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McDonald Hearing Services - Grand Rapids, MI

Man holding a behind-the-ear hearing aid

Murphy’s Law informs us that “if anything can go wrong, it will.” A better variation might be that “things will go wrong in any given situation, if you give them a chance.”

That’s the reason we change the oil in our cars, switch out the filters, and rotate the tires. We’re aiming to preserve our investment and stretch out its life.

You should certainly consider hearing aids in the same manner. If you give things a chance to go wrong, they will; but if you’re proactive in your maintenance, your hearing aids can persist and perform properly for many years.

So what are some of the things that can go wrong? The following are the three principal threats to your hearing aids and what you can do to protect against them.

1. Physical breakdown

Opponent # 1 is physical damage. Hearing aids consist of fragile electronics that are susceptible to damage from shock. To defend against this, ensure that you store your hearing aids in their storage cases anytime you’re not wearing them.

An effective guideline is that your hearing aids should be either in your ears or in the storage case at any given time. Leaving your hearing aids exposed on any surface is just inviting Murphy’s Law to come and bump them off. Likewise, when you’re inserting or removing your hearing aids, it’s best to do this over a soft surface in the event they fall.

Additionally, remember to check and replace the batteries frequently. You’re not doing the circuitry any favors by forcing the hearing aids function on low battery power.

2. Moisture

Electronics and water do not mix, which anyone who’s dropped a cell phone in the kitchen sink understands all too well. Once underwater, there’s little that can be done. But it requires a lot less than complete submersion in water to wreck your hearing aids.

Water, in the form of mist, can still work its way into the hearing aids and begin causing havoc. Because of this, you should avoid using hairspray, insect spray, or any other sprays while using your hearing aids. In addition, remember that drastic changes in temperature can generate condensation, for example going from a climate-controlled room to the outdoors. If this happens, ensure that you dry off any moisture that develops.

We also highly recommend not keeping your hearing aids in the bathroom, as the condensation can generate issues. This is another reason that your bedside table drawer is probably the best location to keep your hearing aids when they aren’t in use.

3. Earwax and dirt

Even if you’ve defended your hearing aids against physical damage and water with proper storage and the avoidance of moisture, you’ll still need to protect against opponent # 3: dirt and grime.

Earwax, dirt, and debris can build up on the hearing aids, clogging the speakers, ports, and other parts. To protect against this, 1) maintain adequate ear hygiene, and 2) clean and sanitize your hearing aids each day.

Regarding cleaning and sanitizing your hearing aids, ensure that you use only the equipment supplied by your hearing professional. Your hearing professional can provide cleaning kits and guidance specifically for your type of hearing aids.

Finally, think about purchasing a hearing aid sanitizer. Sanitizers utilize ultraviolet light to comprehensively kill dangerous pathogens, all while supplying a safe place for storage.