By completing weekly maintenance, you can reduce your need for hearing aid repair drastically! Breakdown and improper function is often caused by a dirty, unmaintained aid. Your instruments require a clear sound path for sound transmission to work properly. Any build up of debris or ear wax on the microphone or receiver ports can cause your aid to sound distorted, weak, or completely dead. Taking a small amount of time to clean them is easy and can save you money.
Your hearing healthcare professional should guide you through the maintenance process at the time of your fitting.
How to clean your aid:
1. With a dry soft cloth, wipe down the exterior of the instrument. Do not use any unapproved liquids to clean your device. Your aid is an electronic device and can be permanently damaged by water and other liquids.
2. Using the wax pick (small stick with loop on tip) provided, remove any build up of ear wax or debris from the sound port and vent. Gently flick away debris from the vent and receiver without pushing deeply into the openings.
3. Change wax guards/springs/traps/stops. Many aids have some sort of wax blocker to prevent build up of ear wax. This typically looks like a small white cup that fits into the sound port of the hearing instrument. This wax guard prevents ear wax and debris from going into the hearing aid, and needs to be replaced every 2 weeks to 1 month.
4. Take a soft brush and brush away any ear wax or other debris from the outer aid casing. These brushes are usually provided. Make sure to hold your device downward to prevent any of the debris from falling into the aid. Pay extra attention to the microphone ports. These small openings in the outer case are typically located near the battery door or at the top of the aid (e.g., with BTEs). Some ports are covered by a guard that should be replaced as necessary.
5. Clean your battery contacts. This need only be done once a month or so. Any build up or film on the battery contacts can prevent proper power from flowing to the aid. The aid may sound weak, dead, or distorted. Take a cotton swab and gently rub away any debris. Using highly concentrated rubbing alcohol on the tip of the swab clean the area. Never pour alcohol into the aid.
Ask your hearing healthcare professional to thoroughly explain how to perform your hearing aid's maintenance.
Dr. Sandra Ann Harper received her Professional Doctorate in Audiology from University of Florida Distance Learning Program. She completed her Master’s Degree in Audiology with a Gerontology Studies Certificate from Arizona State University. She specializes in digital hearing aids, hearing aid education, lip reading and auditory processing programs for children and adults. She maintains a blog to help folks stay updated on the latest hearing aid technology.