Beginner’s Guide to Cleaning Hearing Aids

cleaning-hearing-aids-guide

You (hopefully) wash all of your clothes regularly. Anything you have on your body for an extended time is exposed to the elements and to your body’s natural musk, so should be cleaned liberally. Shirts, pants, socks… you even polish jewelry every now and then.

Well, the same should apply to hearing aids. After all, you wear them like you would anything else – they’re exposed to a lot of moisture as they operate, so they deserve a good cleaning every now and then, just like everything else. Except belts – have you noticed we never wash our belts?

Cleaning your hearing aids

First of all, how often should this be done? Ideally, you’ll clean your hearing aids about once a month – for something that can be done absentmindedly in front of the TV, that’s really not bad at all.

Second of all, why is this necessary? Hearing aids aren’t clothes – they don’t collect dirt like a cotton t-shirt, so why bother? Well, like we said earlier, they do collect moisture, which can cause long term damage to the hearing aid’s overall lifespan.

Every day you can extend your hearing aid’s lifespan is another day that you don’t have to go through the financial hassle of getting a new one. It’s certainly worth a tiny sliver of your monthly routine.

How to clean your hearing aid

The parts of the hearing aid that are the most crucial to clean are the microphone, which takes in the sound, and the receiver, which emits the sound into your ear (yes, the name “receiver” doesn’t make much sense considering it’s the part that sends out the sound, but we don’t make the rules – call it “the speaker” if that makes it easier).

Since sound enters and leaves through these parts of the hearing aid, any kind of clog or obstruction is obviously going to hamper your listening experience, which is why you’ll want to make sure they’re especially clean. With that said, let’s get into the specifics.

How to clean custom hearing aids (ITE, ITC, CIC, IIC)

  1. Wipe down your hearing aids with a cloth, tissue, or designated hearing aid wipes or disinfecting spray (listed above).
  2. Locate the microphone and speaker ports of your hearing aids. Keep in mind that some hearing aids have two microphone ports. The speaker port is often covered with a white wax filter.
  3. Use a brush over the microphone and speaker ports to remove any loose wax or debris.
  4. Use a wax pick to clear out the microphone or speaker port. Do not stick anything longer into the microphone or speaker port, as it can damage the components. Replace the wax filter if needed.
  5. Locate the vent of the hearing aid. This is an opening that allows air to go from one side of the hearing aid to the other. Use a vent cleaner to clear out the vent.

Cleaning tips for BTE (behind-the-ear) hearing aids

  1. Wipe down your hearing aids and earmold or dome with a cloth, tissue, or designated hearing aid wipes or disinfecting spray (listed above).
  2. Locate the microphone of your hearing aids. Keep in mind that some hearing aids have two microphone ports.
  3. Use a brush over the microphone ports to remove any loose wax or debris.
  4. Use a wax pick to clear out the holes at the tip of the earmold or dome.

Cleaning tips for RIC (receiver in-the-ear) hearing aids

  1. Wipe down your hearing aids and earmold or dome with a cloth, tissue, or designated hearing aid wipes or disinfecting spray (listed above).
  2. Locate the microphone of your hearing aids. Keep in mind that some hearing aids have two microphone ports.
  3. Use a brush over the microphone ports to remove any loose wax or debris.
  4. Use a wax pick to clear out the holes at the tip of the earmold or dome. Do not stick anything longer into the speaker port, as it can damage the components. Replace the wax filter if needed.
  5. If you have an earmold on the hearing aid, locate the vent of the earmold, and use a vent cleaner to clear out the vent. This is an opening that allows air to go from one side of the hearing aid to the other.

How do you take care of hearing aids?

So what is this process? How does one clean their hearing aids? Well, the ideal first step is actually preventative – using a dehumidifier.

A dehumidifier, or a dryer, is a device that you can store your hearing aids in overnight, and it will eliminate any moisture accumulated over the course of the day. This is absolutely crucial in extending the life of your hearing aid – too much moisture can damage the internal components, causing malfunction and requiring repairs.

Dropping your hearing aids into one of these is the best way to maintain them, but how can you otherwise take care of them?

Best tools for cleaning your hearing aids

5-in-1 Hearing Aid Cleaner Kit

This nifty kit includes 5 tools: a brush, a wax removal pick, a tube or vent cleaning tool, a battery door opener, and a battery magnet tool.

acu-life-hearing-aid-cleaning-kit

NanoClean Hearing Aid Cleaners

Includes 20 nylon brush floss strands for cleaning the tubing on BTE hearing aids, or the vent on custom hearing aids.

Hearing Aid Cleaning Brushes

Includes a multi-purpose tool with a brush and magnet on one end and a wax pick on the other.

hearing-aid-cleaning-brushes

Audiowipes Disinfectant Towelettes. Includes 100 small individually wrapped disinfecting towelettes to use on your hearing aids and/or earmold for cleaning and disinfecting without harsh or damaging chemicals.

Hearing Aid Disinfecting Spray

Includes a 4 oz. disinfecting spray, which can be used to clean hearing aids and earmolds with a tissue or paper towel.

