You’re Cleaning Your Hearing Aids Wrong. Follow these Easy Steps Instead.

woman with painted nails holding a hearing aid

Hearing aids require routine care and maintenance like any other device. Regularly cleaning your hearing devices ensures they will work properly and last for a long time. New hearing aids have an average lifespan of three to seven years, but this could go down if you don’t care for them.

This article will explain how to clean hearing aids using the different hearing aid cleaning tools.

Cleaning Hearing Aids

Here are the basic steps for cleaning your hearing aids:

  • Use a dry cloth to wipe down the exterior and interior parts
  • Clean the microphone ports using the brush tool to remove the trapped debris and ear wax.
  • Check the wax guard, dome, and earmold for discoloration, debris, or breakage and replace if necessary.
  • Turn the hearing aid device upside down while cleaning to allow debris to fall out.

Hearing Aid Cleaning Kit

Most hearing aids come with a cleaning kit with different tools. You should invest in a kit if you don’t own one, so you can clean your device at home and avoid trips to a specialist for professional cleaning.

A hearing aid cleaning kit typically includes the following:

Dry clothWipe down the exterior and interior of your device daily using a dry cloth. It’s crucial to use a dry cloth because moisture can damage the device. To avoid scratches, it is best to use a non-abrasive microfiber cloth to clean your hearing aids.
Wax removal brushHearing aids sit close to our ear canal and block the earwax from exiting the ears, so wax accumulates in the earmold. A wax removal brush is designed to clear away earwax from the hearing aid.
Wax loopAlso known as a “wax pick,” a wax loop is used to pry earwax from small openings and hard-to-reach areas like the tips of earmolds and domes. Do not insert the wax loop into the microphone and receiver ports, which can push the dirt further into the hearing aid.
Tube cleanerA tube cleaner is a long, flexible brush used to remove debris from inaccessible areas, such as the inside of the tubing attached to the ear hook. You can use it to push out earwax and debris from the tubing.
Tube cleanerA bulb blower or air blower removes moisture from the tubing attached to the ear hook and earmold. If you notice condensation, detach the tubing from the ear hook, place the blower tip at the end of the tubing, and use the blower to release the fluid and dry the tubing. Here is how to use a blower tool.

Hearing aids sit close to our ear canal and block the earwax from exiting the ears, so wax accumulates in the earmold.

How Often Do You Clean Your Hearing Aids?

Cleaning your hearing aids regularly is essential. However, not all parts of a hearing need to be cleaned every day.

Daily Cleaning

  • Wipe down the exterior and interior of hearing aids using a dry, soft cloth.
  • Brush the microphone ports using the wax removal brush.
  • Use the air blower to remove moisture from the tubing.

Weekly Cleaning

  • Remove debris and wax from the earmold and dome using a wax pick.
  • Remove wax from tubing using a tube cleaner.
  • Inspect wax filters or wax guards and replace them if needed.
  • Wash the earmold and tubing using warm, soapy water. Allow these parts to dry completely overnight before reattaching them to the hearing aid.

Cleaning Different Hearing Aid Types

The various hearing aid technologies have different components that may require additional cleaning steps. Here’s a breakdown of how to clean each type.

Behind-the-Ear (BTE)

Behind-the-ear hearing aids hook over the top of the outer ear and sit behind it.

Behind-the-ear hearing aids last longer than in-the-ear devices because the electronic components sit outside the ear canal, away from wax and debris.

To clean BTE hearing aids, follow these steps.

  • Separate the earmold and tubing from the ear hook.
  • Wipe down the entire hearing aid using a cloth.
  • Push out wax and debris from the tubing opening using a tube cleaner.
  • If moisture is trapped in the tubing, dry it using a bulb blower.
  • Remove wax from the earmold opening using a wax pick.
  • Clean microphone ports using a wax removal brush.
  • Inspect wax guard at the tip of earmold for discoloration, debris, or tear.
  • Wash the earmold and tubing once a week in warm, soapy water. Dry the earmold and tubing entirely before reattaching them to the hearing aid. Other hearing aid parts should never be exposed to moisture or wetness.
  • If the earmold or dome is discolored, visit an audiologist to replace it.

