Just like cell phones are essentially extensions of humans, hearing aids play a vital role in the daily lives of countless individuals. Also, like cell phones, hearing aids are delicate pieces of technology that need to be cared for. Hearing aid maintenance is something all hearing aid owners should be aware of and should perform.
In fact, it’s vital to the proper functioning of one’s hearing aids. Nobody would drive a car without getting regular maintenance, and the same is true of hearing aid devices. When someone provides consistent maintenance and care for their hearing aids, they can be confident that their aids will live longer and perform better.
Hearing Aid Maintenance and Care
As hearing aids are such small, advanced pieces of technology, they require great care when handling them. They should be looked after regarding the battery/power, cleanliness, dryness, and more. The following list of tips will help you care for your hearing aids to get the best results out of them.
Hearing Aid Care Tips
- Always store your hearing aids in a safe, dry place. Many people like to take their hearing aids out in front of a mirror—like a bathroom— and leave them there. However, bathrooms typically have a higher temperature and greater humidity levels than other places in your home. Over time, humidity can cause moisture to collect within your hearing aids. This buildup of moisture can cause your hearing aids to lose functionality or effectiveness. Rather than keep them in the bathroom, store your hearing aids in a cool, dry place that is void of any humidity.
- When you’re not using your hearing aids, turn them off. Most hearing aids will function all night long if they’re left on. That means your hearing aids would be using battery unnecessarily for hours until you pick them up in the morning again. Every time you take out your hearing aids, make sure your hearing aids are turned off. This will ensure your hearing aids get the longest life out of the batteries.
- Before you handle your hearing aids, clean your hands, and dry them thoroughly. When your hands are dirty, whatever is on your hands will be transferred to your hearing aids. For instance, any oil, dirt, or water will end up on your hearing aids. Without being aware of the cleanliness of your hands, you can’t be confident that you’re hearing aids will stay clean as well. If you were to consistently touch your hearing aids with dirty hands, your hearing aids will have dirt built-up on them, limiting the effectiveness of hearing and amplification.
- For hearing aids that have rechargeable batteries or replaceable batteries, you need to care for each in their respective manner. Rechargeable hearing aids should always be recharged after a full day of use. Doing so ensures the next day you can use your hearing aids all day without problems. For hearing aids that use replaceable batteries, you’ll have to be aware of when your hearing aids begin to lose their effectiveness. This can be anywhere between 3 days and two weeks, depending on the type and size of the battery used. When your batteries near the end of their life, your hearing aids won’t amplify sound as effectively. You should replace the batteries before they die all the way. Furthermore, as you replace your batteries, there are certain protocols to follow based on the battery. For example, many hearing aid batteries have a label that needs to be removed to activate the battery. If you remove the label and wait 5 minutes before you place the batteries in your hearing aids, you should get the best life out of the batteries.
- Clean the earplugs/filters regularly. With time, your hearing aids will collect dirt, earwax, and plenty of other miscellaneous material— all of which should be removed from your hearing aids to ensure they provide you with the best listening experience possible. If you were to wear your hearing aids for months without cleaning them, you’ll find they lose their effectiveness. Buildups of wax or dirt will block the incoming sound into your ear. Depending on your hearing aid provider, you’ll likely receive a brush, cloth, or other product that will help you clean the filters. Often, your hearing aid manufacturer will provide you with further information specifically stating how to keep the hearing aids clean. If not, you can use a wax pick and any sort of brush that is not too abrasive. Gently use the brush or pick to remove any ear wax or dirt buildups.
- Remove your hearing aids before showering, swimming, or even walking outside in the rain. If you’re going to be in an environment where you’ll get wet, you should take out your hearing aids. Water can easily get into the vital components of the hearing aid and cause permanent damage to them. It’s better to place your hearing aids in a waterproof container or a safe place where there’s no chance of them getting wet.
- One of the most important hearing aid maintenance tips is to schedule checkups with your hearing aid provider. It’s natural for hearing aids or your hearing to change over time. Thus, there may come a point where your hearing aids are not as effective as they used to be, but you have not noticed. Small gradual changes build up over time which can be difficult to notice. With regular checkups and cleanings by a provider, you can have greater confidence in the effectiveness of your hearing aids.
- Handle your hearing aids with caution and care. Hearing aids can be small, delicate, and easy to lose or drop. Many healthcare professionals recommend taking your hearing aids out while you’re around a soft surface. That way, if you were to accidentally drop your hearing aids, they would land somewhere with padding. On the other hand, if you tried to take out your hearing aids while not fully concentrated—such as while walking—you may easily drop them.
- One last optional tip is to use a hearing aid dehumidifier. If you live in an area that consistently has high humidity levels outside, it may be best to use a dehumidifier. Dehumidifiers allow you to store your hearing aids inside them while components inside remove moisture from your hearing aids.
Hearing aid maintenance and care are practices that can be established and turned into habits. Once you’ve made these tips habits, your hearing aids will likely perform better and last longer. What’s more, these habits will help prevent you from damaging or losing your hearing aids. However, besides the good practices in hearing aid care, there are bad practices that all hearing aid users should be aware of.
What to Avoid
- Never use hair products or devices while wearing your hearing aids. For example, do not try to dry your hair, straighten your hair, or something similar. Excessive heat can damage your hearing aids. Furthermore, products such as hair spray can also damage your hearing aids. It’s best to put your hearing aids in after any such practices.
- Similarly, do not wash your face when you have hearing aids. Even a splash of water in the morning can damage your hearing aids if you’re not careful. Get ready in the morning, and then put in your hearing aids.
- Don’t let your hearing aids lie in the direct sun for extended periods. This includes on a windowsill, car dashboard, or other. Too much light from the sun can cause your hearing aids to overheat, which may permanently damage the functionality of the delicate components within the hearing aids.
- Do not leave your hearing aids in a place that could be reached by a pet or a child. Small children or dogs may swallow your hearing aids. Not only will you lose your hearing aid for good, but the batteries within the hearing aids can be toxic if swallowed.
- Never try to open your hearing aids with tools. Hearing aids are extremely delicate, and they must be serviced only by professionals. If you try to open your hearing aids with some sort of tool, you may break the device or cause irreparable damage. By scheduling regular checkups with a hearing professional, you can avoid this.
- Do not ever try to clean your hearing aids with water. Although cleaning your hearing aids regularly is important for maintenance, doing so with water can cause permanent damage. Instead, as mentioned previously, use a cloth, brush, or cleaning kit that came with your hearing device.
Just like anything else you own, hearing aids should be cared for. You can provide general maintenance, establish good habits, and avoid the bad habits to reduce the likelihood of any damage to your hearing aids. By following these tips, you’ll be sure to receive the best functionality out of your aids.