Hearing aids can quickly become an integral piece of everyday life, and dealing with repairs is a hassle worth avoiding. Considering the harsh environment that hearing aids are constantly exposed to (i.e. the hot and humid environment of the ear canal), it’s inevitable that they’ll eventually require servicing, but there are some practices you can adopt to extend their use before needing to bring them in. While caring for your hearing aids, keep these useful tips in mind:
When not in use, the best place to keep your hearing aids is in their presentation case or drying kit to protect them from any falls or impacts. Be sure to keep them out of the reach of children and pets, as animals tend to seek them out due to their human scent. It’s also wise to leave the battery door open to avoid draining the battery when not being used.
Even though your hearing aids are designed to withstand moisture to a certain degree, they are not completely waterproof and moisture seeping into the inner circuitry can cause them to stop working. Moisture from sweat or mild rain are usually not enough to cause problems, but avoid showering, bathing, swimming, or any other wet activity with your hearing aids in. They also cannot be submerged in water or left in a very humid space (such as the bathroom). If you see moisture or condensation inside the tube of a standard BTE hearing aid, a simple tube blower (available from your hearing professional) can be used to dry it out. If you’re concerned that your hearing aids may have gotten too wet, immediately remove the batteries and place your hearing aids in a dry kit.
The delicate technology that makes hearing aids so effective is sensitive to knocks and drops. Avoid any potentially harmful impacts by taking extra precautions when handling them. It’s a good practice to hold them over a soft surface when cleaning them or replacing their batteries. Even laying a small towel on the tabletop while working with them is enough to soften their landing should they slip.
Exposing your hearing aids to extreme changes in temperature can accelerate their demise. Heat, especially, can damage your hearing aids, so be wary of letting them get too hot. Avoid having them exposed to direct sunlight for too long, setting them down near heaters, or leaving them in a car parked in the sun.
Keep Them Clean
It’s important to keep your hearing aids clean if you want to extend their life. Gently clean them on a regular basis to prevent small particles of dust and dirt from building up and impairing their function. Use a soft and dry cloth to wipe them down thoroughly when you take your hearing aids out each morning before putting them in.
It’s also important to keep your ear canal as clean as possible, to prevent too much ear wax from building up on your earmolds. Ear wax is made up of corrosive salts and bodily acids, and is the main reason for hearing aid repairs across users. It doesn’t help that the ears tend to produce more earwax in response to wearing hearing aids. Earmolds can be taken off and washed with a gentle soap, but it’s important to make sure they are completely dry before reattaching them to the hearing aids. Forced air blowers (not hair dryers) can be used to speed their drying time.
Protect from Chemicals
It’s easy to forget how many chemicals are a part of our daily lives, but everything from perfume to lotions and cosmetics pose a risk of interfering with your hearing aids’ delicate inner workings. Be conscious of using any chemicals near your hearing aids. Remove them before applying lotion around the ears, spraying hairspray, applying aftershave, or putting on cosmetics near the ears. Replace them once these products have dried, and be sure to clean your hands before touching them. Remember: the cleaner you keep your hearing aids, the longer they’ll last.
Taking care of your hearing aids can extend their life and usefulness, and delay any eventual repairs. By incorporating these best practices in maintaining your hearing aids, you should be able to extend their lifetime beyond the average 5 years that users tend to get out of each new pair. Indeed, there are hearing aids providing useful service for 10 and even 15 years after purchase.