Hearing Aid Maintenance: Cleaning Your Hearing Aids
Cleaning your hearing aids is not only a hygienic necessity, but also an economic one. Proper cleaning of your hearing aids will keep your device functioning longer and greatly reduce the need for repairs. All hearing aids are a bit different, but these general guidelines should provide you with enough information to get you started. If you feel you need more help, visit Healthy Hearing, which offers an in depth guide to hearing aid cleaning. There are also hearing aid cleaning kits available for purchase from your hearing care provider as well as tutorials on YouTube that can be very useful if you are a visual learner.
When preparing to clean your hearing aids, first remember to handle them over a soft surface that will cause minimal damage if you drop them. For the shell of the hearing aid, you should avoid using anything dripping wet to clean off the dirt, oils, or wax that might build up. You can use a dry or damp tissue to wipe the surface. Remember never to use chemical cleaners or alcohol, because they can damage your hearing aids.
If you have behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids, you can sometimes remove the ear mold from the hook of the hearing aid and clean the ear mold with soapy water, but you will need to consult your audiologist/hearing instrument specialist or the user information that came with your hearing aids before proceeding.
The microphone inlets on hearing aids can often become blocked with dirt, dust, and even hair styling products. It is important not to insert things into this area of the hearing aid when you are attempting to clean it. Most hearing aids come with a brush or tool for cleaning this part of your hearing aid. Some even have disposable microphone covers that can be replaced as needed.
Another great took for cleaning this area is the multi tool, which is basically the Swiss Army knife of hearing aid cleaning. There’s a cleaning brush on one end, a magnet that facilitates in moving the tiny batteries in and out of hearing aids, and a wire loop. These brushes are usually very reasonably priced. Often, your hearing clinic will have these in stock, but here is one option that you can order from Walmart.
One of the most common causes of broken hearing aids is the buildup of wax in the receiver (or speaker) of a hearing aid. Daily cleaning is the best preventative measure to avoid hearing aid failure due to this problem. Johns Hopkins Medicine recommends the following procedure:
“Use the wax pick (small wire loop) provided with your hearing aid, insert into the opening until you meet resistance and then scoop back out. Continue scooping until the opening is free of wax.”
Note that some hearing aids have wax prevention systems, so you may need to consult your audiologist before cleaning these types of hearing aids. Also remember that if repairs are what you are looking for, you should consult an audiologist. You should not attempt to do repairs on your own, as this might cause more damage and require a completely new set of hearing aids.