Essential Tips for Cleaning Hearing Aids To Last Long And Sound Great

Every hearing aid user will encounter a situation where they can’t figure out what’s wrong with their hearing aids. You’ve probably been there too. You can’t hear well anymore with the device. The sounds are faint, or some static noises appear on the microphone.

Automatically, you think it’s the battery. You change the battery, and then the same situation occurs. Nothing changes. The sound is distracting and bothering you, and you can’t seem to get it to stop.

You figure you’ll call your hearing clinic and make an appointment. But the next available appointment is five weeks away. You can’t wait that long, and you can’t imagine dealing with the noise and waiting for your hearing aid to be fixed.

The Importance of Regular Cleaning

If you have been through a situation where your hearing aids are not operating at their best many times, you will learn that the issue has more to do with cleaning and maintaining your hearing aids.

Unlike computers and other electronics, you can’t set and leave them. Hearing aids require a bit more effort to keep them in top shape. This is why cleaning is an important activity to help keep your hearing aids working well.

Think of your hearing aid like a car that needs regular maintenance and checks to keep it operating well.

Benefits of Clean Hearing Aids

One of the major benefits of cleaning your hearing aids is that you can make your device last a long time. Imagine being able to hold on to your hearing aids for more than eight to ten years longer.

You won’t have to keep buying a new one every three to five years, and you can save a lot of money to invest in other activities like a trip abroad or anything you would like to experience.

Cleaning your hearing aids will help you appreciate and care for your device like any other expensive electronic device or designer handbag.

You will become familiar and comfortable with your device and become more handy. You’ll save yourself time from visiting your hearing clinic just for the minor things you can do yourself.

Understanding Your Hearing Aids

Types of Hearing Aids

There are four types of hearing aids which need cleaning that I am talking about when it comes to hearing aids: in-the-canal (the invisible one), the earbud or in-the-ear, receiver in the canal, and behind-the-ear hearing aids.

For this article, I will be discussing how to clean all types. Even though they look different, they all have core components that need attention.

Parts of a Hearing Aid: What Needs Cleaning?

There are three major parts which will need regular cleaning.

  1. The mold
  2. The tubing and earhook that attaches the earmold or receiver-in-the-canal or the behind-the-ear hearing aids
  3. The area where the microphone is located.
  4. The parts inside the hearing aid which you can’t see.

Each part attracts dirt, wax, and moisture and blocks the flow of sound into your ears from the device. These areas will need the most attention than any other area.

2. Daily Cleaning Routine

Essential Tools for Cleaning

Dealing with Moisture

Hearing Aid Dryer

A hearing aid dryer is a tool, either an electronic or a container, that contains beads or capsules, which can remove moisture from inside the device without needing to open the hearing aid to dry inside.

Having a dry aid kit or a hearing aid dryer will help prevent moisture from damaging and rusting the inside of the device, and it is one that every hearing aid wearer should own.

Effective Earwax Management

Wipes for hearing aids

Similar to hand wipes, these wipes are good for disinfecting the surface of your hearing aids. They usually come in individual packages; you take one and wipe it over your earmolds and hearing aids.

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Earmold cleaners

You can use earmold cleaning solutions to clean your earmold surface, and the holes required for tubes or, in some cases, holes act as vents to help the earmold operate functionally. These holes can be built up with wax and debris.

Earmold cleaners can be a spray for the surface or a container where you add water and a dissolvable cleaning tablet. The idea is to leave the earmold only (not the hearing aids!) in the water overnight for cleaning.

Klein Creek Hearing Aid Cleaning Spray/Cleaning Spray for Earphones, Headphones, Air Pods, Ear Buds & Bluetooth or Wired Hearing Music Devices
  • Spray for earmold or surface area. (Avoid spraying over microphone or in-the-receiver)

Hearing Aid Cleaning Spray

UV Ray kits

More expensive hearing aid dryer electronics are designed to use UV rays to help clean wax buildup. They can function as a dry aid kit to help remove moisture and wax and, for some, recharge hearing aid batteries simultaneously.

Hearing aid wind or microphone filters/wax guard

Many hearing aids come with replaceable wind filters. These filters are resting over the parts of the hearing aids where the microphone is located.

Filters are designed to provide extra protection for the microphones. Your filters should be changed once you see discolour from their original colour.

Specialized Tools

When you buy a hearing aid, some brands offer a cleaning kit.

Mini-brush: The kit may contain a mini brush to help clean the tube or scrape dried wax on the hearing aids.

Picks/Wax Loop: You may also receive kits to help safely pick and remove the tiny filters from your hearing aids. The brush can be mini versions of a straw cleaner or a toothbrush. But there are many forms and it depends on your hearing aid and your preference for usability.

