November 4, 2009

Ask the Audiologist

margaretBy Heather Sandy, M.A., CCC-A
Audiology Consultants, P.C.

How do I take care of my new hearing aids?

Hearing aids are fairly “low maintenance”, but there are a few key things you can do to ensure proper function or your hearing instruments. Some issues common to all hearing aids are earwax, moisture and batteries. Your hearing healthcare professional should review this information with you at your hearing aid fitting or at any time a problem is noted.

First we will address earwax, also called cerumen. This waxy substance is a normal product of a healthy ear, but we do need to take care that it does not interfere with our hearing instrument function. Every type of hearing aid has an opening where the sound comes out and enters your ear. This opening should be checked every day to ensure that it is not blocked by earwax. You should have a cleaning tool to assist you with removal of this wax. If you are not sure how to accomplish this, or limited vision or dexterity makes this difficult for you, see your hearing healthcare provider for instruction or regular cleaning.

A second “enemy” of hearing aids is moisture. Electronic devices do not like to get wet, and your hearing aids are no exception. A little common sense is in order here: remember to take hearing aids out before stepping into the shower or jumping into a pool. If it is raining, an umbrella should keep us dry. But there are less obvious moisture problems to consider. Summertime humidity, perspiration or even just small amount of moisture from normal use can occasionally interfere with hearing aid function. In general, hearing aids should be opened at the battery compartment when not is use. They should be stored in are area of low humidity: not the bathroom or kitchen. If moisture is a particular problem for you, several types of drying units are available.

From simple containers with drying crystals to electronic dryers which also sanitize your instruments. Ask your hearing healthcare professional about options that would work for you and your hearing instruments.

All hearing instruments require batteries and you should know the specific size that works with your instruments. The amount of time that a battery lasts will vary greatly depending on the size of battery, type of hearing aid, and hours of use. On average, they will need to be changed every 1-2 weeks, but again, consult with your hearing professional about your specific devices.

One last note about taking care of your hearing aids. There will, of course, be times when you are not wearing them.,It is recommended that you keep them in the same place each time you take them out of your ears. This helps prevent loss or even just time wasted searching. If you have a pet at home, please keep the hearing aids and batteries out of reach. Our dogs and cats love us, but they also love our hearing aids. Find a safe, dry storage place and stick with it.

Just a little regular maintenance and some advice from your hearing healthcare professional can help you to keep your hearing aids working properly so you don’t miss a moment.