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Hearing Aid Maintenance: Keeping Your Devices in Top Shape

Published 06-08-2019
Last Updated 09-08-2019

Looking to prolong the life of your hearing aids? Here are some simple ways to keep your devices functioning better for longer.
Written by Annie L. Messmer, Doctor of Audiology

Your hearing aids are valuable pieces of technology. These small wonders of technology often operate within your ear canal; there they are exposed to moisture and earwax – which can accumulate over time and wear your device down faster.

They're no small purchase, so you'll want to treat them with even more attention and care than you would give to your cell phone or computer. Earwax, dirt, hair and skin care products, and germs can slow your devices down. If you implement the advice below into your daily routine, you will ensure your hearing aids are looking and working their best for as long as possible.

The gentle touch

  • Avoid exposing your hearing aids to extreme temperatures or moisture.
  • Always take your hearing aids out before showering/bathing, swimming, using a sauna or hot tub, or using a hairdryer.
  • When removing your hearing aids, do so over a table or counter-top in order to reduce the distance they would fall if you were to accidentally drop them. Some people find it helpful to put a small towel on the counter first in case you accidentally drop your hearing aids or batteries. They are less likely to bounce away this way.
  • Never use water or any other liquid to clean your hearing aids; dry tissues work just fine.
  • You should regularly clean the sound outlet, microphone opening, and vent using either a soft cloth or the cleaning brush supplied with your hearing aid. Be sure to remove any ear wax that accumulates around the sound outlet.

Wax on, wax out

  • Make sure never to insert anything into the microphone itself.
  • In-the-ear hearing aids will naturally have more wax build-up than other types of hearing aids.
  • Check for wax build up and any dirt that has accumulated each time you remove your hearing aids.
  • If your hearing aid has a wax guard (a filter in the sound outlet that prevents wax and dirt from entering the sound channel), make sure to clean it regularly and change it as needed. How often you need to change it will depend on how much earwax you produce; everyone is different.
    wax cleaner, wax guard, hearing aid maintenance 
  • The best way to clean earwax from inside the device is to use a miniature cleaning brush on the microphone ports, venting, and any other holes. You may also use a vent cleaner to keep the vent of the hearing aid open. It's just a little wire that you push through the vent to clear out any wax.

D.I.Y. vs. Pro

Some fixes, however, are best solved by your hearing aid professional. Generally, issues relating to hearing aid performance should not be solved at home with DIY tools. For example, if you begin to hear distorted sounds, audio feedback, or other serious issues, make sure to bring your hearing aids to a professional to inspect them.

Do you know how often you should have checked? The answer: At least once a year, preferably twice. You get your eyes checked once a year and get your teeth checked every six months – but you probably haven’t thought to check your hearing in a long time. If you, a friend, or loved one is experiencing difficulty hearing, we highly recommend a conversation with a hearing professional.

About the Author

Annie L. Messmer, Au.D.
Dr. Annie Messmer is a certified audiologist with a degree from Northwestern University and over 10 years of experience working with patients of all ages. She has also trained numerous hearing care professionals on audiology best practices and the latest hearing technology.