Hearing Aid Maintenance
One of the most important factors in a patient’s success with hearing aids is proper maintenance. Hearing aid maintenance varies slightly between different styles and manufacturers, but the ultimate goal is to protect them from wax and moisture. Your audiologist will orient you in caring for your new hearing aids at your delivery and subsequent follow-up visits. Reviewing this information and implementing it will ensure that your hearing aids perform optimally and reach their expected lifespan.
It is important to store your hearing aids in a dry, safe place, away from pets and small children. Your audiologist will supply you with a case to place your hearing aids in any time they are not in your ears. If you take your hearing aids out during the day, even for a short time, the best place to put them is inside a case. If you have a backup pair of hearing aids (for example, if you purchased new hearing aids but kept your previous pair), it is best to remove the batteries before storing them, as the batteries can cause corrosion if left inside the aids for long periods of time.
Wax is the most common cause of hearing aid malfunction. When hearing aids accumulate too much wax, it impedes the sound transmission, making the hearing aids seem muffled, intermittent, or dead. To prevent this, visually inspect them for wax after removing them from your ears. You may use a soft cloth or brush to clean the hearing aid. A damp cloth is acceptable for most hearing aids. It isn’t necessary to use alcohol or other cleaning agents, as these may actually be damaging to the aids. Most hearing aids use a wax filter system which is typically changed monthly. Ask your audiologist if you aren’t sure whether or not your hearing aids require filters. Some hearing aids have replaceable tips called domes. These should be changed at the same time as the filters.
Moisture can also interfere with hearing aid performance. While hearing aids have become much more water-resistant than they were several years ago, they are not waterproof. Never shower or sit in a sauna with your hearing aids on, and avoid leaving them in the bathroom. There are many drying kits on the market that use desiccants to dry out hearing aids during storage. Hearing aid users who spend a lot of time outdoors in hot or humid climates may benefit from using a drying system. Some even use a fabric sleeve cover that fits on certain hearing aid types. Dirt, dust, and oils are other things to keep in mind, as they can clog the microphones of the hearing aids. Lotions and hair sprays should be applied before inserting the hearing aids.
Finally, visit your audiologist every 4 to 6 months to have your hearing aids cleaned and checked. Continuing routine maintenance is a crucial part of ongoing success with your hearing aids.