How To Clean Your Hearing Aid
Hearing aids are powerful little devices. But like all things in life, they can stop working properly over time. In the case of hearing aids, wax buildup and moisture are the most notorious offenders that cause hearing aids to suddenly stop working and require repairs.
Most minor repairs can be fixed at any of our Enhanced Hearing Centre clinics. However, some repairs require hearing aids to be shipped back to the manufacturer. This can mean a pricey repair bill and a period of time where you are not hearing everything life has to offer you.
To avoid such inconveniences, proper hearing aid care is vital. What more, it is fast, easy to do and can be done at home. We at the Enhanced Hearing Centres have put together this guide on how to properly clean your hearing aids and keep them at maximum performance.
1. Get to Know Your Ears
A little wax in your ears is natural. Wax is the substance that stops dust, pollen and other air born debris from making its way down your ear canal which may lead to infections or obstructions. However, too much wax production can lead to a blockage of your hearing aid’s microphone, receiver, or any of its other tiny components.
Moisture can also lead to hearing aid issues. Hearing aids, as a general rule, do not like dampness. Often if hearing aids sound weak or distorted it is due to moisture buildup in the cases or the tubes. Malfunctions due to moisture can be caused by a number of factors including sweating, rain or living in a humid climate.
How often you have to clean your hearing aids will depend on how much wax your ears produce and how much moisture your hearing aids come into contact with. As everyone is different, it is normally recommended that hearing aids be cleaned whenever you feel it is necessary to do so.
2. Conduct A Visual Inspection
The best time to clean your hearing aids is at the end of the day. This allows them time to dry out over night and will be ready for you come morning. Start by taking out your hearing aids to look for any wax buildup on the outside of the casing or ear molds. Wax buildup up is generally easy to see, and can be removed by wiping down the casings or ear molds with a cloth.
3. Use Your Cleaning Tools Properly
Cleaning tools provided by your Audiologist or Hearing Instrument Specialist are specifically designed to help remove logged wax and other debris from your hearing aids. The most common types of tools are a brush, pick, wire loop, or a combination of these.
The brush is most often used as another means of removing wax from the outer casings. The pick is used to push wax out of vents. The wire loop is designed to gently scoop wax from the receiver opening. You will be given thorough instructions by your Audiologist or Hearing Instrument Specialist on how to properly use cleaning tools with your model of hearing aids. Make sure you pay close attention as jamming your cleaning tools into the wrong opening of your hearing aids may damage their internal components.
4. Changing Wax Guards
Many styles of hearing aids come with small plastic circular filters that capture loose wax and prevent it from entering your hearing aids where it may cause blockages and sound interference. These filters, or wax guards, are designed to be changed out every few days to every few weeks.
Remember, everyone’s ears are different. You will be advised on how often to change your wax guards, but you may find you need to do so more or less frequently.
5. Changing Domes
Hearing aids designed to sit behind the ear normally have thin tubes attached to the plastic case with a round dome attached to the end of it. These domes hold hearing aids securely in the ear and assist with your hearing aid’s sound quality. As wax can buildup on these domes, it’s important to change them regularity. Domes are often changed weekly. But like wax guards, you may find your domes may need to be changed more or less frequently.
6. See Your Hearing Centre Regularly
At home cleaning on a regular basis is a great way to prolong the life and performance of your hearing aids. However, it is recommended you come in every 6 months for a Clean & Check appointment. Audiologists and Hearing Instrument Specialists have tools that allow them to access areas of your hearing aids that you are unable to clean yourself.
These appointments are also great for discussing if you have had any issues with feedback, sound weakness or distortion. Having professionals take a look at your hearing aids just twice a year can help determine if there are issues with moisture, wax build up, and how you can make sure your hearing
aids are in excellent working condition for you.
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