Although your ears are self-cleaning and most generally don’t require much attention, your hearing aid is another story altogether. In order to keep it in proper working condition, you’ll want to clean it regularly. My advice is to get into the routine of taking it out and giving it a quick clean each night before you go to bed, and then a deeper clean either once a week or every other week.
You should also bring it to your audiologist for general maintenance. Ideally, you can do this during an annual or biannual hearing check, killing two birds with one stone. In the meantime, however, let’s discuss how you can care for your hearing aid in your day-to-day.
Before You Get Started
First thing’s first, read the manual that came with your hearing aid. More often than not, it will provide you with general advice and guidelines where maintenance is concerned. It can also help you determine specific design elements of your hearing aid which might impact your cleaning process.
*Different ear molds require a slightly different cleaning approach.
*Whether a hearing aid is in-the-ear or behind-the-ear has an impact on how it’s cleaned.
Beyond that, there is certain general advice that applies to virtually all hearing aids, regardless of make or model. We’ll start with what you shouldn’t do.
*Do not, under any circumstances, clean your hearing aid with liquids or wet wipes, unless they’re specifically formulated for hearing aids.
*Avoid prodding at the receiver or microphone.
*Don’t let debris get on or in any of the hearing aid’s ports.
*If your hearing aid features any external components like a tube, do not attempt to clean it without referencing the instructions in the manual.
*A hearing aid cleaning kit.
*Alternatively, the following items:
*A soft, clean cloth
*A cleaning brush
*A wax pick
*A disinfectant drying station/dehumidifier.
*Specialized hearing aid wipes.
Cleaning Your Hearing Aids At Home
Now that you have an idea of what not to do and have your cleaning supplies on hand, let’s get you started on the actual cleaning process.
1) Don a pair of disposable gloves before cleaning your hearing aid.
2) Using your cloth or brush, clean any obvious debris off your hearing aid.
3) If your hearing aid allows it, open the battery door.
4) Place your hearing aid in your drying station/disinfectant box overnight.
Weekly Deep Cleaning
1) Put on a pair of disposable gloves.
2) If your hearing aid has a removable battery, take it out.
3) Remove your earmold if it’s removable, and gently clean it. You can either use warm water or a specialized cleaning solution.
4) Replace your wax filter per instructions, if relevant. Be sure to clear out any wax that the filter didn’t catch.
5) Use your wax pick to clean any debris that wasn’t taken care of by your nightly cleaning.
6) Replace any other disposable components on your hearing aid per instructions.
7) Place the hearing aid in your drying station/disinfectant box, and leave any components you washed out to dry overnight.
Proper Maintenance is Key
Your hearing aid is like any other sophisticated piece of technology. It requires regular maintenance to be kept in peak operating condition. Fortunately, most of this can be handled at home, and for the rest, you can visit your audiologist.
About the Author:
Pauline Dinnauer is the VP of Audiological Care at Connect Hearing, which provides industry-leading hearing loss, hearing testing, and hearing aid consultation across the US.