Care And Maintenance

Care And Maintenance

Maintaining what counts–Daily Equipment Care

Each part of the amplification system needs to be cared for and properly maintained. Care and maintenance should be discussed during the fitting appointment. Maintaining and caring for your hearing instrument extends its life expectancy and provides for long-term trouble-free functioning.

How to care for your hearing instrument:

  • Handle with care.
  • Store in a safe place that’s dry and cool.
  • Change hearing aid batteries often so they don’t suddenly run out of power.
  • Switch off when you’re not using it. If you don’t use it for a long period of time, remove the battery.
  • Battery contacts should be cleaned regularly. Use a cotton swab, taking care not to bend the contacts. Dirty battery contacts can cause improper device function.
  • Remove earwax to prevent temporary malfunction or permanent damage.
  • Clean using the small brush or the soft cloth that came with it. Never insert tools into the sound outlet. Doing so could damage the receiver. If you can’t clean the hearing device completely, ask your hearing professional for help.
  • Change filters often so they don’t collect wax or dirt.
  • Accumulated earwax may prevent sounds from traveling from the hearing aid into the middle ear. Contact your doctor regularly to have your ear canals cleaned. Never remove the earwax from the ear yourself. Doing so could damage your ear.
  • Don’t wear your hearing device in the shower, swimming, when using a hair dryer, hair spray or other types of spray
  • It is recommended that you make an annual 6 month deep cleaning appointment with your hearing health care professional

Maintaining and Caring for your Hearing Instrument Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I recently purchased a set of in-the-ear hearing aids. I want to be sure that I am caring for them properly. What should I do to clean them?

A: When you remove the hearing aids at night, the first thing you should do is carefully wipe them down with a dry soft cloth or tissue. Next, inspect the portion of the device that fits down into the ear canal. If you observe earwax accumulating at the end of the aid, you will need to remove this. Most manufacturers will provide you with a cleaning tool, which may be in the form of a brush, wire pick or combination of both. Carefully, remove the wax. Using the brush provided for you, carefully brush around and in the plastic tubing to clear out the wax. Some patients find that using an old toothbrush is an effective method for wax removal. Many times using the wire pick may force the wax deeper into the channel. Finally, open the battery door and place the hearing instruments in their case. Many have an independent on/off switch. It is still advisable to open the battery door to allow air to enter the device and assist in reducing the effects of moisture that may accumulate when the aids are in the ear canal. It also helps prolong battery life.

Q: I have a behind-the-ear style hearing aid. Is the cleaning procedure any different for this type of aid?

A: The basic cleaning procedure is the same. The only real difference is that there is earmold, which is made of Lucite or silicone. Since, this the non-electronic portion of the hearing aid, you may wash the earmold with a mild soap and water. Many patients will actually disconnect the earmold from the device and place in a soapy bath for a few minutes. Make sure the earmold is dry and pay special attention to the earmold tubing to be sure no water is trapped. If it is, simply blow on the end of the tubing to clear the water before reattaching the earmold to the device. Remember to have the tubing replaced every 3-6 months, as it begins to lose its flexibility.

Q: Is it advisable to use alcohol swabs or cleaning solvents on the hearing device?

A: No, do not use solvents or alcohol on the hearing device as there is a possibly that they can breakdown the hearing aid material. There are special sprays you can purchase that are designed specifically for cleaning and disinfecting. Talk to your hearing healthcare professional about these products.

Q: What precautions can I take to ensure that my hearing instruments will operate properly?

A: I usually describe this in my “List of Don’ts”:
Don’t allow the hearing instrument to become wet. Avoid showering, bathing, or going into the swimming pool or sauna with them in your ears.
Don’t place hearing instruments in direct heat. It is tempting sometimes to place a damp hearing device in the microwave or conventional oven. Unfortunately, the heat will damage them. To dry them, simply open the battery door and allow it to dry out on its own or hold a hair dryer 18 to 24 inches from the device and direct warm air toward the aid for approximately 5-10 minutes. There are also special dehumidifiers or desiccants available that do a wonderful job in drying out the hearing device. Talk to your hearing health care professional about these items. Remember never store the hearing instruments near direct sunlight or a heat source. Do not store them in your car during hot days.
Don’t drop the hearing instrument. If it falls on a carpet, rug or upholstered furniture it usually will not cause the aid any harm. Hard floored surfaces or counter tops have the potential of damaging the hearing instruments. Many individuals will start with a pillow on their laps or a towel on the table or counter while they are learning to insert them in their ears.
Don’t use hairsprays, creams or gels on your hair while wearing the hearing aids. These materials can clog the microphone and even begin to break down the plastic of the hearing aid case. Use your hair products first and then insert the hearing instruments.
Don’t store your hearing instruments where young children or pets can reach them. Pets can destroy your investment in a matter of seconds. Young children like to experiment with them and can accidentally swallow the batteries. If hearing aid batteries are swallowed immediately notify the doctor and call the National Button Battery Hotline collect at (202) 625-3333.

Q: How does earwax affect the performance of the hearing instrument?

A: First, the wax can clog the microphone or receiver and thereby block sound to the ear. This is easily remedied by following the procedures described above. A large accumulation of earwax can also cause the device to have feedback or whistling. This is because earwax can be a very dense material. The amplified signal from the instrument bounces off the wax and back to the device where it is re-amplified and causes the whistling. It’s a little like throwing a rubber ball against a cement wall. Your hearing care professional should examine your hearing device and check the ear canals for wax at least every 6 months.

Q: My hearing aid needs to be repaired but I did not purchase it from you. Can you help me?

A: We offer repair for all brands regardless of whether you purchased it from our company. Call our office and schedule your hearing aid repair services.