Like most things, the more we use something, the more benefit we receive from it. Unfortunately this means that the item often succumbs to the wear and tear of the frequent use. This is definitely the case for hearing aids, but keeping your aids in the drawer for that special occasion doesn’t do anyone any favours. Nevertheless, there are a few things you can do to get more life from your aids:
1: Regular check-ups with your Audiologist. At an appointment, we will service your hearing aids. This is no different from servicing your car. It keeps your hearing aids running smoothly, but also gives us a chance to pick up any minor problems before they become big problems. Typically, we would recommend that you see us at least once a year – even if everything is going well. For those people who wear their hearing aids in tough environments i.e., dust, hot sweaty weather, then six monthly appointments may be required.
2: Try and keep on top of moisture build-up. The majority of hearing aids these days have a nano-coating on them that helps repel moisture, yet this technology is not foolproof. You also don’t need to wear them while showering to have moisture problems in your hearing aids. Unfortunately, we all sweat and all the more in summer. Our hearing aids are also affected by moisture present in the air. For even a small cost, home drying kits can be purchased. These kits aim to draw out moisture each time you use the device. It is generally recommended that the aids go in the drying kit each night before your head hits the pillow.
3: Try to prevent dust/dirt from getting into your hearing aids. This is largely a problem if you work in dusty conditions, or if you touch your hearing aids with unclean hands. It is recommended that when you handle your hearing aids, you have recently washed your hands. We understand that this is not always possible which is why it’s so important to give your hearing aids a clean each day. If you work in dusty conditions, then hearing aid ‘socks’ are available to purchase for most hearing aids that sit up over your ear. Or if you or someone you know is handy with some thread and needle, you can create your own ‘sock’ out of bandage material. If you do create your own, it is important that the material is porous enough to still let sound in.
4: Keeping wax from blocking up your hearing aid. Unfortunately (or fortunately for some people) hearing aids are much smaller than they used to be, which means it takes very little wax to block sound from leaving the hearing aid and reaching your ear. Daily and thorough cleaning of your hearing aids means there is a smaller chance of wax blockages. Some hearing aids will also have filters in them which aim to reduce wax from entering the electronics. If you have these, it is important you know how and when to change them. If you are unsure how to change them, or whether you even have them, you can always pop in without an appointment to be helped over the counter. As far as when to change them, this only needs to happen when your hearing aid has stopped working. When this is the case, most people will report that they either feel like they are wearing an earplug rather than a hearing aid, or there is no improvement in their hearing when the aid is turned on. It is important first to check that the battery is not the cause and if not, then replace the filter.
In all, keeping your hearing aids clean and serviced can help to prolong their lives and ensure you are getting the most out of them.
Audiologist Ceri Lloyd.