Like just about anything worth having, hearing aids require a certain amount of regular care, but it’s an effort that pays off both by extending the shelf life of the unit and improving its performance. Hearing aid maintenance is a combination of common sense, gentle cleaning and careful handling. Learning the right way to keep them hygienic and safe will mean you and your hearing aid can be together for many years to come.
Let’s Talk About Earwax
It is one of those subjects people like to avoid, but everyone has it. Earwax, or cerumen as doctors call it, has an essential purpose in the overall hearing process. Its job is to protect the skin inside the ear canal from bacteria, insects, and water. As a result, your body makes quite a bit of it, and sometimes it ends up on your hearing aids. In fact, if you notice a hearing aid isn’t working as well as it used to chances are earwax is to blame.
It is a good idea to get into the habit of removing this wax from the surface of the hearing aid on a regular basis. At night before you put it away is a good time. Grab a soft toothbrush or cotton swab and wipe over the surface to clean it. Make sure to get into any crevices, too, and clean any debris off of the receiver and microphone.
Some hearing aids have filters or guards designed to protect the intricate internal technology from earwax. Don’t try to clean these filters; just replace them. Look at the manual that came with the hearing aid to determine if there is an earwax filter or guard. If you are unsure if your device has this feature, give the retailer or manufacturer a call to find out.
Keeping it Dry
Pick a good place to store your hearing aid; one that is dry and secure. This helps prevent water from penetrating the casing and doing damage. Do not touch the device with wet hands and take them out before you get into the shower or pool.
If you live in an area with excess humidity, consider purchasing a dehumidifier designed for hearing aids. As you have probably figured out, this is a device that removes water from the unit. They also make storage cases that help keep hearing aids free from condensation.
If your hearing aid does get moisture in it, carefully wipe it down with a towel. Don’t look for a fancy solution to the problem like a hair dryer or any other heated device because that will likely cause damage.
Charge It Up
For most of you that will involve changing or charging the batteries when they need it. A degrading battery will damage your device as it corrodes the delicate circuitry. When you remove your hearing aid before going to bed, open the door that holds the battery to prevent moisture from building up and causing this corrosion.
As you do switch out the battery, take the time to wipe down the contact points before putting in the new one. Just rub a dry cotton swab over them to remove any debris like earwax.
Handling Your Hearing Aid
One of the essential things to learn is how to handle your hearing aid. Start by making sure your hands are clean before you touch it. They should be free from lotion and hand sanitizer, too.
Be careful not to drop the device down onto a hard surface like the kitchen counter. If you do place it there, do it gently and be sure that counter is clean first. You can damage the unit if you put it down right where you spilled your coffee earlier! Avoid placing your hearing aid near heat or in direct sunlight. They are sensitive to high temperatures, too.
Take care not to leave a hearing aid where the dog can get to it. Some hearing aids continue to make a sound even when they are out of your ear in a tonal range that the dog can hear. Your best friend might eat the hearing aid to shut it up, and that’s bad for both you and the dog.
See a Professional When You Need One
If there comes a time when your hearing aid needs repair, look for a certified retailer to get it the job done. These dealers have the training to manage unique digital hearing aid technology. They also have tools that let them test each component to determine the problem and all the right replacement parts. Frankensteining your hearing aid with parts from other units rarely turns out well.
Plan to schedule a professional cleaning for your hearing aid regularly if you want it to last. A repair technician is able to clean the inside and make adjustments when necessary so you know you are getting the most from it. This is a good time to ask any questions that you might have about caring for your hearing aid, as well.
You put a lot of time and money into getting a hearing aid, why not do what is necessary to keep it working at it’s best for as long as possible. A little careful consideration and care are all it takes to extend the life of your hearing aid.