Cleaning and Maintenance
Buying hearing aids is a big decision. Once you’ve purchased them, you need to invest some time into ensuring you get the best out of these devices, to make sure they last a long time. Step 7 was all about wearing your hearing aids successfully, but there’s more to getting the best out of your hearing aids – care and maintenance will improve the life-expectancy of your devices. Looking after your hearing aids will also lead to less frustration as you’ll find they won’t break down. Like your car, hearing aids need attention to ensure longevity. With regular maintenance, the life-expectancy of good quality, advanced technology hearing aids is between three to seven years.
Cleaning your hearing aids daily is a good place to start. Your devices are exposed to dust, wax, moisture sweat and skin oils every time you put them on. They will also be subjected to harsh sunlight (especially in Australia) and other weather conditions. When you receive your hearing aids your clinician will have shown you how to clean them. You should also have been given the tools to do this correctly. This is your Hearing Aid Care Kit. In this kit you’ll find the implements to clean and care for your hearing aid. Depending on the style of your hearing aid, the kit may include:
- Cleaning cloth
- Cleaning brush/tool with wire pick
- Long thin wire (hole punch)
- Spare wax filters (sometimes called wax guards)
- Removal tools (for wax filters and/or disposable batteries)
- Spare disposable batteries (for non-rechargeable hearing aids)
- Extra domes (soft rubber earpiece that fits over the speaker for some BTE devices)
Your daily hearing aid cleaning regime should include the following steps:
Behind the Ear hearing aid:
- Wipe over earmould/earpiece with cleaning cloth (or alcohol wipe if you have one).
- Clean the holes in the earmould - for the vent, use the hole punch and push through the vent, to clear of any debris. For the sound bore use the wire pick on the cleaning tool, to remove any visible wax.
- Use the brush to lightly brush over microphone and all buttons on the back of the hearing aid piece. Use the brush to clean the battery compartment.
In the Ear hearing aid:
- Wipe over earmould with cleaning cloth (or alcohol wipe if you have one).
- Brush over the faceplate to clean any debris from microphone. Open up the battery door and brush out any build-up you can see.
- Remove the wax filter if required (see Changing a wax filter).
- If you have a vent, use the hole punch to clear of any wax or debris by passing it through the vent.
If you have a Hearing Aid Dry Kit (sometimes called a dehumidifier), place your hearing aid in this overnight to keep it free from moisture.
These few simple steps will help keep your hearing aids in good working order. If you’ve forgotten how to do any of the cleaning processes you can either go back to your hearing clinic and ask for a refresher, check your hearing aid user’s manual or, if you use a smartphone app with your hearing aid, check to see if there are any helpful videos on cleaning your device in the app.
Apart from daily cleaning, you should also get your hearing aids cleaned professionally a couple of times a year, via a regular maintenance schedule.
Take your hearing aids into the clinic and ask your clinician to thoroughly check and clean them. This may take up to half an hour for a detailed clean.
All components of the aid will be checked for wax and dead skin cells. Simple procedures – like cleaning the battery contacts and replacing tubing can be completed quickly. But if your hearing aids needs minor maintenance carried out – like replacing battery doors, microphone covers or external speakers, the detailing may take a while.