Hearing aids are a major investment, and patients will want to get the most out of them that they can.
Regular hearing aid maintenance can help extend their life, and is a must considering the conditions they are exposed to on a regular basis. Moisture, heat, earwax and dirt can all damage electronic components unless cleaned properly.
Routine Hearing Aid Maintenance Procedures
Ideally, hearing aids should be cleaned on a daily basis. Users should gently wipe down all surfaces with a soft, dry cloth. Water, solvents, cleaning fluids and alcohol should all be avoided, as moisture can damage the devices. It’s important not to overlook the microphone inlet, which can become clogged with debris, and the battery contacts, which attract dust and dirt.
Most hearing health care providers sell a multi-tool, a versatile cleaning tool that consists of a wire loop, magnet and brush. This is useful for removing wax and dirt from hard-to-reach nooks and crannies in the hearing aids, and the magnet aids in battery removal. If a multi-tool is not available, each component is usually available separately.
Patients should apply hairspray and facial lotions prior to inserting their hearing aids. The same applies to face washing.
Even with routine care and maintenance, hearing aids might still cease functioning normally on occasion. Before taking them in for repair, steps can be taken at home that might resolve the problem.
- If there is feedback or whistling when the hearing aids are inserted, try removing and reinserting them to see if that solves the problem. If not, earwax might have accumulated and clogged the ports; cleaning them thoroughly with a multi-tool or wax pick should help.
- If the sound is distorted or unclear, the battery or contacts might be dirty or corroded. Cleaning the battery surfaces or replacing the battery might resolve the problem. Sometimes merely opening and closing the battery compartment door will help. The user should make sure the device hasn’t inadvertently been switched to T-coil mode.
- If there is no sound at all, the patient should make sure the battery isn’t dead. Alternatively, they can check for a clogged microphone or sound outlet, or try changing the wax filter.
If these tips do not solve the problem, the hearing aids should be brought in for repair. Cost will depend on what is damaged, which replacement parts are needed and whether the device is still under warranty.