Does using your earbuds excessively, sharing them, or putting them everywhere harm your ears? On flights, for example, earbuds can end up being contaminated by being everywhere from your carry-on bag to your tray table. They can even be contaminated by being on your desk from home. How clean are earbuds and can they be shared?
Your own earwax is good; it helps clean, protect, and lubricate your ears. It also helps keep debris out of your ears. But someone else’s earwax can introduce new bacteria and infection into your ears, even though the chances are slim.
If you have to share earbuds, disinfect them with rubbing alcohol or disinfecting spray. Use a dampened cotton ball to get rid of any waxy residue and invisible bacteria or get disposable earbud covers.
Offering protection against bacteria, earwax is good. But not with sharing earbuds. It introduces new bad bacteria into the ears and can even cause a yeast infection, according to studies. Even though most of the bacteria is harmless, sharing does increase the chances for fungus, middle ear infections, and swimmer’s ear. So, avoid sharing if possible. Also, simply wearing your own earbuds can trap moisture and heat in the ear canal, breeding bacteria.
Use a cloth to wipe the outer ear canal or use a few drops of ear-cleaning drops to soften or remove wax in your ears, so you can hear better and prevent build-up on your earbuds. You can see a professional about earwax buildup if your ears feel blocked. Stress increases earwax, but jaw movements from eating or talking move the earwax to the outer ear.
For more information, contact your hearing instrument specialist at Pure Sound Hearing Aids.
Just like an oven, your ears are self-cleaning. Really! With the help of earwax, your ears can clean themselves. Earwax forms on the outer one-third of your ear canal, naturally moving to the outer edge with jaw movements, such as chewing or talking. This movements cleans your ears.
Earwax is also believed to contain protective, antibacterial, and lubricating elements. Wax provides a barrier from debris for the eardrum. You might harm the wall of your ear canal or the eardrum by inserting ear-cleaning or wax-removal tools. And without the natural lubricants, your ears can feel dry and itchy.
To clean or not to clean your ears?
According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF), your ears never need to be cleaned. It’s a misnomer that they need to cleaned for hygiene purposes, they suggest. In fact, inserting stuff like cotton swabs or other devices into the ears can be dangerous. You can push earwax down and block the ear canal completely, cause impaction, and/or trauma.
But if you want to clean your ears from earwax buildup, you can use a softening agent once a week. Or, you can schedule with a doctor or hearing instrument specialist. However, if you have diabetes, a weakened immune system, tubes in your ears, or a hole in your ears, do not clean them yourself. Consult a physician.
There are signs revealing excessive buildup. You will experience pain, infection, decreased hearing, itching, and more. Excessive buildup is impaction and includes a plugged sensation, pain, or fullness. You might also experience more coughing, odor, decreased hearing, ringing, or itching. Have an expert use a curette, suction, irrigation, or microscope for earwax removal.
Earwax on hearing aids
Hearing aids may increase your ears’ manufacture of earwax because it can stimulate the glands in the ear canal and block the normal movement of wax from the ear canal to the outer one-third of the ear. Also, earwax can block the inner workings of the hearing aids, reducing performance. See your hearing instrument specialist for a proper cleaning of your hearing aids. Contact Pure Sound Hearing Aids for assistance.
Hearing aids are more and more high-tech every day. Typically you can get 3 to 10 days out of a single hearing aid battery, depending upon how much how much you engage in streaming, use the hearing aids, and get hearing aid maintenance. However, there are steps you can take to maximize the life of your hearing aid batteries.
Here are 10 tips to get more mileage out of your hearing aid batteries:
Hopefully, these 10 tips will be useful to you in maintaining the life of your hearing aid batteries. Contact a hearing instrument specialist at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for any additional information that would useful in preserving your hearing aids.
As it gets warmer out, you might be ready to tackle the dirt and clutter that have amassed over the wintertime. In no time, you will be spring cleaning your basement, purses, wallets, car, and garage. But don’t forget about optimally cleaning your hearing aids, since you wear them every day. Below are ways to sanitize them on a higher level, besides using your normal cleaning routine.
