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Hearing Aid Maintenance Tips From Our Experts - Plus, how to clean hearing aids at home

Updated 27/07/2022

Hearing Aid Maintenance

Hearing Aid Maintenance Tools

Plus, how to clean a hearing aid

 

 Why is hearing aid maintenance important?

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.  Here, we go through the most important things to know about looking after your hearing aids. 

 

Quick links to other useful information regarding hearing aid maintenance:

►Click here to read about hearing aid troubleshooting

►Click here to read about hearing aid batteries

►Click here to read about how to get used to your hearing aids

►Click here to read about ear wax removal

 

Hearing aid maintenance apps

Unitron announced their '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 2022 and beyond.

Since then this in-built hearing aid maintenance app concept has evolved and hearing aid manufacturers like Starkey and Phonak have developed 'healthable' apps, called the myPhonak and Thrive, that will give you your battery status and allow you to set reminders to charge your devices or to take your medication for example.

Your hearing aid devices are switched on and support 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 aid maintenance and troubleshooting

How To Get Moisture Out Of Your Hearing Aids

Hearing aid moisture

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.

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.

Dirt and dust is bad for your hearing aids

hearing aid cleaners and how to care for hearing aids

Hearing aids and dirt

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.

Hearing aids and makeup and toiletries

The small particles that are in makeup and hairspray can block the hearing aid microphone's input and volume control access.  With this in mind, remove your hearing aids before you use any of these products.

Hearing aids and 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.


Hearing Aid Maintenance And Troubleshooting

Hearing Aids Maintenance

How do you clean hearing aids?

 

It is important to store your hearing aids safely

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.

 

Drying and storing your hearing aid - Find a safe place!

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.

 

Cleaning agents and hearing aids

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 and tools

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 hearing aids

How To Clean Your Hearing Aids

Hearing aid cleaning kits

Cleaning your devices is the most important hearing aid service at home - and it's quick and easy!  The good news is that most hearing aid manufacturers include hearing aid cleaning kits when you first purchase your hearing aids.

Get into a weekly routine of checking your hearing aids from the start and to make it even easier - here is how to clean both BTE hearing aids and ITE hearing aids separately.

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 them. 

The fragile nature of the technology within them can be destroyed when handled incorrectly and be, in some cases, irreparable. 

Can your audiologist help you with your hearing aid maintenance?

hearing aids cleaning supplies

Your audiologist can also advise and support you on how to care for hearing aids by talking you through:

  • The general cleaning of hearing aids and how to disinfect hearing aids at home.
  • Hearing aid maintenance kits and hearing aid maintenance tools.
  • Hearing aid cleaning accessories, like hearing aid dehumidifiers.
  • A hearing aid maintenance program going forward and how they can identify what hearing aid service and repair you need.
  • Hearing aid service at home or an in-clinic hearing aid service and repair.

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.


how to clean your hearing aids

Cleaning Hearing Aids

Cleaning tools for hearing aids

 

What hearing aid cleaning tools are available?

Earwax and moisture are the main reasons why hearing aids are returned to be repaired.  Hearing aids are classed as medical devices, that is why caring for hearing aids is important.  They need to be maintained with the right know-how and tools. 

Now there are plenty of cleaning and hygiene solutions for hearing aids on the market today that are universal and cater to all hearing aid brands.  The Audinell cleaning and hygiene solutions, which have been developed and created by Widex are great examples.

All products are certified ISO 13485, which basically means that they are 100% safe and compliant with your hearing devices.  This range offers hearing aid care and hearing aid cleaning solutions at home for all brands, not just Widex devices.

 

How to dry your hearing aids

You can purchase hearing aid drying systems (or hearing aid dehumidifiers) online or through your audiologist that are easy to use.  These systems don't use drying capsules, they use a forced-air heating process to dry your hearing aids, whilst taking away humidity and condensation.  They also take away any 99% of bacteria - usually with 360 degree UV-C rays.

 


How to clean hearing aid earmolds

How To Clean Hearing Aid Molds

How to clean a hearing aid earmold and how to clean hearing aid tubes

Hearing aid cleaning wipes are user-friendly and can come individually packed.  They are usually aviation regulation compliant, which means they are great to use when travelling or on the go.  The hearing aid cleaning wipes include a surface-active agent that successfully dissolves any dirt, dust or earwax on your hearing aids.  These are particularly useful on ITE hearing aid devices.

How do I clean the wax out of my hearing aid?

You can now get cleaning spray with a brush attached.  This does the same thing as above, but the brush means you can get to the difficult-to-reach places. These brushes usually have an anti-rotation feature so you can use them more easily and carefully, so it is effectively impossible to damage your devices whilst cleaning.

If you are looking at how to clean hearing aid microphones, this brush is a great tool to remove dust and dirt safely.

How to clean my hearing aids - Hearing aids cleaning at home

Clean Hearing Aid Tube

How to clean hearing aid molds and clean hearing aid tubes

Place your hearing aid earmold and tube in warm soapy water for around fifteen minutes.  Take them out and place them on a clean towel to air dry.  

Hearing aid cups

You can also use hearing aid cleaning cups and hearing aid cleaning tablets too. Simply place your molds and tubes into the cup, fill with warm water and add a cleaning tablet and soak for thirty minutes.  Then take them out and place them on a clean towel to air dry before using them again.  These cups allow you to safely store your hearing aids safely while they are being cleaned.



Hearing Aid Maintenance Tips At Home

How to Clean Different Hearing Aid Styles

How to clean BTE hearing aids

 

Cleaning the shell and speaker unit of BTE hearing aids

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.

 

Cleaning the tubes of BTE hearing aids

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.

 

Cleaning the earmold of RIC hearing aids

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.

 How to clean BTE hearing aids

Cleaning the earmolds of BTE hearing aids 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.

 

How To Clean Your ITE Hearing Aids

Cleaning Your Hearing Aids

How to clean ITE hearing aids

 

Cleaning the shell of ITE hearing aids

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.

 

Cleaning the sound outlets of ITE hearing aids

Using your cleaning brush, slowly and carefully take away any dirt from the sound outlet opening, as you twist the brush.

 

Cleaning the ventilation of ITE hearing aids

Press the cleaning brush lightly through the hole and twist slowly to get rid of any unwanted dirt or dust.

How to cleaning your ITE hearing aids

Hearing Aid Maintenance and Care Checklist

What is the best way to clean hearing aids?

 

What is important to remember when looking after your hearing aids?

 

Looking for hearing aid maintenance or hearing aid cleaning near me?

Your audiologist can support you with your hearing aid maintenance and cleaning.  They can also educate you on where to buy hearing aid cleaning kits if they can't source them for you - which is unlikely. 

We are happy to chat about any hearing healthcare enquiries.  You might even be looking to upgrade your existing hearing aids or are new to hearing aids and would like some advice- 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.

 

Quick links to other information about hearing aid maintenance:

►Click here to read about hearing aid troubleshooting

►Click here to read about hearing aid batteries

►Click here to read about ear wax removal

►Click here to read about how to get used to your hearing aids



This page was written by Paul Harrison, Audiology Expert

Meet Paul Harrison, Audiology Expert & Founder of Hearing Aid UK

Managing Director & founder of Hearing Aid UK, with over 20 years of audiology experience and a member of the British Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists Council (BSHAA) between 2015-2020.

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