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, replace the filters, and rotate the tires. We’re aiming to preserve our investment and extend its life.

You should certainly consider hearing aids in the same way. If you give things an opportunity to go wrong, they will; but if you’re proactive in your care and maintenance, your hearing aids can carry on and operate properly for several years.

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

1. Physical breakdown

Enemy # 1 is physical destruction. Hearing aids consist of delicate electronics that are susceptible to damage from shock. To defend against this, make sure to store your hearing aids in their storage cases whenever you’re not using them.

A good 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 unprotected on any surface is just inviting Murphy’s Law to come and knock them off. Similarly, when you’re inserting or removing your hearing aids, it’s a good idea to do this over a soft surface in the event that they fall.

Additionally, take the time to check and replace the batteries frequently. You’re not doing the electronics 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 mobile phone in the kitchen sink knows all too well. Once immersed, there’s very little that can be done. But it requires much less than total submersion in water to ruin your hearing aids.

Water, in the form of mist, can still work its way into the hearing aids and begin causing chaos. For that reason, you should refrain from using hairspray, bug spray, or any other sprays while using your hearing aids. Also, remember that radical changes in temperature can generate condensation, for instance going from a climate-controlled room to the outdoors. If this happens, make sure to dry off any wetness that develops.

We also highly recommend not keeping your hearing aids in the bathroom, as the condensation can generate issues. This is an additional reason that your bedside table drawer is probably the ideal location to store your hearing aids when they aren’t being used.

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 have to protect against adversary # 3: dirt and grime.

Earwax, dirt, and debris can build up on the hearing aids, clogging the speakers, ports, and other components. To guard against this, 1) maintain proper 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 tools supplied by your hearing professional. Your hearing professional can provide cleaning kits and guidelines specifically for your type of hearing aids.

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

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