How To Keep Your Hearing Aids Clean

Proper Hearing Aid Care

Hearing aids are a big investment for our health and well-being. The benefits of hearing devices go beyond just being able to hear better. Hearing well maintains brain stimulation and allows your brain to remain active. Since these devices are no small purchase, it is important to pay close attention to their care and maintenance.

 

In this article, you’ll find out why cleaning your hearing devices is important, what happens if they aren’t kept clean, and the best ways to use different cleaning tools to keep your hearing aid models looking and functioning at their best.

The Importance Of Cleaning Hearing Aids

Although we may not see it, our hearing devices accumulate a lot of debris as we use them. Regular cleaning is required as electronic devices needs to be kept clean and dry to work efficiently. Living in Singapore, our hot and humid weather makes us prone to the secretion of sweat and natural oils. As if that wasn’t enough, the natural production of earwax can also build up over time. The build-up of such debris on the hearing aid is not only unhygienic but also interferes with the way the hearing aid amplifies sounds.

 

This is why consistent cleaning is important. It keeps both the outer ear and the ear canal clean and free of any possibility of infection. It also allows our hearing aids to work in optimum conditions for a longer period, allowing us to enjoy the benefits of participating in conversations and maintaining an active social life

How Insufficient Cleaning Can Affect Our Hearing

Insufficient hearing aid care will affect the hearing aid function. The build-up of debris such as earwax can lead to poor functioning of our hearing devices. For example, blockage of the tube opening in certain types of hearing aids can lead to muffled and unclear hearing. This can make it difficult to hear in noisy situations or create unnecessary background noises. 

 

The build-up of moisture in hearing aids can also affect the quality of the device. Moisture in the receiver or microphone or battery door of the hearing aid can lead to corrosion, which will reduce the lifespan of the hearing aids.

 

Similarly, if one is experiencing any ear discharge, it is recommended to temporarily discontinue the usage of hearing aids as the fluids may also cause further ear infections. The moisture in the ear canal makes the environment perfect for possibly harmful bacteria to thrive. Bacteria that can cause infection will have a negative effect on our hearing. The resulting pain, swelling or discharge from infections can make it difficult to wear hearing aids. This can put a pause on stimulations including hearing, daily conversations, and our social lives.

 

Hearing aid cleanliness goes beyond just cleaning. It is also important to keep our hearing aids dry and store them in suitable conditions. Read on to find out how to keep different types of hearing aids clean and dry.

Cleaning And Storage Tips

There are many types of hearing aids that are suitable for different groups of people. The hearing aid you use may depend on the type and severity of your hearing loss, and your lifestyle. When buying a hearing aid, your audiologist provides some cleaning tools that can help you keep your device in good shape. These tools often include a soft-bristle brush, a wax pick or loop and a dry cloth for wiping. Some audiologists may also provide silica gel to store your aids with to keep them dry.

How To Clean The Different Types Of Hearing Aids

Depending on the model you use, here are some recommendations for cleaning!

  1. Cleaning Behind-The-Ear (BTE) Hearing Aids

BTE aids usually consist of earmolds. Transparent earmolds may become stained over time, so it is important to keep them clean. 

    1. Visually inspect the earmold and use a wet cloth or alcohol wipes to clean the surface of the earmold. Use the wax pick or loop provided by your audiologist to clean any ear wax stuck in the earmold hole. 

    2. Remember to face the device downwards and brush or wipe downwards as well to prevent any debris from remaining stuck in the device.

    3. Wipe the rest of the hearing aid with a dry cloth and ensure there is no remaining visible debris.

    4. Additionally, you can also remove your earmolds and wash them in water to prevent staining. If you do, it is important to let them dry completely overnight before using them, or using a blower provided to dry any traces of water in the tubing. 

  1. Cleaning In-The-Ear (ITE) Hearing Aids

ITE aids are more discreet, and their smaller size means more consideration when it comes to cleaning!

    1. The opening of the hearing aid should be facing down when cleaning for the effective removal of dirt and debris. 

    2. Brush the microphone with a soft-bristle brush to remove any visible build-up.

    3. You can also use a wax loop or pick to easily remove any solid debris in any parts of the hearing aid that are more difficult to clean with a simple wipe. 

    4. Wipe the entire body of the hearing aid with a dry cloth to remove any dirt on the case.

General Tips

Regardless of the type of aid you use, these are some general tips that apply to all hearing aids:

  • When cleaning your aid, cleaning them over a soft surface such as a towel will prevent any accidental damage if you drop your hearing aid while cleaning it. Taking precautions like these can also extend the life and quality of your device.

  • Keeping your device clean also extends to the hygiene of your ears. It is crucial to keep the outer ear clean and free from any excess earwax or debris. Your ears should be dry before putting on your hearing aids.

  • Do not bring your devices into the shower to prevent exposure to excess moisture that can interfere with electronic devices.

  • When storing your devices, it is recommended to store them in the given drying box. Storage cases and drying boxes should be wiped regularly to prevent any accumulation of dirt or debris that could cross-contaminate your devices as well. Drying capsules such as silica gel should be used in the drying box to absorb the moisture from the hearing aids. Drying capsules should also be changed regularly as recommended by your audiologist.

  • If you accidentally wash your hearing device, it should be left to dry overnight in the drying box or dehumidifier to prevent the retention of any excess moisture that can affect the function of the aid. Seek advice from your hearing consultant as soon as possible so that they can check your hearing aids.

  • For battery-operated aids, it is good practice to keep the battery compartment open when not in use and keep it clean and free of dirt by brushing it with a soft-bristle brush. 

  • Lastly, it is also important to bring your hearing aids in for professional servicing with your audiologist at least once a year. Your hearing aid provider is trained to clean and service your devices. 

If you are unsure about cleaning certain parts of your hearing aid, it is best to consult a hearing professional before doing so. Your audiologist can advise you on what hearing aid care practices are best for your brand and model. They can also help you achieve a deeper clean with professional tools.

Hearing Aid Maintenance
Hearing Aid Maintenance