Dehumidify your hearing aids
Rather than just air drying your hearing aids, per usual, go to the next level and dehumidify them once a year, such as in the spring. Water intrusion and sweat can be damaging to the delicate mechanisms inside. Routinely, you probably dry them out by putting them on a towel overnight with the battery compartment open, which is fine. But to extend the life of your hearing aids, use a dehumidifier made specifically for them, instead. Doing so is more effective than just airing them out. Please take note of the list of options for dehumidifiers which are available for hearing aids:
Clean out the dirt buildup and wax
Using a soft cloth to wipe your hearings aids on a daily basis is fine. But do a more thorough cleaning once a year to clear out wax, dust, dirt, and other contaminants. A quick rubdown all the time is not enough. So, use the cleaning kit supplied to you when you bought your hearing aids from your hearing instrument specialist. The tools are:
These tools will help you clean out every tiny opening, like the vents and microphone. Earmolds, if you have them, can be removed and washed, occasionally, in mild, soapy water. Be careful, though; you may need a professional to do this to avoid damage. Day to day, however, the earmolds can be wiped with a soft cloth. If you experience significant earwax buildup, you may need specialized cleaning cloths or tools from your hearing instrument specialist for your kind of hearing aids. If you are unsure, you might need to call a professional hearing instrument specialist for cleanings, instead.
Make a service call
Don’t just dehumidify and thoroughly clean your hearing aids. Also make a service call in spring. Your hearing instrument specialist can look over your hearing aids and see if any maintenance needs to be done beyond your own efforts. The hearing aid specialist can assess whether or not your hearing aids are in good working order. It might include replacing plastic tubing and microphone screens. They can also run an ANSI test to be sure your hearing aids are running up to spec. Such efforts will certainly extend the life of your hearing aids. However, your hearing aids can get so they are near the end of their life-cycle and require replacement. Contact your hearing instrument specialist at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for quality checks on your hearing aid devices.
How to Clean your Hearing Aids
If you have been told you need to wear hearing aids, learning about proper hearing aid care is very important. With proper care, they will last longer and provide you with much better results while you’re using them.
Make Cleaning Your Hearing Aid Part of Your Routine
After the initial consultation and fitting for your hearing aid, how often should you clean it? Ideally, it should be cleaned and checked every day. Taking care of your hearing aid in this manner should become part of your daily ritual. In the same way that you brush your teeth and comb your hair every day, you should be devoting a few minutes to inspecting and cleaning your hearing aid.
Your Hearing Aid Is an Investment
When you buy a hearing aid, you are making a valuable investment in your health.
Average Cost of Hearing Aids
According to an article published on AARP.com, the average price of hearing aids is $4,000-$4,500. This figure represents what you could expect to pay for a pair of mid-level hearing aids.
The cost of the product reflects not only the cost of manufacturing and materials, but also other factors. Advanced microphone and microprocessor upgrades can add to the price significantly and must be professionally fit, programmed, and serviced every 4 to 6 months. Hearing aid cleanings and service follow ups are, many times, included in the price.
Increased Wax Production With Hearing Aid Use
In some instances, the level of wax production increases at around the same time as hearing aid use starts. This is not an uncommon situation.
The presence of the hearing aid in the ear can block the normal movement of wax toward the outer portion of the ear. It can also stimulate the body to produce even more wax than usual, in response to a perceived threat in the ear canal. Since the body is unable to tell the difference between a device that is in place to aid in hearing and an insect or an infection that should be cleaned out of the ear canal, it responds by producing more ear wax to push the “intruder” out.
Earwax becomes impacted when it completely blocks the ear canal. You may not realize you have impacted earwax until you visit a hearing aid specialist or your doctor, or you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
If you have any of these symptoms, make an appointment to see your hearing aid specialist or doctor. They may indicate an issue with ear wax, or could be another health concern that requires treatment. In a case where the symptoms are due to impacted ear wax, your health care professional can discuss appropriate treatment, such as flushing the ear, with you.
How to Clean Your Ears When You Use Hearing Aids
Earwax is a perfectly natural substance, even though it may look unpleasant. The ear canal is self-cleansing, and this thick, waxy material helps to keep it lubricated and free from both bacteria and fungi. The ear wax also provides a defense from water and insects, which may try to invade the ear canal.
Ear wax is formed in the outer part of the ear canal — not in the deep part close to your ear drum. If the ear wax is left undisturbed, it may work its way out of the ear as your jaw moves. All you need to do is to clean the outside of your ears with a washcloth when you bathe or shower to remove any wax that has moved to the opening of the ear canal.
If the ear canal does become impacted, you can use a home ear wax removal kit, available at your hearing aid care provider, to save time and money. Some people produce too much wax, and/or have an ear canal that is small and/or curved, trapping wax and may need to clean regularly.
