If you’ve recently taken a hearing survey and have had to acquire and adjust to new hearing aids, or you’re a long-term user of hearing aids in need of an improved cleaning regime, it may be of use to glance over some new suggestions on preventative maintenance and proper care. Through more thorough procedures of cleanliness, you can extend the life of your hearing devices and reduce the chance of them malfunctioning when you are most likely to be in need.
However, unlike most electronic devices, hearing aids are subjected to internal conditions – for instance, the inside of your ear canals where earwax and moisture accumulate and increase the likelihood of unsanitary conditions. To avoid this, regular cleaning you can do independently combined with a maintenance routine provided by your audiologist will ensure a longer period of better hearing and satisfaction with your device.
How to Clean In-the-Ear (ITE) Hearing Aids
ITE devices are worn in the outer ear bowl and come in half-and full-shell models. These devices are medium sized making them easier to handle and maintain than some of their smaller counterparts. Keep your ITE device clean by:
- Find the openings of your ITE hearing aid and check for any buildup of earwax or debris. Gently brush this out if you find any in order to avoid blockages of any filters that are inbuilt in the hearing aid by facing the openings downward and brushing it out with a small hearing-aid brush or an unused toothbrush. In this way, holding the hearing aid face-down will prevent any loose particles from getting stuck inside the openings.
- Use a small hook or wax pick given to you as part of your hearing aid cleaning tools and clear out the holes to get rid of any debris. Then, you can wipe it down with a clean cloth.
How to Maintain Behind-the-Ear (BTE) Hearing Aids
Since this kind of hearing aid is exposed to the outer climate and therefore more prone to getting dirtier at a faster rate, you should wipe the external parts of a BTE hearing aid every day with a dry cloth and ensure to change the tubing every six months or as instructed by your audiologist. Many people with BTE hearing aids also have additional tools to keep their hearing aids in fit shape.
Daily BTE hearing aid care:
- Use a soft brush to remove any wax or dry skin from the outer casing of your hearing aid and remove the earmolds, the part that goes inside your ear, which requires significantly more cleaning.
- Wipe down the earmolds and soak them in soapy water in order to prevent discoloration and deterioration.
- A bulb blower or a dehumidifier might be useful to force air out your BTE hearing aid’s tubing since if water gets inside, issues can arise. You can also leave your hearing aid out in a dry area overnight in order to decrease moisture – it is important to due this during night or darker hours as sunlight and extreme temperatures might affect the quality of your hearing aid negatively.
Cleaning Your In-the-Canal (ITC) Devices
ITC hearing aids are some of the smallest varieties on the market – especially if you opt for a completely-in-canal (CIC) or invisible-in-canal (IIC) style. Keep these devices operating optimally with the following care tips:
- Make sure to wipe down the surface of the hearing aid with cleaning wipes or cleaning spray and cloth to remove any dirt or dry wax remaining on the hearing aid
- Gently clean all the dirt collected in the sound outlet with a small brush or a cloth
- If there appears to be any moisture on the surface of or inside your ITC hearing aid, make sure to leave it to dry before putting it back on
Monthly ITC hearing aid care:
- Depending on the kind of hearing aid you have, the microphones – one or two – may be located above or below the placement of the battery tray. All you should do to clean these is brush them gently with a clean brush to remove any dust or dirt that may have gotten into them.
- It is also important to check the condition of the wax filter which, after some time, can turn discolored or become dirty with wax you can no longer take out with a brush. If this is the case, you’ll need to change the filter by using one end to remove the old filter from the sound outlet and the other end to carefully push another clean filter into its place.
If you want to learn more about your hearing aid options, schedule an appointment with one of The Hearing Doctor’s at (630) 315-2899. In addition to hearing testing, hearing aid fitting and repairs, we also offer maintenance and professional cleaning to keep your device in tip-top shape.