Earmolds may discolor every six months to a year.

In-the-Ear (ITE)

An in-the-ear hearing aid consists of a single plastic shell that holds all electronic components, and the entire device sits entirely inside the outer ear.

In-the-ear devices are situated at the opening of the ear canal, so they are prone to wax and debris buildup.

To clean an ITE hearing aid, follow these steps.

  • Wipe the entire hearing aid using a dry cloth.
  • Brush microphone ports using a wax removal brush. In ITE hearing aids, the microphones can be found on the faceplate.
  • Inspect the wax filter for wax or debris and replace it if required.
  • Clean the vent holes or earmold opening using a tube cleaner.

Receiver-in-Canal (RIC)

The receiver of an RIC hearing aid sits inside the ear canal. All other parts sit behind the ear like a standard BTE hearing aid.

To clean RIC hearing aids, follow these steps.

  • Wipe the entire hearing aid with a dry cloth.
  • Use a wax removal brush to brush the microphones and the dome.
  • Remove the dome and brush the wax filter using the wax removal brush. Replace the dome if needed.
  • Replace the wax filter if you notice wax in it after brushing.

Hearing Aid Care and Routine Maintenance Tips

Regular and thorough cleaningIt’s a good practice to make cleaning your hearing aids part of your nightly routine. Wipe down the exterior and interior of your hearing aid every day using a dry cloth. Get the proper tools to clean the hard-to-reach areas.
Replace parts as neededBatteries, earmolds, domes, wax guards, and tubing need to be replaced as they wear out. Look out for signs like discoloration, wax buildup, and tear. Hearing aid batteries usually last three to seven days, depending on usage time.
Store in a dry areaExposure to moisture, humidity, extreme temperatures, dust, and dirt can affect your hearing aid performance. When not in use, store the hearing aid in a dry place. To absorb the excess moisture, keep it in a hearing aid dehumidifier, preferably overnight.
Professional cleaningIn addition to regular cleaning, take your device to a hearing care professional every three to four months for professional cleaning.
Remove batteriesTake out the batteries when the hearing aid is not in use and leave the battery compartment open overnight. Store the batteries in a dry space and dock them if you have rechargeable batteries.

Hearing aid batteries usually last three to seven days, depending on usage time.

Summary

Hearing aids are a significant investment—at the high end, they can cost $5,000 or more—so it’s crucial to establish good habits to get the most out of them. Regular cleaning and maintenance will increase the lifespan of hearing aids. Hearing aids spend most of their time in or near your ear, so they quickly become clogged with wax and debris.

Also Read: How Long Do Hearing Aids Last?

Never use alcohol or other chemicals to wipe down your hearing aid.

Exposure to moisture can damage the hearing aid components. Also, you should buy a hearing aid cleaning kit if you don’t have one.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use isopropyl alcohol to clean hearing aids?

Avoid using alcohol, bleach, or chemicals to clean your hearing aids. Moisture and environmental exposure can damage the hearing aid components.

How often do you clean hearing aids?

Hearing aids have to be cleaned every day. Wipe the exterior and interior using a dry cloth and check for wax, debris, and moisture in all openings. Brush the openings with a cleaning brush. Additionally, professional cleaning every 3 to 4 months is recommended to keep your hearing aids clean.

What happens if you shower with hearing aids?

If you shower with hearing aids, the water will enter the device, and it will stop working. Like any other electronic device, hearing aids should not be exposed to moisture, humidity, and extreme temperatures.

How Do I Know if I Need Hearing Aids?

Schedule a hearing test with a licensed hearing healthcare provider to determine if you can benefit from a hearing device. You should get a hearing test if you detect early signs of hearing loss, including:

  • Trouble hearing conversations on the phone or in a group gathering
  • You listen to TV at a louder volume than your friends and family members
  • You have a problem hearing high-pitched sounds