Keep hearing aids clean & in good working order

July 28, 2015

Hearing aids open a new world to some people. However they must get daily attention to remain in top working order. Wax and moisture are common causes of hearing aid malfunction — wax accumulates on hearing aids that fit inside the ear, and moisture comes from perspiration on hearing aids worn outside the ear.

Keep hearing aids clean & in good working order

1. To clean an in-the-ear hearing aid

  • Start by washing your hands to avoid contaminating the device.
  • Then, using a brush (either one that your hearing care provider gave you or a clean toothbrush), remove any wax on the exterior of the hearing aid.
  • Do this daily if you get a lot of wax, or every other day if you don't.
  • Another option is to wipe the surface with a dry, cotton cloth (an old T-shirt works well) or a cloth lightly dampened with methylated spirits.
  • If you're using methylated spirits, wipe only the shell of the unit, not over the microphone or receiver, which can be damaged by moisture.

2. Cleaning a behind-the-ear hearing aid

  • This is a two-part operation. To clean the ear mould that fits inside the ear, use water and mild soap or an antibacterial liquid hand wash soap.
  • Put the soap on a cotton cloth dampened with lukewarm water.
  • Wipe the ear mould clean, giving it a good rub.
  • Rinse the mould with lukewarm water and dry with a towel.
  • To clean the hearing aid itself, use just a brush — a toothbrush is fine.

3. Take it to a pro

  • Every three months, take the hearing aid to your hearing care specialist for a thorough cleaning.
  • They should have the appropriate tools for cleaning more deeply into the interior of your hearing aid.

4. Special tools and accessories

  • Tools that you use in combination with your hearing aid need cleaning, too.
  • In-the-ear hearing aids have wax guards that protect the receiver from getting clogged with wax. Clean them with a brush.
  • Behind-the-ear hearing aids can be fitted with a sleeve jacket that covers the component behind the ear and protects it from moisture.
  • Wipe the sleeve clean with a cloth.

5. Beware of moisture

  • Like a computer, a hearing aid has an electronic chip in it. Water is its enemy, so watch the amount of liquid you use when cleaning.
  • It's also a good idea to keep your hearing aid in a dry place when you're not using it — for example, in the bedroom while you're taking a shower, instead of in the bathroom.

6. Special caution

  • If you need to wear a behind-the-ear hearing aid, apply hair spray before you put on your hearing aid. The spray could damage the microphone.
  • Don't wear your hearing aid when you're doing heavy work in the garden. Perspiration, hose water, dirt and grass clippings could damage it.
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