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.