58 PCS Hearing Aid Cleaning Kit, Hearing Aid Cleaner Wipes, Hearing Aid Cleaning Tools Including Hearing Aid Brush & Wax Loop & Magnet & Microfiber Cloth, Hear Clear Wax Guards, Hearing Aid Supplies
  • Great for all types of hearing aids

Hearing Aid Cleaning Tools

Suction tube: When cleaning with liquid or water, you want a rubber suction squeeze ball, similar to what a baby needs for nasal suction. These devices can suck away moisture from the tube or the holes in the earmold quickly, especially if you don’t have all day to wait for them to dry.

EZY DOSE Hearing Aid Blower, Clears Moisture & Ear Wax, Helps Improve Sound Quality, Help Prevent Hearing Aid Repairs, Easy to Use and Convenient for Travel, Blue, BPA Free
  • Quickly remove moisture from tube and earmold

Hearing Aid Blower

Step-by-Step Cleaning Guide

A before-bed routine

Daily, while your hearing aids are not in use or recharging, you want to deal with the moisture build-up in the tube or inside the hearing aids. The goal is to dry the hearing aid to keep the inside electronic rust-free.

In addition, you should be cleaning your ears daily or every other day. Wax build-up is natural, especially when you wear anything in the ear for a prolonged period. Wax usually starts as a liquid and can spread but later hardens.

Just when you remove your hearing aid, it is the easiest time to clean your ear. I use a cotton swap, and while it is not advice, there are other safer ear-cleaning options.

Weekly and monthly cleaning

We want to avoid getting some or most of the ear wax around the hearing aid parts, which require sound to pass through. The amount of cleaning you need will depend on how much wax you produce and how effective you are with cleaning your ears.

The areas you will most need to be concerned with are the earmold, the tube, the earhook (which connects the tube and the hearing aids), around the volume button, the on and off switch and the battery door, if you have any.

See also  9 Best Hearing Aid Dryers to End the Static Sound Forever

On a weekly and monthly basis, depending on how much wax you produce, you want to develop a deep cleaning practice:

  1. Clean the earmold and tube.
  2. Remove and replace the tubing, dome and earhook.
  3. Replace the wind filters.
  4. Brush and wipe the outside of the hearing aid.

Additional Cleaning for Specific Types of Hearing Aids

  • In-the-Ear (ITE) Hearing Aids Cleaning – Use the wipes and brush daily because your hearing aid is the closest to where wax builds up.
  • Receiver-in-Canal (RIC) Hearing Aids Cleaning – Use the wipes and brush daily, especially in the dome area.
  • Behind-the-Ear (BTE) Hearing Aids Cleaning – Use wipes for the hearing aid cases and earmold daily if necessary.

4. Safe Cleaning Practices

What to Avoid When Cleaning Hearing Aids

You may be tempted to use your household cleaning product to clean your earmold. Remember, earmolds are made from acrylic, silicone and vinyl. You want to avoid cleaning materials which are not safe to use on those materials.

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Avoid touching the microphone.

When you are removing the wind filters, be careful. Wind filters can be difficult to remove because they are tiny and meant to sit and be secured. You may be using a pointy object to pick and pry the wind filters but accidentally enter inside the hearing aid where the microphone is located and damage the microphone. Try to know where the hole for the microphone behind the filter is and avoid that area when you are removing the filters to be replaced.

Cleaning when your tube is hard.

Over time, your tube will get extremely hard and not as soft and flexible at the start. It makes it difficult to remove the tube from the earhook. If you are like me and start to use a sharp object to remove the tube from the hook, you may accidentally break the earhook.

You should regularly replace your tube often or throw away your earhook and tube altogether with a new one.

Spraying over microphones and sensitive electronics.

Avoid using the cleaning spray directly on the device. If you want to wipe and disinfect, first spray the cloth and use the cloth to clean. Too much moisture can manage your hearing aids.

When to Seek Professional Help

Recognizing When Cleaning Isn’t Enough

Sometimes, you may find yourself in situations that you did not intend to be in, like your dog chewing your hearing aids or you travelled abroad to the most humid climate, and your dry aid wasn’t designed to resolve environments in hot, humid weather. You may need replacement parts and other repairs to fix the situation.

Finding Professional Cleaning Services

Some of you may produce a lot of wax in your ears, and it’s hard for your cleaning devices to keep up. A regular scheduled monthly or biweekly visit may be needed to help clear out the build-up of wax. The more you can control the wax in your ears, the less chance it will affect your hearing aids as well.

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