t become stuck inside.
- Finally, wipe down your hearing aid with a clean cloth.
How to Clean BTE Hearing Aids
Behind-the-ear hearing aids have a similar cleaning process, but the design of the hearing aid changes things somewhat. Many people with BTE hearing aids also have additional tools to keep their hearing aids in fit shape.
- Use a soft brush to remove any wax or dry skin from the outer casing of your hearing aid.
- Remove the earmolds from your hearing aid. This is the part that goes inside your ear, so it requires the most cleaning. Wipe these down, and make sure to soak them in soapy water from time to time. This will prevent discoloration and deterioration. Just make sure the earmolds are completely dry before putting them back on your hearing aid.
- A bulb blower can be used to force air out of the tubing of your hearing aid. Water inside the tubing can cause issues, so try to get as much of it out as possible. It is recommended that you buy a dehumidifier to ensure dryness, but if you don’t have one, simply set out your hearing aids overnight.
Storing Hearing Aids
Hearing aid storage is arguably the most important part of hearing aid ownership. If you store your hearing aids in an unsafe environment, you’re asking for trouble. This might come in the form of extreme wear and tear, accidents, or simply losing them. If you don’t already have a hearing aid storage case, it’s recommended that you buy one. Dehumidifiers can also serve as a safe place to store your hearing aids.
Wherever you put them, make sure it’s far from sunlight, extreme temperatures, and any pets or children that might get into them. Some people even keep their hearing aids in sock drawers or jewelry boxes when they’re not in use. Your storage location might be on a dresser or in a nightstand, but it doesn’t really matter as long as they’re safe and easy-to-find.
Hearing aid care is a diverse topic, and there’s a lot more to learn. If you’re interested in being notified about future hearing-care articles, the Signia newsletter will keep you updated on new hearing aids, aural health, and hearing loss content.