Hearing aids are a smart investment in your health, but keeping them clean is essential to ensure long-term use. According to statistics, approximately over 1.5 billion people worldwide are dealing with some form of hearing loss.
If you have hearing problems, a quality pair of hearing aids can make all the difference in your quality of life.
Read on to learn how to clean hearing aids so you can keep yours in excellent shape for as long as possible.
Use the Right Tools
When you're cleaning hearing aid earpieces, you'll need to make sure that you use the appropriate tools. A small wax pick and brush are must-haves that will help you safely remove any earwax that accumulates in the opening and the end.
You may use a small child's toothbrush with soft bristles as an alternative to a hearing aid cleaning brush. Just make sure you avoid inserting any cleaning tools into the microphone or receiver ports.
Earwax buildup can cause a muffled sound or feedback including high-pitched whistling noises. If you don't remove earwax from your hearing aid, it could lead to permanent damage to the receiver. A small brush and a wax pick will make it easy to gently remove earwax as needed.
Read the manual carefully before you attempt to clean your hearing aids, as it likely contains helpful information about the best practices. Some providers also offer hearing aid cleanings if you prefer to have it done professionally.
You can find most hearing aid cleaning tools online or at many drug stores. However, it's recommended that you talk to your hearing aid provider to find out which tools are recommended for your specific model.
Here are some of the most basic tools that will help you clean hearing aids easily at home:
- A hearing aid brush with a soft tip helps you clean the body and sound port
- Look for a brush with a magnetic battery removal tool to help remove batteries safely
- A wax pick or wire loop gently removes wax and other debris without damage
- Multitools contain a brush and a wax loop or pick so you have both tools in one
When in doubt, always check before you use any type of cleaning tool on your hearing aids. In the end, it's better to be safe than sorry so you don't accidentally damage the unit. Use a carry bag with a secure closure to keep all of the tools and cleaning products together so they're easy to find when you need them.
Clean Hearing Aids: Important Tips
There are a few important cleaning tips you should follow if you wear hearing aids. First, always make sure that you wash and dry your hands thoroughly before handling and cleaning your hearing aids.
When you shower, wash your face, and wash your hair, remember to remove the hearing aids first. This will protect them from getting wet and prevent soap from damaging the delicate parts. It's also a good idea to put the hearing aids back in only after you've applied hair styling products and cosmetics.
One way to extend the life of your hearing aids is to clean them at the end of each day. When you clean them before bedtime, it gives them plenty of time to dry out before you wear them again.
Never use harsh chemicals or alcohol to clean your hearing aids, as these cleaning products could cause serious damage. Avoid exposing your hearing aids to extreme temperatures. If you're going outside in the cold or heat, try to leave them inside whenever possible to protect them.
Ask your provider if they offer a specific hearing aid cleaning set for your specific make and model. Using these special kits will ensure that you're using the correct products for your needs.
Cleaning ITE Models
ITE or In-The-Ear hearing aids fit snugly inside the ear for a secure, discreet fit. When you clean ITE hearing aids, focus on the openings in the device like the microphone ports. Use a soft-bristle brush to gently remove any built-up earwax.
As you hold the hearing aid, keep the opening you are cleaning facing downward. This will help to ensure that any loose particles and debris fall out instead of staying stuck inside the unit.
After you brush the debris away, use your wax pick or wax hook to clear anything leftover in the holes. Once you're done, gently wipe the entire device clean using a dry cloth or some soft tissue (without lotion). This step will help you remove any other debris that could be sitting on the exterior portion of the hearing aid.
Always remove the batteries before you clean your hearing aid if possible. Keep the storage and battery compartments open overnight to let everything dry. It's also a good idea to brush off the battery compartment with the cleaning brush to clean the battery contacts.
If you live in a humid climate or if you tend to perspire heavily, you may want to consider using a hearing aid dehumidifier. These products help to keep your hearing aids dry and sanitized.
Cleaning BTE Hearing Aids
BTE or Behind-The-Ear hearing aids fit comfortably behind the ear rather than inside the ear opening. To keep them clean, start by examining the device carefully for any signs of debris, and gently remove it using a dry cloth or a soft brush.
Take the earmold off of the hook to clean it, as these pieces can become stained or discolored over time. Wipe your earmolds clean daily and soak them in warm water with some mild soap every one to two weeks.
Always make sure that your earmolds are completely dry before you use them. Use a special drying cup or drying kit to dry them off safely overnight. Never apply alcohol or chemicals to these components, as they could cause damage.
Some earmolds can develop a slight odor as time goes on. However, if the odor is strong, it may indicate that you have an ear infection. Pay close attention to unusual smells and consult with your doctor if you're concerned.
Disinfecting Your Hearing Aids
If you want to sanitize and disinfect your hearing aids, always use a special solution designed for this purpose. Only use the sanitizer that is recommended by your doctor or hearing aid provider.
Never use alcohol to disinfect hearing aid earpieces or other components. When you apply the sanitizing solution, spray it onto a tissue or a soft cloth. Use the cloth or tissue to gently wipe down the hearing aid, earpiece, and outer case.
Some hearing aids include a wax guard or wax trap. If yours does, make sure you replace it regularly. Ask your doctor or hearing aid manufacturer how often these components should be replaced and how to get new ones.
Hearing Aid Maintenance
Aside from regular cleaning, there are other things you can do to extend the life of your hearing aids. First, try to wear your hearing aids all day and avoid putting them in your pockets so they don't accidentally end up in the laundry.
Always make sure you're using the appropriate hearing aid storage. Most hearing aids include their own specific recharging docks and carrying/storage cases. Turn your hearing aids off and open the battery door when you're not using them to extend the lifespan of your batteries.
Place your hearing aids in a dry box if they get wet. Never use a hair dryer or put your hearing aids in the microwave, as this will cause serious damage.
Never store your hearing aids near cold or heat sources including a hot car, near a sunny window, or in the fridge. Don't keep your hearing aids in when you use a hairdryer. Avoid keeping them in the bathroom while you shower, as steam from the shower or bath could get inside and cause damage.
Wait to insert your hearing aids after you've applied cosmetics and used toiletries. Some products can cause buildup or debris that can clog the microphone, so it's best to wait until after you use them.
Always keep your hearing aids safely out of the reach of children or pets. If you notice a static sound, it may mean that the batteries have moisture in them and need to be replaced. Learn how to troubleshoot your hearing aids at home to find quick solutions to common problems.
Keep Your Hearing Aids Clean
Now that you know the basics of how to clean hearing aids, you can ensure that your investment lasts a long time. Remember to keep your hearing aids away from moisture and clean them regularly using the right tools and methods for the best results.
If you need new hearing aids or if you have questions about your hearing aids, contact Beltone today so we can help.