Your hearing aids are an invaluable tool that can make everyday life more enjoyable and positive. Knowing that you can count on them for years of hearing assistance means not missing out on beautiful music, conversations with friends and loved ones, and innumerable special experiences. If your hearing aids are not cleaned regularly or properly maintained, however, that reliability and efficiency can wane as time goes on.
Today, let’s help you avoid such frustrations, helping you get the most out of your auditory investment for longer. Here’s our guide on how to clean hearing aids and ensure they operate smoothly for years to come. We’ll go over the risks of not keeping your hearing aids clean as well as important steps you should take to look after them.
What Happens if You Don’t Keep Your Hearing Aids Clean?
To start, let’s first go over the potential risks of not caring for your hearing aids. These include the following issues:
It’s important for purposes of awareness, even safety when out and about, to be able to trust that your hearing aids are picking up all the noises around you. Many components ensure this is possible, including tubing and microphones. With hearing aids, microphones are among the most crucial features because they actively listen to your environment. The sounds they pick up are then converted and amplified so that you can hear what is going on, such as someone speaking, an alarm, or a knock at the door. If the microphone or tubing is clogged with earwax, blocked with other debris, or damaged, your hearing aids will be less effective.
Increased Maintenance/Reduced Reliability
Not regularly cleaning your hearing aids at home can result in some features or components becoming increasingly unreliable. You may even need to take them in more frequently for hardware maintenance in some cases. This can be especially difficult to address if your hearing aids suffer from a buildup of bodily oils, moisture, or wax to the point where basic cleanings aren’t enough to solve the issues present.
Hardware or Component Failure
Insufficient cleanings of your hearing aids may even damage the susceptible components contained within them. This can result in a partial or complete loss of functionality in one or both hearing aids. When this happens, repairs can sometimes provide a fix, whereas in other cases a replacement may be needed. Cleaning your hearing aids incorrectly, such as using alcohol wipes, can also cause irreversible damage.
If you don’t clean your hearing aids as regularly as recommended by the device manufacturer or audiologist, it’s likely that they won’t last as long as they’re supposed to. This can be a bittersweet experience, resulting in needing to replace them with a new pair sooner than would be necessary with proper care and maintenance.
Why Do People Not Wear Their Hearing Aids?
There are several reasons why some folks don’t wear their hearing aids when they ought to be. The first is due to self-confidence and integrity, a very delicate issue as everyone’s sensitivities are unique. Nowadays, however, with a wide selection of hearing aid types and designs, including options as good as invisible, this isn’t quite as common as it used to be.
Otherwise, individuals sometimes don’t wear their hearing aids due to forgetting that they were removed before taking a shower or going to bed. Or, alternatively, they may experience discomfort or irritation due to an incorrect fit, though this can be avoided by consulting with an audiologist before ordering. In other cases, a setting may be too high on an individual’s hearing aids, resulting in them becoming annoyed with the feedback or volume.
Caring for Your Hearing Aids
Next, here are some tips when it comes to taking care of your hearing aids. These include cleaning steps as well as general best practices to follow.
When Not to Wear Hearing Aids
To avoid exposing your hearing aids to high humidity and moisture, take them off before stepping into the shower, swimming, or taking a bath. In addition, you should ensure that they are stored in their case, away from areas including bathrooms, saunas, or pools without getting lost.
We also advise against wearing hearing aids to bed. This gives your ears the chance to breathe properly overnight, and even a quick yet efficient cleaning before bed is the perfect way to avoid a buildup of wax, oils, or moisture on your hearing aids. Getting into the habit of cleaning every night before going to sleep can serve as a reminder to take them out until the morning.
In addition, avoid wearing hearing aids in excessively and even dangerously loud environments, such as at a rock concert or construction site, as you don’t want to accidentally worsen your hearing further.
What to Do if Hearing Aids Get Dirty
Wondering how to clean wax out of hearing aids or prevent other issues? There are several things you can do at home to help keep your hearing aids clean and fully operational. Here’s what to do and what to avoid:
What to Do
- Completely wipe down your hearing aids. Purpose-made wipes, disinfecting sprays, and microfibre cloths are popular options for this step. Speak to your audiologist to find out what they recommend using.
- Ensure that wax buildup is kept under control and that you perform frequent cleanings of sensitive areas like microphone holes. If these become too clogged, they won’t perform as effectively, meaning you’ll get a lesser experience. A fine brush or even a wax pick are great tools for this step. Several hearing aids also contain what is known as a wax guard or filter, which should be cleaned or, if needed, replaced.
- In addition to regular at-home cleanings, you should also bring your hearing aids in to be professionally cleaned and inspected by an audiologist. This is a great way to ensure your hearing aids work correctly for as long as possible, and they may be able to perform repairs if needed as well.
- Store your hearing aids in their case whenever they are not in use, such as overnight while sleeping. This protects them from getting lost, dropped, or dirtied.
What Not to Do
- Never use chemical or alcohol-based sprays, cleaners, or disinfectants when cleaning your hearing aids. These may cause irreparable damage to sensitive components.
- Avoid water, moisture, and high-humidity environments, even if your hearing aids boast limited water resistance. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
- When cleaning, do not put pressure on any openings, including microphone holes or speakers. It’s better not to jab at these sensitive areas with a brush or pick, as doing so may cause damage.
With care and by taking the appropriate precautions, it’s possible to get many years out of your favourite hearing aids. A daily brushing and wipe-down does wonders for your investment! And, combined with the services and support of a well-trained and experienced audiologist, you’ll benefit from an ideal hearing solution and peace of mind.
Considering a new set of hearing aids, curious about our online hearing test, or want to learn more about our services at Robillard Hearing Centres? Feel free to reach out to us today. We’re happy to help!