Raincoats for behind-the-ear hearing aids:
Do you work in a greasy or dusty environment? Are you one of those people who perspire a lot, causing your battery and volume control to short out in a crescendo of static followed by sudden death? You can protect your behind-the-ear aids against moisture, perspiration, hair sprays, dirt, and grime with Ear Gear or Super Seals. Come in and see what they’re all about.
Hot weather, humidity and hearing aids:
Summer heat, humidity, and air conditioning can cause problems with hearing aids. Moisture collects in tubing, corrosion forms on contact points, and ears may produce more wax. You must inspect and clean your devices daily.
To help control moisture:
- If you perspire heavily, remove your aids mid-day, wipe off the aids and the battery, and blot the moisture from behind and/or inside your ear.
- Don’t keep hearing aids in the steamy bathroom.
- Use an inexpensive hearing aid saver dehumidifying kit nightly.
If you haven’t had your aids cleaned in the previous five months, be sure to schedule a service appointment before you leave on vacation. Also, be sure to take a supply of batteries, cleaning tools, and filters with you.
In hot summer months a frequent cause of failure in behind-the-ear aids is a droplet of moisture in the earmold tubing. It can cause distortion of sound and partial or total loss of power. This occurs more often in old tubing which has shrunk or become brittle. Retubing solves the problem.
What NOT to do with your hearing aids:
- Avoid leaving your aids in direct sunlight, glove compartments, or where excessive heat can build up.
- Do not attempt to dry your device in the microwave or with a hair dryer. Moisture will often evaporate on its own if the device is left open to dry.
- Avoid putting your hearing aids in your pockets; your hearing aid could fall through a hole, be mistakenly put in a washing machine, or thrown away with tissues when emptying your pockets.
- Never leave your aids where a pet can get to them. Not only might your dog or cat find them to be easy chew toys, a chewed up aid can harm your pet’s health in many ways.
Ear wax and hearing aids:
Besides the obvious problem of clogging up the sound port, excess wax can create a more subtle problem: it changes how you hear. Your ear has a natural resonance — even just a little wax in your ear canal totally changes how your aids sound.
Seven years may not seem that old, but in “hearing aid years,” it is ancient. On average, people replace hearing aids every 3 to 6 years. We typically classify the repair of aids over seven years old as a poor investment. In most cases, hearing levels have changed in seven years, as well as the shape of the bowl of the ear. Also, the reliability of a repair on an aid that old is often poor. When aids hit the 5-7 year range, many manufacturers charge more and reduce the warranty on the repair to 3 to 6 months.
Many patients ask why hearing aid batteries must be replaced every one to two weeks, while wristwatch batteries last a year or longer. Hearing aids draw more current from batteries than wristwatches do. A hearing aid battery must power a mini amplifier, microphone, speaker, and computer chip. Even though the two devices may use the same type of zinc air batteries, a hearing aid uses more energy each day. It is also common that two hearing aids that look the same and use the same size battery will have different battery life. This is dictated by the complexity of the circuitry, the type of hearing loss, the listening environment, and the number of hours per day the instruments are worn.
If you are storing a hearing aid unused for more than a week, be sure to remove the battery. Over a long period of time it can cause corrosion, resulting in a dead, intermittent, or scratchy-sounding aid, which may require lab repair. This is particularly important if you have “back-up” aids.
It’s all connected!
Did you know that losing as little as 5 to 8 pounds can cause your hearing aids to fit looser and whistle or feedback? Most people lose weight in their face (ears) first. Another common cause of feedback is a buildup of wax in your ear. A third frequent cause is major dental work, which can shift your jaw and affect motion in your ear while you talk or chew.
If your ears are clean and healthy and yet they itch, an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream like our Audiologist’s Choice Anti-Itch cream or an all natural Miracell Pro Ear oil may be the solution. It should only be used at night after you have removed your hearing aids.
Sometimes itching is due to skin dryness. A pure oil like olive oil or mineral oil is a good all-around choice for keeping ears lubricated. A few drops in the ear canal at bedtime will lubricate the skin and increase the tissue’s natural capacity to repel water. It is also ultrasafe.
Another great substance for keeping the skin lubricated is glycerin. Chemically, glycerin belongs to the alcohol family, and is one of the few chemicals that skin tissue can absorb, assimilate, and metabolize. Our Eargene, a cooling, soothing lotion for hearing aid users, contains a lot of glycerin, as well as cooling menthol. We also carry Otoease, a pure glycerin product in a convenient dropper bottle.
Those battery tabs make picking up hearing aid batteries easier and they can also help you keep track of battery life. Instead of simply throwing them away, why not put them on your calendar and you’ll instantly know when you last changed your batteries.
If your loved one is having difficulty following along when conversing, here are a few tips:
- Get his/her attention before you begin to speak.
- Speak slowly and distinctly, not necessarily louder.
- Do not shout or talk from another room.
- If he/she doesn’t understand, try saying it a different way.
- Avoid covering your mouth, chewing gum, or smoking.
- Hold your head still.
- Keep your face in the light.
- If it’s noisy, move to a quieter location and face each other.