Hearing aids are an investment to help you feel more comfortable and independent. However, they need to be maintained properly if you want them to last a long time and avoid costly repairs. Since we tend to use hearing aids on a regular basis and they are almost always inside or on our ears, they can quickly pick up dirt and grime which needs to be cleaned off eventually.

But how exactly does cleaning a hearing aid help with their overall longevity and performance?

Why Do Hearing Aids Need to Be Cleaned?

Hearing aids must be cleaned for a variety of reasons:

  • Hearing aids are almost always in contact with your ear. This is one area of the body that is prone to building up sweat, earwax and other bodily oils. This means they must be cleaned regularly because they will start to get dirty very quickly. 
  • Because hearing aids have speakers and microphones that take in sound, it’s important to keep those areas clear so that the sound can remain clear. If the microphone is covered with earwax or dirt, then it can affect the quality of the sound that is output into your ear.
  • You have to be more vigilant about cleaning your hearing aids during certain months and situations. For example, if you’re heading out a lot during the summer then there’s a good chance you’ll be sweating more. This means your hearing aids will get dirty much more quickly and thus require cleaning on a more regular basis. 
  • Clean hearing aids are simply more hygienic. Since they must be placed inside of your ear on a regular basis, they can quickly pick up earwax and dead skin. Cleaning them keeps them free of any potential bacteria buildup and ensures that you don’t get a rash or infection because of wearing unclean hearing aids.

As you can see, there are a number of good reasons why you should be cleaning your hearing aids. If you’re consistent with cleaning your hearing aids, then they’re going to sound much better and you’ll avoid any potential issues that could come with unclean hearing aids.

How Do You Clean Hearing Aids?

Cleaning hearing aids is relatively simple and is something that your audiologist may have already taught you. They may have also given you a visual guide to help you clean your hearing aids. If they haven’t, then it may be worth speaking to them to show you how to do it. By following their recommendation, you’ll get a quick and easy tutorial on how to clean your hearing aids and take care of them.

If you need to clean them right now and don’t have time to make an appointment with your audiologist, then here are a few general tips:

If You Have a Behind-the-Ear (BTE) Hearing Aid

A BTE hearing aid is much easier to clean because the unit is rather large and contains fewer delicate parts. Here are some basic tips to follow:

  • Use a soft toothbrush to remove any earwax, dirt and grime on the unit.
  • Clean the unit with a cloth and let it dry if you’re using something wet.
  • Remove the hook and clean it separately. This is the part that touches the fold in your ear, making it more susceptible to sweat.

If You Have an In-the-Ear (ITE) Hearing Aid

ITE hearing aids are generally much smaller and will sit inside of the ear canal. As such, these tend to get a little dirtier. To clean them, follow these steps:

  • Use a soft toothbrush to gently remove any dirt and grime from the microphone.
  • If there is any sticky earwax on the microphone, use a pick to remove it.
  • Lastly, clean the entire unit with a quick wipe.

Your audiologist may have given you a small set of cleaning tools to help you. If not, then you can generally use the same tools that you would for cleaning your ears.

How Often Do You Clean Hearing Aids?

We suggest giving your hearing aids a quick wipe every time you’re finished using them. This helps to keep the sweat and grime off. For a deeper clean, this depends on how prone you are to earwax and sweat buildup. If you find that you sweat more and earwax builds up quickly, then once a week or every few days is a good idea. If not, then you can generally leave it over a week.

If you’d like to get in touch with an audiologist to learn more about cleaning your hearing aids, or if you’re interested in getting a hearing test to receive your own pair, don’t hesitate to contact Brentwood Hearing Center today at 615-377-0420 for more information.