Why is hearing aid maintenance important?
Here, we go through the most important things to know about looking after your hearing aids. It is vital that you are consistent with your hearing aid maintenance throughout the life of the device(s). This will help them to stay in good working order and deliver the best hearing experience possible. It also reduces problematic everyday hiccups. Although they are made of sturdy stuff, hearing aids are still unable to withstand improper use.
Hearing Aid Maintenance Apps
Unitron announced their new 'Coach' App in mid-2020, which was designed to help new users with their hearing aid management. A virtual PA system that will send you notifications on when to clean your devices and when to charge your batteries. A simple concept, but a massive step in increasing confidence in hearing aid users and also promoting essential maintenance to prolong the life of the devices. I think these apps will only increase as we head into 2021 and beyond.
Your hearing aid devices are switched on and supporting your hearing throughout your day, so it's important to look after them. Below we have lots of useful tips on how to keep your hearing aids in good working order and how to take care of them properly.
Hearing aids don’t like moisture, therefore always take off your hearing aids before bathing or swimming and store them in a safe place. Because of the high ambient humidity of a bathroom, make sure that the safe place is away from such an environment.
Get into the routine of cleaning your ears regularly before putting in your hearing aids, as to avoid any sweat or other types of moisture getting into the devices. Moisture and condensation can damage the technology within the aids, so we advise that you leave the battery compartment open each night to let the area naturally air out or, alternatively, use a digital hearing aid dehumidifier.
Ensure that you clean your hands of any grease and dirt before you touch your hearing aids. Hearing aid microphones are so small that they can easily become blocked and, therefore, reduce the quality and clarity of the sound you hear.
Makeup and toiletries
The small particles that are in makeup and hairspray can block hearing aid microphones input and volume control access. With this in mind, remove your hearing aids before you use any of these products.
Children and pets
When you are not wearing your hearing aids store them safely out of reach from children and pets. If you don’t deactivate your hearing aids when you are not using them the high sounds might irritate and upset some dogs.
When maintaining your hearing aids, cloths are important
Every time you are cleaning or changing your battery, make sure you put the device(s) on a clean soft cloth. This avoids damaging your hearing aids if you drop them by accident.
When you are not wearing your hearing aids ensure that they are stored within your case or drying set. This will protect them from damage, dust and dirt. If you are planning on not using them for a longer period of time – remove your batteries.
If you think your hearing aids have moisture inside, and you’re unable to solve the issue by wiping them dry, try using a dehumidifier overnight. A dehumidifier can be hugely beneficial to the life of your hearing aids - they are a great investment! Remember to pack your case and dehumidifier when travelling, so you can maintain great hearing aid management wherever you are.
Why is keeping your hearing aids dry important?
Hearing aids are made of sturdy stuff but they are still very sensitive to moisture, heat and radiation. This means that you should avoid leaving them in the bathroom or in the kitchen near something warm or hot.
For your hearing aids to continue to work to their full potential they need to be regularly cleaned. Use a soft, dry cloth and refrain from using alcohol, solvents or any other cleaning products. You can purchase or be advised on special cleaning products from your audiologist that is safe to use. Your audiologist is there to manage your hearing, but also there to help you take care of your devices and check them for ear wax, moisture and clean accordingly.
Hearing Aid Maintenance Kits
Some hearing aid manufacturers include hearing aid maintenance kits when you initially purchase your hearing aids. This will obviously not last forever, so speak to your audiologist who will be able to order more tools to help maintain your hearing aid devices going forward. You can also purchase hearing aid maintenance kits online.
Cleaning your devices is the most important hearing aid service at home - and it's quick and easy! To make it even easier here is how to clean both BTE hearing aids and ITE hearing aids separately.
BTE Hearing Aids - Cleaning the shell and speaker unit
You should wipe down the external parts of your hearing aid every day with a dry, soft cloth. You should also change your hearing aid tubes about every five to six months - unless stated differently by your audiologist.
Alternatively, you can use alcohol-free wet wipes to clean the body of the instrument, but ensure no excess water gets into your hearing aids. After you have cleaned your devices, leave them to dry for about one hour.
Most hearing aids come with a filter or other device to stop wax from getting into the hearing aid. However, these need to be checked regularly and replaced if necessary.
