Hearing aids come in a variety of shapes, sizes and levels of technology, but they all have one thing in common. No matter what they cost or how well you take care of them, there will come a day when they need to be repaired or replaced.
To get the most mileage from these technological marvels, invest in a little preventive maintenance. The following tips won’t prevent your hearing aids from wearing out – or you from accidentally dropping them on the bathroom tile floor – but they will ensure you’ll receive the most mileage from your investment.
1. Keep them clean.
Simply wiping off your hearing aids every evening with a soft, dry cloth before you put them away for the night can do wonders for prolonging their life. Inspect them for other debris, such as earwax, and use the special cleaning kit you most likely received when you purchased them to remove it.
Earwax is a natural, necessary secretion in the ears, but it wreaks havoc with your hearing aids. Do your best to keep your ears wax free by gently cleaning them each day with a wash cloth. If this doesn’t help curb the amount of wax that accumulates on your hearing aids, ask your doctor or audiologist to clean your ears more thoroughly. Remember, it isn’t safe to put anything sharp, such as a cotton swab or hairpin, directly into your ear canal. You run the risk of pushing the earwax deeper into your ear or puncturing your ear drum.
3. Keep them dry.
Moisture is no friend of your hearing aids. As a matter of fact, moisture is one of the primary reasons these devices are sent in for repair. Take your shower and dry your face and hair thoroughly before putting your hearing aids in. Don’t go swimming while you wear them. Open the battery compartment and remove the batteries each night so it can air out. And, if you perspire heavily, consider purchasing a hearing aid sleeve or sweat band.
You also may want to consider purchasing a special dehumidifier to store your hearing aids in at night. These inexpensive devices help keep moisture at bay and significantly prolong the life of your hearing aids. Ask your hearing center professional for more information on dehumidifiers and hearing aid sleeves – or search online for vendors.
4. Troubleshooting common problems.
If your hearing aid doesn’t appear to be working correctly, make sure to:
- Check to see if it’s turned on.
- Try turning up the volume.
- Replace the battery and/or make sure it’s inserted properly.
- Inspect the tubing (if appropriate) for signs of wear or breakage.
5. When to contact a professional.
If you hear a lot of static, inspect your hearing aid. The problem may be caused by earwax build up, which interferes with the microphone’s ability to correctly receive and transmit sound. If you aren’t able to locate or remove the wax upon inspection, take it to your hearing center for diagnosis.
Another problem, feedback or whistling, may be caused by an issue inside the hearing aid itself or an improper fit. If any of the internal components are touching, the internal tubing becomes dislodged, or the vent has developed a hole, it needs to be repaired by a professional. If it no longer fits correctly, you’ll want to see your audiologist for an adjustment. Either way, your hearing center and professional can diagnose the cause of the feedback and recommend the best way to resolve it.
Of course, if you notice any cracks in the case or broken tubing, contact your hearing center or hearing aid manufacturer immediately. They will give you directions on how to send your device in for repair.