If you have hearing aids, ear wax can present a problem. The earwax can clog the microphone or the receiver in the unit and make it difficult to hear conversations clearly. If the blockage becomes severe enough, the hearing aids may need to be professionally repaired.
How to Clean Hearing Aids: In-the-Ear Style
If you have been fitted with an in the ear (ITE) style of hearing aid, here are the steps to follow to keep it clean:
Do not use water or solvents when cleaning your hearing aids. Exposure to liquids can damage the interior components. Use a wipe that has been designed for cleaning them, instead, to avoid this type of issue.
The electronics are located directly inside the shell. Ask your provider for information about the best way to clean your set, as well as recommendations for special cleansing and drying sets.
How to Clean Starkey Hearing Aids: Behind-the-Ear Type
To clean a Behind the Ear (BTE) hearing aid, like the Starkey brand, you’ll want to follow these procedures:
Replace the batteries in the compartment but leave the door off open overnight. Taking this step will allow any moisture buildup from the day to evaporate.
Hearing Aid Dehumidifier
As you use your hearing aid, moisture will build up. To deal with this issue, you can purchase a hearing aid dehumidifier. They can be bought at a relatively low cost, and will dry the interior of the hearing aid overnight. With regular use, a dehumidifier may help to extend the life of a hearing aid.
Some rechargeable hearing aids have built in dryers
Tools for Caring for Your Hearing Aids
One discussion you should have with your hearing care professional is about the types of tools you should be using to keep your hearing aids clean and working properly. Don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations about the best type and brands for the hearing aid you’re using. You can buy the correct tools for instrument tools from a hearing aid care provider that carries your product or sometimes online.
Here are some of the most common tools used to keep devices clean and in good working order:
Hearing Aid Cleaning Brush
Hearing aid cleaning brushes are specifically designed to be used with these products. Most designs feature a soft tip brush at one end to gently clean the sound port, faceplate and body of the hearing aid. Some styles are equipped with a magnetic tool to make removing the battery a much easier process during cleaning.
Wire Loop, Ear Hook and Wax Pick
You may find these tools in a kit or sold separately. All of them can be used to remove debris and earwax that may have collected in the speaker ports and vents.
You should be able to obtain a multitool from your ear health care provider. As the name implies, multitools serve more than one purpose. A multitool is usually made up of a hearing aid brush, a loop or a hook, along with a magnetic end to make removing batteries a much easier process for the person operating it.
When to Consult a Professional About Cleaning Hearing Aids
Have a professional clean your hearing aid once or twice per year. If you tend to produce a lot of earwax, have the professional cleaning performed more often. At the visit, your hearing aids will be cleaned using a special vacuuming device or other professional hearing aid cleaning tools. They will also carefully clean the microphone screens, receivers and vents without damaging them.
You may be able to have your hearing aids cleaned and checked on a walk-in basis. If not, schedule an appointment specifically for this purpose.
Hearing Aid Care and Maintenance
Along with regular cleaning, proper care and maintenance could make your hearing aids last for several years. Take good care of them by implementing these strategies.
Avoid Exposing Your Hearing Aid to Water
Even though your heading aids may be marketed as a “water-resistant” product, it doesn’t mean you can keep them in when you’re showering, bathing or swimming without any worries. If the units are accidentally exposed to some water damage, they will probably still function, but you should not make a habit of this type of behavior with them.
Be aware that moisture can collect inside the ear mold tubing simply from condensation as the warmer air from the ear canal moves toward cooler tubing exposed to the air. A tube blower can be used to force moisture out of the tubing after removing it from the air hook.
The Best Way to Store Hearing Aids
To keep hearing aids safe and secure at night, choose a spot where they’ll be out of reach of small children and where pets will not be able to knock them over. You may find that pets are drawn to them due to the human scent, so you’ll have to be creative about finding a spot where pets do not have access to them.
If damage does occur, gather all the components and take them to the person who dispensed them to you right away so they can be examined and repaired or replaced. Don’t try to wear damaged hearing aids, since the damage may have resulted in sharp surfaces, which can lead to irritation in your ears. Damaged hearing aids will not give you the proper level of sound quality, and will be very frustrating to use. You’re better off having them checked and repaired by an expert.
Do you have any questions or concerns about cleaning and caring for your hearing aids? Contact us today, and we would be happy to answer your questions you may have.