It is estimated that nearly 30 million Americans suffer from hearing loss. Those with hearing loss often use hearing aids to improve their hearing. The small device sits in the ear and amplifies the sound so that is it louder and clearer.
Because of its placement and small parts, a hearing aid requires routine cleaning and maintenance in order to function properly. Here is a quick guide to cleaning the most essential parts:
1. Cleaning the Outer Shell
The shell is the outer surface of the hearing aid that sits directly into the ear. As you might expect, this piece can quickly become coated in wax. Even if the outer shell does not sit directly in the ear (as with out-of-ear hearing aids) it can still collect dirt, debris, and oils.
To clean the outer shell of the hearing aid:
- Use a damp cloth or tissue. To gently wipe away any excess oil. If the wax is particularly stubborn, use a special hearing aid cleaning brush. You can find these at most doctor's offices or inside the kit that your hearing aid came in.
Do not ever use a wet cloth or chemicals to clean your hearing aid, as it may damage the device or your ears.
2. Cleaning the Microphone
The microphone is one of the most fragile parts of your hearing aid. Even though it may not sit directly in the ear, it still requires cleaning.
To clean the microphone:
- Flip the hearing aid upside down. To remove any debris that may be sitting inside the microphone. If you find that there is debris lodged in the device, use the special brush to remove it. You can also shake it very gently to remove stuck-on debris.
Do not ever poke items into the microphone—or hearing aid—as this may cause permanent damage. It will also cause lodged items to go further into the device; and they may become stuck.
3. Cleaning the Receiver
The receiver is the tiny hole that is visible on the shell of the hearing aid. It is responsible for amplifying and directing the sound into your ear canal. Like the outer shell, it can easily become coated in earwax.
To clean the receiver:
- Use a small wax pick. To remove wax that has made its way into the device. Be gentle and use a scooping motion to remove the wax.
Never use another object, such as a bobby pin or safety pin, to remove wax buildup.
There you have it: a quick guide for cleaning your hearing aid. If you have any questions or concerns, speak to a doctor at a clinic like Audiologists Northwest about cleaning methods or tools that are safe for hearing aids—and your ears.