Man holding a behind-the-ear hearing aid

Murphy’s Law informs us that “if anything can go wrong, it will.” A better variant 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 protect our investment and lengthen its life.

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

So what are some of the things that can go wrong? Below 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 destruction. Hearing aids consist of vulnerable electronics that are prone to damage from shock. To protect against this, ensure that you store your hearing aids in their storage cases whenever you’re not wearing them.

A good rule of thumb is that your hearing aids should be either in your ears or in the storage case at all times. Placing your hearing aids unprotected on any surface is just inviting Murphy’s Law to come and bump them off. Similarly, when you’re inserting and removing your hearing aids, it’s best to do this over a soft surface in the event they fall.

Additionally, take the time to check and replace the batteries often. You’re not doing the circuitry any favors by forcing the hearing aids operate on low battery power.

2. Moisture

Electronics and water do not mix, which anyone who’s dropped a cell phone in the sink understands all too well. Once submerged, there’s little that can be done. But it takes much less than total submersion in water to harm your hearing aids.

Water, in the form of mist, can still work its way into the hearing aids and begin wreaking chaos. For that reason, you should refrain from using hairspray, insect spray, or any other sprays while wearing your hearing aids. Also, keep in mind that extreme changes in temperature can create 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 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 spot to store your hearing aids when they aren’t in use.

3. Earwax and dirt

Even if you’ve guarded your hearing aids against physical damage and water with adequate storage and the prevention of moisture, you’ll still have to protect against adversary # 3: dirt and grime.

Earwax, dust, and debris can build up on the hearing aids, blocking the speakers, ports, and other parts. To protect against this, 1) sustain adequate ear hygiene, and 2) clean and sanitize your hearing aids daily.

In regard to cleaning and sanitizing your hearing aids, make sure to use only the tools supplied by your hearing professional. Your hearing professional can provide cleaning kits and directions specifically for your type of hearing aids.

And finally, consider purchasing a hearing aid sanitizer. Sanitizers utilize ultraviolet light to comprehensively kill dangerous pathogens, all while providing a safe place for storage.

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