Hearing aids are crucially important devices that help us lead healthy, happy lives, just like a pair of glasses. Once hearing loss enters the picture, hearing aids are the best thing we can do to ensure that hearing loss does not control our lives.
Hearing aids are, however, a significant expense for most people. Given the relatively high purchase price of a set of hearing aids, it’s natural to want them to last as long as possible!
In general, a set of hearing aids can be expected to last somewhere between three and seven years. That’s a pretty wide range! The range is so wide because of the many differences in the ways people use their hearing aids. Some people live in dry climates, have relatively little earwax, and don’t sweat very much. These are things that can help a set of hearing aids to survive for a long time! Others may have different body chemistry, and live somewhere where it rains every day. This might shorten the lifespan of a set of hearing aids by exposing them to more moisture.
Regardless of the environment your hearing aids have to work in, here are a few things you can do to ensure they last as long as possible.
Every night, when you take your hearing aids out, wipe them down with a clean, dry cloth. If your hearing aids use disposable batteries, open the battery compartments to let the accumulated moisture evaporate.
Even with this routine, eventually earwax and environmental debris may clog the tiny openings in your hearing aids. This will reduce their effectiveness, and also strain the sensitive components inside. It’s a good idea to periodically clean these openings with a clean brush.
Your ears may react to your hearing aids as though they are a foreign object, and accordingly produce more earwax. Talk to your hearing care provider about how best to remove excess earwax from your ears, but it is not a good idea to use cotton swabs or “ear candling” to accomplish this. Keeping your ears clean is a great way to help keep your hearing aids clean!
It’s also a good idea to bring your hearing aids in for regular professional cleaning. A professional cleaning will leave your hearing aids completely dry and clean, inside and out, and help ensure their greatest longevity.
Some parts of hearing aids, like tubes for BTE (behind-the-ear) models, require periodic replacement. By scheduling a regular appointment with your hearing care provider, you’ll be able to take a hearing test—to see whether your hearing aids’ programming may require an adjustment—as well as have them take a look at your hearing aids. Any wear-&-tear should be repaired right away. What might seem like a small problem can become much bigger, if it allows moisture and debris to get inside to the delicate parts in your hearing aids.
Keep Them Out of the Bathroom During Routines
Even if your hearing aids are water resistant or waterproof, it’s best to keep them away from water as much as possible. Keeping them out of the bathroom is a great way to do this. Showers generate a lot of moisture, so even if you’re not wearing your hearing aids in the shower (which you should never do!) they will still be exposed to a great deal of moisture simply by being in the bathroom.
Similarly, applying makeup, hairspray, face lotion, and other products can unnecessarily expose your hearing aids to moisture and debris. It’s best to leave them out of the bathroom during your routines. You can put them in after your morning routine, and take them out before your nighttime routine.
Hearing Aid Dehumidifiers
While not necessary for everyone, those who live in especially moist climates or who sweat more profusely can benefit from a hearing aid dehumidifier. Simply place your hearing aids in the dehumidifier at night, after wiping them clean and opening the battery compartments, and moisture will be actively removed while you sleep. For those who wear rechargeable hearing aids, dehumidifying and disinfecting chargers are available from most reputable hearing aid companies.
If you or a loved one may need hearing aids and isn’t currently wearing them, make an appointment for a hearing test today and find out how hearing aids can help you live life to the fullest!