Like any other tool or product that we use on a daily basis, your hearing aids require appropriate care and maintenance. The conditions that your hearing aids spend most of the time in — your ear canal — surrounded by earwax and moisture are far from ideal. It is most likely the electronic device that you invested the most research and funds into, so taking time to clean and take care of your hearing aids will ensure they last longer and maintain a high level of capacity at all times. Our ultimate guide to your hearing aid maintenance has 9 tips and tricks on how to best take care of your device.
In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aid cleaning and maintenance tips
To clean an ITE hearing aid device, use a soft toothbrush or a special brush recommended by your hearing healthcare specialist to clear away built-up wax in the device openings and microphone ports. Make sure that the opening you are cleaning is facing downwards so any particles stuck inside can easily fall out. Then, using a wax pick or a hook, clear out any debris that didn’t come out when using the brush. If there is a wax filter fitted, it becomes clogged over time, so make sure to ask your hearing aid specialist for advice on how to correctly change the wax filter. Finish the cleaning off by wiping the entire surface of the device with a dry, soft tissue or cloth.
Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid cleaning and maintenance tips
To start cleaning a BTE hearing aid and earmolds, check out your device for signs of debris and carefully remove it with a soft toothbrush or a cloth. Remove the earmold from the hook when cleaning it. To ensure the earmold lasts a long time without staining or discoloration, wipe it daily and soak it weekly in warm, soapy water. After soaking, allow the earmolds to dry overnight before putting them back in. Don’t be concerned if your earmolds develop a slight odor over time, but if the odor becomes quite strong, consult with your hearing healthcare professional as it might indicate an ear infection. For any remaining water in the tubing, use a bulb blower to get it out and then allow the device to dry overnight. Never allow the tubing to become twisted.
Receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing aid cleaning and maintenance tips
Before cleaning a RIC hearing aid, locate the microphone and speaker ports of your hearing aids. Pay attention and change the wax filter and earbud when they become clogged or damaged. Remember to remove wax or other debris regularly. For the main body of hearing aids, wipe it with a soft cloth. The same with the behind-the-ear hearing aids, never allow the tubing to become twisted and immerse the hearing aids in water.
Adopt a nighttime routine 🌙
If you want the hearing aids to serve you for many years, don’t forget to clean them every night before bed. It allows them to air out for several hours before getting used again in the morning. With standard hearing aids, it would be best to completely remove the batteries and leave the battery compartment open to let it dry overnight. When using Orka One, batteries don’t have to be removed before cleaning as the device is rechargeable so the cleaning and maintenance are much easier. If your device is rechargeable, dock them according to the manufacturer's specifications. Also, don’t forget to brush the battery compartment with a cleaning brush.
Invest in hearing aid maintenance tools ⚙️
Before investing in any tools, consult with your hearing aid specialist or hearing healthcare professional to see which tools they recommend for the specific type of hearing aid device that you own.
A few of the most commonly used tools:
- Specialist cleaning brush. This type of brush usually has a soft tip for carefully cleaning the surface and the body of your hearing aids. Some brushes have a magnetic battery removal tool that makes the cleaning easier.
- Wax pic or hook. This tool helps to safely remove wax and other debris from the holes of your device without damaging it.
- Multi-tool. This all-in-one tool will be your go-to for all cleaning and maintenance of your hearing aids. It usually has both a soft brush and a wax pick.
- Hearing aid dehumidifier. It’s worth investing in if you live in a humid climate or spend a lot of time outdoors.
Avoid moisture, heat, and cold 🌡️
Hearing aids should be kept away from moist and humid environments, including your bath and shower, swimming pools or saunas. Take them out when washing your face and taking showers so that little droplets of water can’t damage them.
Establish a regular cleaning routine ⏰
Wash your hand with antibacterial soap before cleaning your hearing aids. Never use alcohol, cleaning sprays, or solvents for cleaning them — a simple soft, dry cloth would work just fine. Alternatively, you can use products specifically for hearing aids. Your best option would be to ask a hearing aid specialist for advice and use products that they recommend.
Keep it away from hair and makeup products 💄
It’s best not to wear the device when doing your regular hygiene and skincare routine to make sure the products don’t get inside. Also, apply hair sprays and gels with your hearing aid out as they might damage the microphone input and volume control switch.
Protect it from pets and children 🐕🧒
Children and animals might cause damage to the device so make sure to store it away when not in use. Also, when not deactivated, hearing aids emit high-pitch sounds that might be irritating to some dogs.
Talk to professionals 🧑
You should also have your hearing aids cleaned professionally as frequently as advised by your hearing aid specialist. They have specific tools designed for professional cleaning that reach every part of your device, including microphones, windshields, receivers, and vents. A hearing aid professional can also give you advice on how to clean and maintain your device without damaging it. Using Orka’s Remote Care service, customers can make an appointment with an audiologist online and save plenty of time.