You have invested a significant amount into your hearing aids, making them last should be a priority. Cleaning and maintaining your hearing aids at home is critical to improving their performance as well as increasing their longevity. To help encourage my patients to get the most out of their hearing aids, I have put together some basic guidelines for cleaning and maintaining your hearing aids. Before getting started, it will be helpful to review the parts of a hearing aid and gather what you need to clean your hearing aids.
Tools You Need to Clean Hearing Aids
Before purchasing the tools you need, it is a good idea to check with your hearing aid provider for a complete list of suggested tools or cleaning kits they might have available. The most common tools for cleaning hearing aids include:
- A Cleaning Brush. Some brushes include a magnetic battery removal tool for some extra assistance. If you do not have a hearing aid brush, use a soft-bristle toothbrush.
- Wax Pick or Wire Hook. Used for removing earwax and other built-up debris from nooks and holes.
- Multi-Tool. Rather than trying to keep up with the various tools a multi-tool as all that you need.
- Bulb Blower (optional). Bulb blowers are available among camera and photographic equipment.
Cleaning ITE (in the ear) Model Hearing Aids
Use the following steps to clean ITE model hearing aids:
- Look for the openings in the device, such as the microphone ports. Hold the opening so that it is facing downward and use the brush to clear away built-up earwax and debris, which will help it fall out rather than getting lodged inside.
- Follow the first step by using the wax pick or wire hook to clean out any debris that did not come clear using the brush.
- Finish the cleaning process by wiping the entire device with a clean, dry cloth or tissue to remove any remaining debris from the casing of your hearing aid.
Cleaning BTE (behind the ear) Model Hearing Aids
Cleaning BTE hearing aids and their earmold are slightly different and include the following steps:
- A thorough examination of your device will reveal any debris that you can remove with the brush or a dry cloth and follow the same tips for ITE models.
- Detach the earmold from the hook to clean it separately. Be aware; the various earmolds made from soft materials may discolor or stain over time. Daily cleaning or soaking in warm, soapy water can help reduce this, but be sure to let them dry overnight before using them. DO NOT use alcohol or harsh chemicals for cleaning. If you note a strong odor, consult your hearing healthcare provider, as this could be an indicator of an ear infection.
- If you see water or wetness inside tubes or other parts of your device, use a bulb blower to force it out, and then allow the unit to dry overnight.
Additional Care Tips for Hearing Aids
You can significantly increase longevity and facilitate cleaning and maintenance by following some additional, essential care tips, including:
- Avoid Moisture. Leave your hearing aids out while performing hygiene, using a sauna, a swimming pool, or at the beach. If you live in an area of high humidity, it is a pretty good idea to invest in a dehumidifier. Also, avoid sprays and gels from hair care products, which can damage the units.
- Clean Daily at the End of the Day. Not only will cleaning them at the end of the day give you a much-needed break, but it allows them plenty of time to dry. Additionally, daily cleaning makes the task easier each time.
- Avoid Extreme Temperatures. Shoveling the walk-in below freezing temperatures should be done without your hearing aids due to the risk of moisture from condensation. Be careful about placing your hearing aids on the dashboard of your car on a hot summer day or in other locations where high temperatures can damage them.
When Should You Take Your Hearing Aids to a Professional?
Standard hearing aid maintenance and cleaning are simple enough for anyone, but there are times when maintenance requires professional care. Those occasions include difficulty in removing wax or debris from nooks and holes in your hearing aids, or if you notice cracks in the case, tubing defects, or loose wires. Rather than causing further damage through force or “rigging” something, take them to a professional who has the parts, tools, and know-how to do things right and prolong the life of your hearing aids.
Regular cleaning and maintenance of your hearing aids improve their performance as well as their longevity. Protect your investment through regular, proper cleaning or seek some professional help if you’re struggling. The team at Acadian Hearing, and I want you to get the greatest benefit from using your hearing aids for as long as possible, so we are always available to help. Give us a call at (337)436-3277, contact us online for additional information, to request a callback or to set up an appointment.