While we might have once thought of hearing loss as a predictable and benign part of getting older, we now know that leaving age-related hearing loss untreated can cause a cascade of negative health outcomes. These can include earlier onset of dementia and cognitive decline, and can severely limit social engagement as well as our level of physical activity.
In other words, treating hearing loss is an important part of living life to the fullest. As such, hearing aids are the most important tool to be incorporated into your everyday life.
Hearing aids today are incredibly powerful instruments. Many models are capable of restoring hearing ability to near normal by using multiple microphone and speaker setups, along with powerful computer processing to help maintain a perfect sense of spatial awareness. They can even reduce background noise relative to human speech.
Today’s advanced hearing aids accomplish all of this while living in the inhospitable environment of our ear canals, which means they need regular cleaning and maintenance to function at their best. Here are a few things to keep in mind when caring for your hearing aids.
DO get the right tools
Earwax can accumulate in any opening of your hearing aid that sits inside your ear canal, and dead skin can get trapped in crevices in Behind-the-Ear designs. This can clog openings and block the sound pathways to the microphones and/or speakers in your hearing aids. While some people produce more or less wax than others, you’ll need to maintain a regular cleaning schedule to make sure the openings in your hearing aids are free and clear of wax so they can function as intended.
A wax pick and brush can help you do this with ease. Start with the pick for the larger obstructions, and brush away what’s left. Between these two tools and a clean, dry towel, you should be able to keep your hearing aids in good shape throughout their lifetime. Clean them every night after you take them out, so they have some time to air out before you put them in again.
DON’T get them wet
Moisture is the #1 enemy of hearing aids. While some models are waterproof or water resistant, most hearing aids will suffer harm if they’re exposed to moisture or excessive humidity. While some people have reported forgetting they have their hearing aids in and getting in the shower, even this minor slip up will likely require repair or replacement.
It is best to take your hearing aids out before going into the bathroom, and keep them somewhere outside the bathroom when you’re not wearing them. The increased humidity from showering or bathing won’t do your hearing aids any favors, so it’s best to keep them out of the bathroom altogether. It’s recommended to open up the battery compartment of your hearing aids and let them dry like that overnight.
Similarly, when cleaning them, use a dry cloth without any sort of liquid cleanser. Even alcohol, when used as a cleaning agent, might damage the plastic shell or get inside and damage a microphone or speaker.
If you live in an especially humid part of the world or if you perspire a lot, consider getting a hearing aid dehumidifier. This will help remove moisture from them overnight, which can significantly increase their lifespan.
DO leave repairs to a professional
If you’re a DIY-er, you might be tempted to try and fix your hearing aids yourself when a problem arises. Unfortunately, this can void the warranty and might even leave you with a bigger mess on your hands. Bring your hearing aids to The Hearing Doctor, where we can repair them under warranty or advise replacement.
DON’T wear your hearing aids during your beauty routine
Hairspray can create a sticky mess on or in your hearing aids, as can powdery make-up. Remove your hearing aids before applying any beauty products!
DO get hearing aids
If you’re having trouble hearing and you’re not yet wearing hearing aids, make an appointment for a hearing evaluation and begin wearing them as soon as possible. Complications can arise from hearing loss, including brain atrophy and loss of the ability to comprehend speech.
If you wait until the problem is worse, it will be harder to adjust to wearing hearing aids, and you’ll have missed out on a lot of sound in the meantime! Contact us at The Hearing Doctor today to schedule an appointment for a hearing evaluation.