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You probably paid a great deal of money for your hearing aid. So far, it has performed well, allowing you to reconnect with loved ones and participate in conversations you once shied away from. But as with many things, we sometimes take the things that bring the most meaning to our lives for granted, and forget to take proper care of them.

Electronic hearing aids are precision instruments, and thus sensitive. Rough handling and moisture can damage the miniaturized electronics in modern hearing aids. Dust, dirt and ear wax can clog the microphone, receiver or both. Fortunately, there are a few simple care and maintenance steps that – when followed regularly – will ensure your hearing aid performs up to manufacturer expectations once your take it home. This article is intended as a reminder of some Dos and Don’ts of how to maintain your hearing aid properly.

Always treat your hearing aid with care

  • When removing your hearing aid from its packaging or temporary container, stand over soft ground so that if it falls, it falls onto a soft surface not a hard floor.
  • Try to never expose your hearing aid to high heat or extreme cold.
  • Never use any kind of chemical solvents or alcohol when cleaning the unit.
  • If you use hairsprays or gels, apply them before inserting your hearing aid, because they can clog its receiver and microphone or damage its plastic shell.

Never expose the hearing aid to water

  • The digital circuitry in your hearing aid is particularly sensitive to moisture.
  • Take your hearing aid out before swimming or showering. Never use a soaked cloth to try to clean it.
  • When not wearing your hearing aid – such as at night – store it in a dry, clean place.
  • Before you insert your hearing aid, clean and dry your ears as best as possible.
  • One of the most common causes of hearing aids having to be returned for service is the buildup of moisture; an inexpensive hearing aid dehumidifier can prevent this, and thus prolong its life.
  • To use a hearing aid dehumidifier, which removes any accumulation of moisture, remove the batteries from the unit before storing it in the dehumidifier overnight.

Remove excess ear wax

  • Ear wax clogging the hearing aid is the second most common cause of them having to be returned for service.
  • Ear wax is good and natural for our ears, but can be problematic for hearing aids.
  • When you remove your hearing aid every night, be sure to wipe its case with a soft cloth to remove any ear wax.
  • Clean any ear wax from the receiver and microphone areas of the device, using the brush or tools provided with the unit.

Make sure to change the batteries often

  • Weakened batteries can reduce the functionality of the hearing aid.
  • With many hearing aids, if the batteries run down completely, you may have to reprogram the unit.
  • To extend battery life, turn the hearing aid off when you are not using it. Double check that it is off when you store it at night.
  • When you change the batteries its a good time to clean the battery contacts using a cotton swab. Dirty contacts can also impact your hearing aid’s performance.