Hearing aids are sensitive pieces of equipment that can be damaged easily. The best way to keep your hearing aids in good working order is to take care of them according to manufacturer’s recommendations and to clean them regularly using approved methods.
But what are some common causes of hearing aid damage? Surely they can’t come in contact with too many dangerous substances while nestled safely in your ear. The fact is, you may be surprised at a few of the things we have on our list.
Earwax In The Tubing
Earwax (also called cerumen) can damage your hearing aids both temporarily and permanently. When earwax builds up in the tubes and holes in your hearing aid, then it is unable to transfer sound. The wax blocks the sound from getting through. When this happens, your listening experience may seem muffled.
A little earwax is an easy fix. Regular cleaning with the appropriate tools can help clear the tubes and keep your hearing aid working to the best of its ability. However, if earwax is allowed to remain in the hearing aid for too long, it can eventually cause permanent damage.
Earwax that works its way farther into the device can damage sensitive electronic parts. This is not just because of its gummy texture. The chemical composition of earwax includes salt and corrosive body acids.
Cleaning With Water
Moisture is one of the worst things you can expose your hearing aids to, and that includes during the cleaning process. Cleaning hearing aids with water is generally not a good idea.
Many people are used to just washing things off when they get dirty. But a hearing aid is not like a pair of glasses or a stained tie. Hearing aids should be treated more like stereo equipment. Just as earwax can damage the electronic components of your device, so can water.
Batteries can also be ruined by water, and if they get wet, they should just be thrown away. However, sometimes there are a few outer parts of a hearing aid you can carefully wash with water. If you think this is the case, check your care manual and follow its instructions to the letter.
Never Removing Your Hearing Aid
It may be frustrating not to be able to hear well, but there are times when you must remove your hearing aid to keep from damaging it. Here are a few activities that may ruin your device.
- Taking a shower or going swimming- these two activities would introduce water into the hearing aid, causing the damage and corrosion we just talked about.
- Blow drying your hair- Blow dryers create high, targeted heat. This heat can damage or even melt components in your hearing aid.
- Using hairspray or spray sunscreen- Like with drying your hair, if you must use hairspray, finish your beauty routine before inserting your hearing aids. Hairspray can clog up the tubes and holes in your hearing aid. And it’s tough to clean out! Sunscreen also creates a greasy, gummy, microphone-blocking mess.
The best way to keep your hearing aids undamaged and in good shape is to follow manufacturer instructions, keep them away from excess moisture and heat, and maintain them regularly using approved tools and cleaning solutions.
ILA has several products to help keep your hearing aids in great shape, including this hearing aid maintenance kit. It comes with cleaning tools as well as a battery tester and is small enough to carry in your pocket.