Hearing Aid Cleaning
Hearing aids are small electronic devices that are worn in conditions that can be hostile to the electronics – warm, damp and usually waxy. The manufacturers have continually improved the reliability of their hearing aids with nano-coating to resist moisture; and guards to keep wax out of the components.
Keeping your devices clean can help prevent wear and tear, extend the life of your technology, and keep you hearing clearly.
We encourage you to develop a good daily clean and care routine, paying particular attention to the components that are most exposed: the receivers (speakers) and the microphones.
Note: Never use alcohol, solvents or other cleaning agents on your hearing aids. There are special care products, wipes and sprays (to put on a cloth, not the hearing aid itself) that can be used
The tools that come with you hearing aids include:
- Wax brush
- A wax loop
- A cloth
- Wax guards
- Dry-aid kit — a container with drying crystals to absorb moisture and can be reactivated by heat.
The brush, either the brush that came with your hearing aids or a toothbrush (without toothpaste!) works best in the morning after the wax and other debris have had time to become dry and flaky and is more easily brushed off.
The wax loop works best at night when your hearing aids are removed because the sticky wax will cling to the loop. Since wax guards have become more common and effective for the In-the-Ear and Receiver-in-the-Ear styles, there isn’t as much need to use the wax loop. But it is still very useful for the Behind-the-Ear style aids.
We wish we could tell you how often you will have to change your wax guards, but each person is different. If you can still see wax after brushing, if you can’t hear well, if you can’t make the hearing aid whistle when you cup it in your hand, it is probably time to change the wax guard.
Other products you may find useful include
- Electric Dehumidifier: Designed for the maintenance and storage of all types of hearing aids. The device is a maintenance chamber that dries and disinfects your devices. This process kills fungi and bacteria, and it greatly reduces itching and the chance of infections.
- Cleansing Wipes: Cleansing wipes contain a surface-active agent that is effective against earwax but doesn’t damage hearing aids, helping to facilitate the daily cleaning of your hearing aids.
- Cleaning Spray: Cleaning spray is specially designed to dissolve earwax quickly, which helps improve sound quality without damaging hearing aids. Cleaning sprays also help prevent skin irritation and eczema.
- Tubing Air Blower: To use with behind-the-ear hearing aids that deliver sound into the ear canal through a tube. A drop of moisture will block sound.
How to clean your hearing aids depends upon the style of hearing aid you have. Both in-the-ear (ITE) and reciever-in-the-canal (RIC) styles have an electronic component in the ear cancal. A behind-the-ear (BTE) style has an earmold that can be submerged in water — NOTE: just the earmold, not the entire hearing aid — and cleaned with certain solutions or soap; while that would be detrimental to an ITE device. Ask your audiologist what the best practices are for cleaning your specific hearing aid style.
For all styles of Hearing Aids:
- Wash your hands and make sure they are dry before cleaning hearing aids.
- Work over a soft surface to prevent losing or breaking anything that might fall.
- Be extra mindful when cleaning, handling each piece with care.
- Turn technology upside down so debris will fall out rather than get pushed back in.
- If earwax is something that continues to be an issue, ask your audiologist about having your ears professionally cleaned.
- NEVER put your hearing aid in water or use a soaking wet cloth.
When you take your hearing aids out at night:
- Clean the case or the shell of your device with a soft cloth. If there are particularly difficult parts, you can use a damp cloth to help remove the debris.
- Pay particular attention to the part of your hearing aid that goes into your ear. The most common reason hearing aids don’t work is because they have become clogged with wax, so you will want to be careful and thorough when scooping out debris. Use the wax loop to scoop out any wax that has accumulated, but be careful not to damage the wax guard (for ITE and RIC styles). If you have Behind-the-Ear style hearing aids with earmold, and the earmold is so clogged with wax that you can’t reach it with the wax loop, please ask your audiologist for instructions about cleaning.
- When done, keep the battery doors open and store in the hearing aid case overnight. Even better, a dehumidifier is more effective in removing moisture from your technology, helping it last longer.
In the morning, use the brush to clean the microphone openings and remove any remaining wax and debris that you notice on the case and again on any parts that go into your ear. If the wax guard still looks clogged, replace it with a new one. Close the battery doors and you’re ready to hear the day.