How to Make Hearing Aids Last Longer
Like any other electronic device, hearing instruments will from time to time fail you. Hearing instruments are made of tiny, delicate components which in most cases, are sitting inside a warm, moist, and oily environment (your ears), for up to 18 hours a day. This kind of exposure leads to vulnerabilities in various hearing aid components over time. It’s inevitable- your hearing aids are going to break, and they certainly won’t last forever. For more on this, see How long do hearing aids last? However, with a little know-how, you can greatly reduce the number of repairs needed, and ultimately expand the life of your hearing instrument.
Probably the most beneficial thing you can do for your hearing aids (on a daily basis) is keep them free of moisture. A hearing aid drying container will help keep moisture from building up inside the aids, and will make them last longer. Made by Serene Innovations, the top rated hearing aid dryer on Amazon is the Renew Hearing Aid Dryer and Freshener. One of the best things about this device in particular, unlike many others, is it does not use dessicants (drying agents), which need to be replaced from time to time- so there is no recurring cost with this product. In addition, it utilizes a powerful UV light which prevents bacteria growth that can cause itchy ears.
Another thing you’ll want to do daily is check for wax buildup in the various parts of the hearing instrument, and then properly remove that wax. The keyword there is “properly.” Many people will try to remove this wax buildup, and end up damaging their hearing aid. Your hearing provider should have gone over how to do this, but below is a few links to some very helpful cleaning tutorials on YouTube.
If you wear a custom molded in-the-ear device (not behind-the-ear), the above video on how to clean custom hearing aids really covers all the bases. I would only change a few things that video recommends. First, when preparing to clean your aid, don’t wipe it down with any kind of cloth that has moisture on it, just use a dry tissue. Secondly, brushing the faceplate as she has instructed will, over time, lead to an accumulation of various particle buildup on the microphone (where the sound comes in), leading that piece to need repair. In my opinion, when you brush that delicate microphone, even though it may look clean, you are really just moving wax and various particles around, and they are slowly building up on the mic because of that. I would suggest that it is better to gently clean around the faceplate with a dry tissue, and then using something like a nasal syringe to gently vacuum the particles out of the microphone.
If on the other hand, you wear a behind-the-ear device with a custom mold, you may be interested in the below video on how to clean behind-the-ear hearing aids.
That video pretty much covers it, but I would add one thing. If you are feeling extra “handy,” you can separate the tubing from the ear-hook on the aid, by gently pulling the joint apart, and then cleaning inside the actual tubing itself. Often times BTE hearing aids will stop working because there is some kind of “clog” in the tubing, and the sound can’t get past it. Using a nasal syringe to blow out that buildup, or something like fishing line to disrupt it, will often do the trick. You can then simply reattach the tubing to the ear hook with no problems.
Lastly, if you have a RIC behind-the-ear device, the below video on How to clean RIC hearing aids explains everything perfectly, and I would only add that instead of brushing the microphone (silver part) as shown in the video, first, use a dry tissue to clean it off, and then use a nasal syringe to suck particles up and out of there instead.
By doing all these things, and also taking the hearing aid in to your provider for at least bi-annual professional cleanings, you should be able to really extend the life of your hearing aids. Keep in mind that like anything else, you can do everything right, and things can still go wrong. Just know that by doing the above-mentioned things, you are greatly improving your chances of having a long-lasting hearing devices, and that is all you can do.
If you or a loved one would like a free phone consultation with a licensed hearing provider, please feel free to call us at 800-731-6794.