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 trying to protect our investment and increase its life.

You should think of hearing aids in the same manner. If you give things an opportunity to go wrong, they will; but if you’re proactive in your maintenance, your hearing aids can persist and operate properly for many years.

So what are some of the things that can go wrong? Here are the three main threats to your hearing aids and what you can do to protect against them.

1. Physical damage

Enemy # 1 is physical damage. Hearing aids contain vulnerable electronics that are prone to damage from shock. To protect against this, be sure 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. Leaving your hearing aids exposed on any surface is just inviting Murphy’s Law to come and knock them off. Similarly, when you’re putting in and removing your hearing aids, it’s a good idea to do this over a soft surface in the event they fall.

Additionally, remember to check and replace the batteries frequently. You’re not doing the circuitry any favors by forcing the hearing aids work on low battery power.

2. Moisture

Electronic devices and water do not mix, which anyone who’s dropped a cell phone in the kitchen sink understands all too well. Once submerged, there’s very little that can be done. But it requires a lot less than complete submersion in water to damage your hearing aids.

Water, in the form of mist, can still work its way into the hearing aids and begin causing havoc. For this reason, you should refrain from using hairspray, insect spray, or any other sprays while wearing your hearing aids. Additionally, keep in mind that extreme changes in temperature can generate condensation, for example going from a climate-controlled room to the outdoors. If this happens, make sure to dry off any moisture that develops.

We also recommend not keeping your hearing aids in the bathroom, as the condensation can generate problems. This is yet another reason that your bedside table drawer is probably the best location to keep your hearing aids when they aren’t being used.

3. Earwax and dirt

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

Earwax, dust, and debris can accumulate on the hearing aids, clogging the speakers, ports, and other components. To protect against this, 1) maintain adequate ear hygiene, and 2) clean and sanitize your hearing aids every day.

In regard to cleaning and sanitizing your hearing aids, ensure that you use only the equipment provided by your hearing professional. Your hearing professional can provide cleaning kits and directions exclusively for your type of hearing aids.

Finally, think about purchasing a hearing aid sanitizer. Sanitizers utilize ultraviolet light to thoroughly kill dangerous pathogens, all while providing a safe place for storage.

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