Just like any other piece of technology, it is not uncommon for hearing aids to need repairs. The best way to keep your hearing aids functioning properly and to minimize repairs is a combination of preventative and proactive maintenance.
A great start to keeping your hearing aids functioning properly is to take time with your audiologist or assistant to ensure that you are comfortable with the use and care of your hearing aids. Understanding and utilizing the protocols like changing wax guards, microphone covers, batteries, and in general, keeping the hearing aids and ear pieces clean and dry will make a world of difference in the life expectancy and possibly the number of repairs.
It is important to understand that ear wax, body oils, sweat and moisture can compromise the functionality of your hearing aids. Hearing aids have tiny computer chips many of which are seated deeply in your ear canal and must be protected and maintained. It is best to store your hearing aids in a cool, dry place. Keeping your hearing aids in places like the bathroom, where humidity can be high, may increase the risk for moisture issues. Another great proactive step is to keep your hearing aids in a desiccant container when not in use. These containers come in simple canister forms or with electrical components and UV bulbs for sterilization. “Dry& Store” kits contain both a desiccant pack and a UV light, pulling moisture out of the hearing aids and preventing potential problems. The best way to use a desiccant device is to place your hearing aids inside with the batteries removed and battery doors open at night and/or any time they have been exposed to more moisture than usual. We are happy to assist you in our office.
There are preventative steps that should be taken to keep the internal components clean and dry, as well as allow sound to transmit without interference. Many hearing aids manufactured in the past several years have a protective wax guard at the end of the receiver to collect any wax or debris from entering the hearing aid itself. If wax does accumulate and plug the guard or the opening of the earpiece, it can prevent sound from transmitting and cause you may think your hearing aid is weak or “dead”. If you notice that your hearing aids sound weak, are creating feedback, are not working, or just do not “sound right”, proactively change the battery and wax guard. Wax guards should be changed once a month unless your audiologist instructs you to change them more frequently.
Some hearing aid styles may have microphone cover. These covers protect the microphone port where sound enters for processing. Each hearing aid has a slight variation of the microphone cover. For some hearing aids, we encourage you to brush over the microphone cover to help clean it but for other hearing aids, it may require an in-office visit.
If troubleshooting has been done at home without success, the next step is to call and make an appointment with your audiologist or assistant. Typically, many repairs can be made in the office with ease. If you feel that your hearing aids are not functioning properly and need assistance, it is important to bring them in promptly. While you are in the office, your audiologist will be able to verify the settings of your hearing aids and their functionality, as well as check your ear canals for any occluding wax that may be interfering with sound transmission. If wax buildup is a recurring problem, your audiologist may proactively schedule regular appointments to have wax removed in order to decrease repairs. Otherwise, we recommend that you schedule six-month appointments to clean and check your hearing aids.