Jodi-Vac Hearing Aid Vacuum Cleaner

Includes an electronic vacuum cleaner, for those who need more frequent deep cleanings of their hearing aids due to wax or debris accumulation.

hearing-aid-vacuum-cleaner

These are just some of the tools of the trade, but how would you go about using them? Let’s finally get to the process of cleaning your hearing aids.

8 other nifty tips

Now that you’re a master at scrubbing your hearing tech, here are some other general tips to keep in mind when thinking about your hearing technology hygiene.

  1. Clean your hearing aids over a soft surface, so that the hearing aid is not damaged if dropped. We recommend sitting at a table with a hand towel underneath your work area.
  2. Do not use any water, cleaning fluids, alcohol, or other solvents on your hearing aids, as these can cause damage. The digital components within a hearing aid are very sensitive to water damage, so these substances could wreak havoc.
  3. Establish a routine for cleaning your hearing aids so it is done on a consistent basis.
  4. If you use a specific cloth to clean your hearing aids, make sure the cloth is cleaned regularly to avoid re-depositing wax, oils, or debris back onto your hearing aids.
  5. Make sure your hands are clean and dry before handling your hearing aids.
  6. Do not put any portion of your hearing aids in your (or anyone else’s) mouth!
  7. If you suspect that your hearing aid is broken or damaged, do not try to repair it. Instead, take it to your hearing healthcare provider for service.
  8. Clean your hearing aid from top to bottom to avoid introducing any wax into the microphones of the device.

Overall

Cleaning your hearing aids is just as important as cleaning your clothes, dishes, sheets, or whatever else you can think of. It’s important to maintain the quality of your hearing aids – otherwise, you risk having to drop unnecessary funds on another model sooner than you should.

Duncan Lambden

Duncan Lambden

Writer

Duncan is an Australian-born American-raised creative writer with a passion for healthy ears. He continues to build upon his audiology qualifications with research and various courses. Duncan has been working alongside Florida-based audiologist Lindsey Banks, Au.D., to make sure that Everyday Hearing has the most up-to-date content.

Comments

  1. Alexandria Martinez says:

    My uncle has been trying to find the best way to clean his hearing aid. I wanted to thank you for your explanation about deep cleaning. He will be thrilled to learn the many different ways to clean his hearing aid, like replacing wax filters.

    1. Lindsey Banks, Au.D. says:

      Glad to help!

  2. Marcus Coons says:

    It really helped when you mentioned the importance of storing your hearing aids in a dehumidifier when not using them. I can see that doing this can help you avoid getting too much humidity in them that could cause electrical issues. Personally, I would want to consult with my hearing doctor to make sure I have all the tools and know how to use them to keep my new hearing aids working properly and last longer than my previous ones.

    1. Lindsey Banks, Au.D. says:

      Glad we could help, Marcus. Yes, your Audiologist can definitely show you how to properly care for your hearing aids and make them last longer!

  3. Carolyn Smith says:

    How do you “Use a wax pick to clear out the holes at the tip of the earmold”? Are there any Vedic instructions regarding the proper cleaning?

    1. Isabel R. says:

      Poke and nudge out ear wax with wire pick. Do meditate because pushing a ear mold into the ear causes earwax to crust on mold. It is nasty but oh so predictable. After this I use a damp napkin to wipe down the mold, let air dry and put on h.a.
      I let the audiologist do the vacuuming of microphone but to each their own.
      Sweaty, oily ears battles chip, wiring, receiver and speaker.
      Ah yah! It is a tough match.

  4. Gerald McLean says:

    How do I get the hearing aid wipes and spray

  5. Sharon Wilson-Smith says:

    You got me when you said that you can damage your hearing aid if you will stick anything longer into the microphone port. That really got me worried because I’m planning to shop for hearing aids which I don’t want to malfunction. What I want is to keep my hearing aids efficient for years to come so I can save money in the long run. I’ll be sure to only trust a professional in cleaning and maintaining my hearing aids.

  6. Sharon Wilson-Smith says:

    I like that you said that your hearing aid must be repaired by a hearing healthcare provider if you think that it’s damaged. I will remember this because I’m planning to shop for hearing aids soon. My hearing loss problem is getting worse, and I don’t think that I can work effectively if I will ask everyone to repeat what they’re telling me. Thanks!

  7. Elijah Samson says:

    You got me when you said that cleaning your hearing aids will help you to save them from repairs and can make them reliable for years to come. My dad is planning to shop for a hearing aid. He had an auto accident that has affected the hearing ability of his right ear. Since he doesn’t want to damage the delicate parts of his hearing aid, I will make sure to ask him to have it serviced by a professional on a regular basis.

    1. Everyday Hearing says:

      Hi Elijah, thank you for the comment, it’s great to know that the article has been beneficial.

  8. Bette McFall says:

    i cannot find a place to buy the filters and domes for seimans hearing aids. help!!!

    1. Lindsey Banks says:

      The filters and domes for most manufacturers’ hearing aids need to be purchased through your hearing provider. If you no longer have one you can use out contact form to find one in your area: https://quotes.everydayhearing.com/org-hearing-tests?comment

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