As the weather warms up, you might feel inspired to attack the clutter and dirt that have accumulated over the winter months. You’ll soon clean out your car, garage, basement, and even wallets and purses. But while you’re at it, don’t forget about those handy devices you wear every day — your hearing aids. Here’s what to do to take your normal cleaning routine to the next level.
Dry them out
Sweat and water intrusion can damage the delicate inner workings of your hearing aids. If your typical routine to dry them out consists of laying them on a towel overnight with the battery compartment open, then it’s time to level up. Using a dehumidifier specifically made to treat hearing aids can extend the life of your devices significantly, and are much more effective than air drying alone. Dehumidifiers are available in the following options:
- Electrical units that use heat and/or ultraviolet rays
- Boxes or jars with moisture-absorbing desiccant
- Chargers that also recharge hearing aids while they dry and clean
Remove all wax and dirt buildup
For daily care, you can get away with wiping your hearing aids with a soft cloth. However, dust, dirt, wax, and other contaminants will accumulate over time beyond the ability of a quick rubdown to clear. Now is the time to take out that cleaning kit supplied by your hearing care professional when you purchased your hearing aids. The tools usually include:
- Wax pick or loop
- Magnet (to remove small batteries easily)
- Cleaning wire (for open-fit tubes)
- Vent cleaning wand
Use these tools to help you clean out every tiny opening in your devices, such as the microphone and vents. If you have earmolds, your hearing care professional will likely recommend removing and washing them in mild, soapy water occasionally (wiping them with your soft cloth is fine for day-to-day cleaning). If you find ear wax buildup is a frequent problem, find out if wax guards would work with your style of hearing aids or if you need a professional ear cleaning to control the problem.
Time for a service call
Spring is a good time to schedule a visit with your hearing care professional. They can look over your hearing aids and identify any maintenance needs beyond your ability to find or fix on your own. These might include replacing microphone screens, plastic tubing, and assessing whether all the components are in good working order.
Hearing aids that are regularly cleaned and maintained work better and last longer. However, even the best cared for devices have a life expectancy. If your hearing care professional concludes that yours are near the end of their functional lives or that your hearing has changed so much that they cannot be adjusted to compensate properly anymore, it may be time to buy a new pair.