Hearing aid devices could malfunction due to debris and build-up dirt inside the crevices and microphone. Properly caring for and cleaning them helps them function optimally and extends their lifespan for years.
In this ultimate guide to cleaning your hearing aids, we will help you understand the parts of your hearing aids, the tools you’ll need for cleaning them, and how to do it properly. By following these tips, you’ll keep your hearing devices in the best shape possible.
At Advanced Audiology Care in Old Bridge, New Jersey, we care about the state of your hearing devices and are happy to help you with any doubts or questions regarding properly using and cleaning them.
Understanding the Parts of Your Hearing Aids
Hearing aids are devices that amplify the sound vibrations that enter the ear. They are usually made up of a microphone, an amplifier, and a speaker. All of these components play an essential role in the device's functioning.
Depending on the type of hearing aid, its parts may range from the following:
- Microphone: The microphone converts the sound waves from the environment to electrical signals that the amplifier can then process.
- Amplifier: An amplifier increases the volume of the electrical signals and then sends them to the speaker.
- Speaker: The speaker ensures that the increased volume of the electrical signals reaches the ear.
- Battery: Most hearing devices use batteries to function properly. They are usually located in the ear dome that wraps around the ear or a mold that is inserted inside the ear.
- Volume control: Some hearing devices have volume control buttons that help manually adjust the intensity of sound.
- Ear dome: This is the plastic piece that holds the speaker and is wrapped around the ear
- Ear mold: An ear mold also holds the speaker in place but is placed inside the ear.
Understanding the parts of your hearing aids will help you determine the device areas you should pay special attention to and which could become easily damaged if mishandled.
Preparing for Cleaning
Before you start cleaning your hearing aid devices, you’ll need to prepare your workspace and tools. We recommend working on a clean, dry, and flat surface, like your desk, where you can place a mat or towel below your tools. Also, make sure that your hands are dry and clean.
Working in a padded area will prevent your device from getting damaged in case they slip or accidentally fall. Making sure your working equipment and workspace are clean will make sure no dust or moisture gets trapped into the microphone or other small compartments in your hearing aids.
Once that’s ready, have the tools you will need for cleaning handy and in place. You will need the following:
- Soft, dry cloth: You will need this to wipe down the surface of your hearing aids.
- Special cleaning solution: Do not use alcohol, solvents or harsh cleaning solutions.
- Wax pick: This tool will help you remove debris from the crevices of your device.
- Soft-bristle brush: A soft toothbrush or special hearing aid brush will help you clean the surface of your hearing device.
Hearing devices are delicate gadgets that could malfunction if not handled with care. Always use gentle pressure to wipe down the surface and grip them firmly so they don’t accidentally slip.
Cleaning the Exterior of Your Hearing Aids
Once you have your workspace and tools ready, you will need to turn off your hearing aid and remove its battery to prevent any damage to the electronic components. Afterward, follow the next steps:
1. Wipe the surface with a soft, dry cloth.
With the help of a soft, dry cloth, start by wiping any dirt that has accumulated on the surface of the device. When wiping the electronic components, avoid using any type of solution or water since this could seriously damage its functionality.
2. Use a soft-bristled brush.
You can use a soft-bristled brush specially designed for your hearing device to ensure that all debris is properly removed from the surface. Gently clean all the surface areas without applying too much pressure.
Ensure that the brush you are using is exclusively used to clean your device since bacteria from other surfaces could end up damaging the delicate components.
3. Use a special cleaning solution.
If your hearing aid has accumulated debris that won’t come off with the previously mentioned tools, you may need to use a special cleaning solution to clean them thoroughly.
To make sure your cleaning solution is safe, talk to your audiologist before using it. Once that’s done, damp your cloth with a small amount of the solution and start wiping any accumulated debris or earwax.
4. Allow your hearing aid device to dry.
When you are done cleaning up your hearing device, let them sit in your padded workspace until completely dry.
Cleaning the Interior of Your Hearing Aids
After you are done wiping down the exterior components of your hearing aid, you can continue by cleaning its interior:
1. Use a wax pick.
Carefully inspect the microphone, receiver, amplifier, and any other crevices where earwax could build up. The accumulation of earwax could be interfering with the volume and clarity of your hearing aid sound system.
Once you’ve identified the areas with buildup, use a wax pick to remove it carefully. Having a paper towel beside your workspace can help you clean your tool as you go.
2. Replace the wax filter.
Wax filters prevent earwax from damaging the internal sound system of your device.
If your hearing aid has a wax filter, make sure to have a replacement handy and change it carefully.
3. Use a soft-bristled brush to clean the inside.
Using a soft brush, gently clean all the inside crevices that may have debris and dirt accumulated without applying too much pressure. Ensure that the brush you are using is exclusively used to clean your device since bacteria from other surfaces could end up damaging the microphone, amplifier, or receiver.
4. Reinsert the battery.
Once you are done cleaning the outer and inner surfaces of your hearing aid and the components are completely dry, reinsert the battery and turn the device on to make sure everything is working properly.
If your device suddenly malfunctions, do not attempt to repair it yourself since this could severely damage your hearing aid. Always make sure to work with your audiologist in case you run into any issues.
Maintaining Your Hearing Aids
Regularly cleaning your hearing aids will help the amplifier, speaker, and microphone function at their best, allowing these components to provide you with the best sound quality possible. In order to keep your hearing device in good shape, we suggest the following tips:
- Wash your hands and dry them thoroughly before putting them on.
- Avoid alcohol, solvents, and harsh solutions to clean your hearing aid. Instead, only use a dry cloth for cleaning.
- Change your hearing aid wax guards monthly.
- Place your hearing aids safely in their carrying case every night or when not in use to avoid accidental damage.
- Clean your ears regularly with a gentle earwax removal solution.
- Remove the battery at night and store it safely.
- Avoid contact with hairspray or make-up since these solutions could seriously damage your device.
- Leave all repairs to an expert to avoid accidental damage.
- Schedule follow-up appointments with your audiologist every six months to a year.
If you suspect your hearing aid is malfunctioning, make sure to leave all repairs to the professionals. If the wrong tools or procedures are used, you could end up damaging the device even more.
By following these tips and visiting your audiologist constantly, you’ll be able to properly care for your hearing aid devices and help them last many years.
Hearing Aids in Old Bridge, New Jersey
Advanced Audiology Care provides hearing tests using state-of-the-art equipment paired with noise-canceling headphones to obtain accurate results. Our comprehensive hearing evaluations include tympanometry, pure tone, bone conduction testing, and speech recognition testing to assess auditory function accurately.
Reach out to us to request an in-office comprehensive hearing evaluation and consultation.
If you need a hearing aid, contact Advanced Audiology Care at (848) 257-5521 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Fan for a hearing evaluation. You may also request an appointment online.