BTE Hearing Aids - Cleaning the tube
The thin hearing aid tube needs to be cleaned regularly to clear any moisture and wax. If this is not done then the wax will build up inside and you will not be able to hear at your best or at all.
Remove the tube from your hearing aid and use the cleaning tool that you got with your hearing aid initially (however these can be purchased via your audiologist) to pull through the tube slowly until it comes through the other end. Wipe the end of the tool with a clean, soft cloth and pull back through again.
BTE Hearing Aids - Cleaning the earmold (RIC)
Earmolds for RIC styles of hearing aids should not be separated from the device, as they contain electronics and should not be submerged in water. However, it should be cleaned regularly and the wax guard should be replaced when clogged or when the sound is missing clarity.
Wipe the earmold clean with a dry cloth and the ventilation opening using the cleaning tool or brush that came with your hearing aids. Push the brush through the hole and twist slowly to clean.
BTE Hearing Aids - Cleaning the earmold (BTE - With a hook)
Earmolds without speakers are used on BTE hearing aid devices and they, like any other, should be kept clean. Unlike RIC earmolds, these can be detached and washed. Use a soft cloth to clean the surface of the earmold and use your tool to clean the opening.
Follow by washing your earmolds with mild soap, rinse and leave to dry. Ensure the earmold is fully dry before reconnecting to the hearing aid.
ITE Hearing Aids - Cleaning the shell
Wipe down the hearing aids outer shell with a dry, soft cloth or use an alcohol-free wet wipe to take away any moisture or dirt.
ITE Hearing Aids - Cleaning the sound outlet
Using your cleaning brush, slowly and carefully take away any dirt from the sound outlet opening, as you twist the brush.
ITE Hearing Aids - Cleaning the ventilation
Press the cleaning brush lightly through the hole and twist slowly to get rid of any unwanted dirt or dust.
Expert help with hearing aid cleaning and repair
If you are having any problems with your hearing aids, always go back to your audiologist and they will organise an assessment of the devices and repair if needed. Screwdrivers and various types of oil can be detrimental to hearing aids and cause all sorts of damage, therefore please avoid it. The fragile nature of the technology within them can be destroyed when handled incorrectly and be, in some cases, irreparable.
They can also advise and support you with:
Your device repairs may or may not come under your manufacturer's warranty. It all depends on the level of damage or repair needed. However, hearing aid maintenance costs should be free of charge under most warranty or insurance policies.
Below are a few hearing aid maintenance troubleshooting problems you might come across on your hearing aid journey. We have chosen the most common ones - stating the probable cause and the appropriate solution.
Why are my hearing aids not working / why are my hearing aids dead?:
a) Hearing aid not turned on >> Turn on the hearing aid device.
b) Battery is dead >> Change your hearing aid battery or charge your battery.
c) Battery isn't inserted properly >> Take out the battery and reinsert it correctly.
d) Blocked wax filter >> Change the wax filter yourself or consult with your audiologist who will help you.
e) Damaged microphone or receiver wire damaged >> Consult with your audiologist who will repair your device(s).
Why is the sound from my hearing aids not clear?
a) Low battery >> Change the battery or charge it.
b) Reciever wire has been inserted incorrectly >> Consult your audiologist who will help you correct the problem if you have trouble reinserting the wire.
c) Hearing aid is damaged >> Consult your audiologist who will repair your hearing aids for you.
Why am I getting a lot of whistling from my hearing aids / why am I getting a lot of feedback from my hearing aids?
a) Hearing aid isn't in your ear properly >> Re-insert your hearing aid carefully.
b) Hearing aid programmes aren't beneficial to your hearing loss >> Consult your audiologist who will adjust your hearing aid settings.
Hearing Aid Maintenance Near Me
We are here to support you with your hearing aid maintenance and any other hearing healthcare enquiries. You might also be looking to upgrade your existing hearing aids or new to hearing aids - either way, we can look after you.
Our audiology experts can advise you and put you in touch with your local audiologist. Call us free on 0800 567 7621 today to speak to our professionals.
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When we refer to a product as 'New', we mean that the product is new to the market.
When we refer to a product as 'Superseded', we mean that there is a newer range available which replaces and improves on this product.
When we refer to a product as an 'Older Model', we mean that it is has been superseded by at least two more recent hearing aid ranges.