If you make an investment in an item, it’s important to properly maintain that investment to confirm your money is well spent and the item is well kept. This especially applies to your hearing aids! Although certain maintenance tasks need to be done by the manufacturer or your hearing healthcare professional, there are some things you can do to ensure your hearing aid is functioning properly and to its full potential.
Please see below our examination of 3 main causes of hearing aid problems; as well as cleaning, care and prevention tips.
Battling ear wax
The worst enemy of hearing aids is normally considered ear wax. Across the hearing aid industry, ear wax is the number one cause of hearing aid repair. Although ear wax is completely normal and harmless, it can pose numerous problems for hearing aids. Solid and soft components of ear wax reside in the ear canal as well as vapor that can move deep inside the hearing aid and become solid when it rests on crucial mechanical components of the hearing aid.
A prime example: Here at Starkey Hearing Technologies, it’s estimated that 60% of all repairs are due to wax or other foreign material entering the internal components of the hearing device.
What you can do:
- Make sure to clean your hearing aids every morning to stop ear wax from plugging up crucial parts of your hearing aid like the microphones or receivers. Also, wipe off hearing aids each morning. It’s not advisable to use tissues that contain aloe or lotions. Be sure to clean the cleansing cloths regularly to avoid re-applying wax or debris onto the hearing aid. By cleaning your hearing aids in the morning, the wax has had a chance to dry and will become easier to remove.
- Don’t wipe onto the microphone ports from other parts of the hearing aid while clearing debris.
- Take care of your hearing aid ports if your hearing aids are fit with either a standard sized earmold tubing or thin tube. Usually, with tubing you will receive a special tool for cleaning after the tubing is removed. To prevent wax build up this should be done on a regular basis.
- Frequently replace hearing aid wax guards to prevent earwax accumulation in the hearing aid receiver. Starkey hearing aids feature an innovative earwax protection system called Hear Clear. Hear Clear uses disposable wax guards. To see it in action, check out these short Hear Clear replacement and removal how-to videos.
Watch out for water
Your hearing aid can be seriously damaged by any exposure to water, humidity, condensation or perspiration. To help repel water, oils and debris, Starkey hearing aids use Surface™ Nanoshield moisture and wax repellent. Of course, nothing can protect your hearing aid 100%, so be sure to contact your hearing professional if your hearing aid is exposed to large amounts of moisture.
You can use preventative measures to protect your hearing aid from moisture buildup from normal usage.
- Avoid accidental exposure to water by removing your hearing aids if you’re near or plan to be near large bodies of water. Store them in a case and keep them in a cool, dry place to avoid moisture build up.
- Stay on a routine to help prevent accidents. For example, if you shower first thing in the morning, leave your hearing aids off, in the case and out of the bathroom. This will help keep you from accidentally knocking them into the water.
- Remove condensation in tubing using a tube blower. Tubing can develop moisture inside from a mix of the warm air from your ear meeting the cold walls of the tubing and outside air. If you notice moisture in the tubing of a standard BTE hearing aid, a tube blower can be used to remove the water after removing the tubing from the earhook.
- Open battery doors at night to allow additional air flow. Ideally, a dehumidifying container or hearing aid dryer should be used at night to store you hearing aids. This container keeps your hearing aid safe and uses absorbing crystals or packs to draw out moisture. NOTE: When using dehumidifying devices, be sure to follow the maintenance instructions. Replacement parts or reactivation may be required after a specific number of uses. As an added bonus, leaving your battery doors open at night can help to extend battery life!
Avoid physical damage
In an effort to prevent damage, store hearing aids in a consistent, safe manner when they’re not being used. Keep them out of reach of small children and pets. Pets can be drawn to the hearing aids because of the remaining human scent.
If damage does occur, be sure to gather all pieces and parts of the hearing and schedule an appointment with your hearing professional ASAP.
Your hearing aid should not be worn if there is damage to the casing because sharp edges can cause abrasions and irritation to your ear and surrounding area.
Tears or pinching damage to the tubing should also be taken care of immediately. This type of damage can have a severe impact on the hearing device’s sound quality.
Be sure to utilize all of these tips and please visit our hearing aid care page to keep your hearing aid in optimal working condition so you can get the very best out of your hearing aids!
Also, don’t forget that your ears require regular and proper cleaning as well! Click here to schedule your next hearing healthcare check-up with a local professional.