How to Service Hearing Aids
Your hearing aids are an investment. You need to take good care of it by learning how to clean and maintain them while they are in your care. If this is your first time to get hearing aids, we’ll share some tips on how to service hearing aids – the right way.
Keep in mind that while hearing aids may be tiny, they carry with them intricate technology to operate. When we talk about how to service hearing aids, we want the wearer to get the big picture of how these tiny, powerful devices work.
They function in an environment that is totally far from the ideal – inside the ear canals, subjected to moisture and earwax. Hence, the basic concept on how to service hearing aids is to make sure that they are kept clean with routine maintenance.
Regular cleaning performed by you and the hearing aid provider will help keep your device last longer. Below are the basic parts of the hearing aid to help you get started on how to service hearing aids at home.
In order for you to service hearing aids properly, you need to be familiar with its basic parts that include a speaker, microphone and amplifier. Through the microphone, the hearing aid picks up sound. The sound waves are then converted to electrical signals which are then received by the amplifier. The amplifier increases the power of the signals and brings them to the ear through the speaker.
How To Service Hearing Aids Tip #1: Use the proper tools
For at-home hearing aid cleaning, a wax pick and brush are your best tools. Earwax that accumulates at the opening of the hearing aid (where sound comes out) may cause feedback (whistling sound) or an overall muffled sound. If left unkempt long enough, the receiver may be damaged by the accumulated ear wax.
Using the wax pick and brush, you can gently clear away any accumulated ear wax and dirt.
How To Service Hearing Aids Tip #2: Establish and maintain good habits
Good and hygienic habits will add more years to your hearing aid. Before cleaning your hearing aids, make sure that you have washed your hands.
Unless your hearing aids are waterproof, make sure to take them out when you shower or wash your face. Water and soap can ultimately damage non-waterproof hearing aids. Also try to keep your hearing aids away from hair products like gels, mousse or spray.
How To Service Hearing Aids Tip #3: A clean slate at the end of the day
Make sure to clean your hearing aids before you sleep to give them enough time to air out before they will be used again.
When cleaning your hearing aids, avoid harsh chemicals such as alcohol because it could damage the device.
How To Service Hearing Aids Tip #4: Avoid extreme temperatures
Extreme temperatures can damage hearing aids and/or its batteries. Technically, the cold isn’t really damaging, but the condensation that transpires during extreme temperature change can increase the risk of damage for the internal components.
If the temperature is below freezing outside and you don’t plan on using your hearing aids, it would be better if you leave them inside the house rather than putting them in your coat pocket. In the summer, when the heat is really scorching hot, it would be best to leave your hearing aids inside the house instead of just leaving it on a poolside table while you take a dip.
How to service hearing aids: Cleaning ITE hearing aids
With an in-the-ear model, you should focus on cleaning the openings of the device, especially the microphone ports.
You can use a soft-bristled toothbrush or a brush provided by your hearing aid provider to clean the built-up wax. Make sure to hold the device facing downward so that the loose particles will fall out of the hearing aid instead of falling back inside.
For dirt that seems to be stuck, you can use a wax pick or hook to get it out. Don’t ever try to poke or get something forcefully to avoid damaging the device. After cleaning, wipe the hearing aids with a dry, clean tissue or cloth.
Getting your hearing aids cleaned professionally is always a good idea. If you are in the Osseo, MN area, Hearing Health Clinic audiologists are experts in cleaning and maintaining your hearing aids.
How to service hearing aids: Cleaning BTE hearing aids
A BTE hearing aid comes with an earmold, so you need to clean both parts. Check the hearing aid for any visible debris and remove it with a dry cloth or a soft brush.
Remove the earmold from the hook and wipe it or soak in warm, soapy water. Try to do the soaking at least once a week to prevent the ear molds from being stained or discolored. Make sure the ear molds are completely dry before using and don’t use strong chemicals to clean it.
Over time, you may notice that the ear molds may develop a slight odor – that’s expected. But, if the ear molds have a strong odor, it might indicate an ear infection, so it would be best to go to a hearing healthcare professional and have your ears checked.
Additional tip on how to service hearing aids
Consider the tip below as general, applicable to all types of hearing aids:
Before you sleep at night, remove the batteries and keep the battery compartment open to maximize overnight drying.
If you have rechargeable hearing aids, dock them accordingly to enjoy a full charge in the morning.
How to Service Hearing Aids Professionally
There are instances when it is much better to endorse a certain process to the professionals. It’s just like cleaning our teeth – we can brush our teeth and floss it every night, but the dentist can still clean your teeth better because they have the right and powerful equipment.
Similarly, hearing aids should be cleaned by a professional regularly because audiology clinics, like Hearing Health Clinic, have specialized equipment like vacuums that can clean hard to reach areas.