One question Audiologists always get asked about hearing aids is: How long do they last? The short answer is: it depends. The biggest factor in how long a hearing aid lasts is how well they are maintained. That hearing aid maintenance starts at home with some easy steps to clean hearing aids. You should clean hearing aids every day if you want them to last for the long run.
How to clean a hearing aid:
Remove any wax from the surface of the hearing aids
- Start by inspecting the tip that goes into your ear. Brush or wipe away any wax that you can visually see. Do not use chemicals or water on your hearing aid. If you have a hard shell, wipe the hearing aid with a dry cloth. If you have a soft, rubber tip, brush wax away.
Inspect the microphone area for anything that might be plugging it
- If you don’t know where your microphones are, ask your hearing professional at your next visit. On a behind-the-ear hearing aid, the microphones are located on the part that sits above your ear. There are usually 2 ports on the very top of the instrument. In an in-the-ear hearing aid, the microphone is often near the battery door. You can run your brush across the microphones to remove any debris.
Inspect your sound port or wax guard
- Some hearing aids have a small wax guard or wax trap covering the sound port where the sound comes out of the hearing aid. If these become plugged with wax, this can cause the hearing aid to malfunction. Replace your wax trap when necessary. Some instruments will not have this, and instead have a tubing extending from the instrument. If this is the case, you can use your cleaning tools to pick out the wax. Always remember that if you are unsure which you have, you can ask your hearing professional at the next visit.
If you have a vent in your instrument, run a vent cleaning tool through it.
- If you have a custom hearing aid or earmold, there is a good chance it has a vent, or air passage. You can run a thin filament through this space to push any wax out.
You should be cleaning your hearing aids regularly. You should also do your best to protect your instruments from moisture. There are dri-aid kits or jars that you can store your hearing aids in to help absorb moisture that might have gotten into the devices. Your audiologist can help you to purchase one of these, or you can look into purchasing one off amazon. These can aid in keeping the hearing aids maintained well. If you have any further questions about hearing aid maintenance, contact us at (651) 888-7888.
For more information regarding when you see your audiologist, check out one of our older posts.