Man holding a behind-the-ear hearing aid

Murphy’s Law tells 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.”

In terms of vehicle maintenance, 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 prolong its life.

You should consider hearing aids in the same way. If you give things a chance to go wrong, they will; but if you’re proactive in your maintenance, your hearing aids can carry on and perform 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

Opponent # 1 is physical damage. Hearing aids consist of sensitive electronics that are susceptible to damage from shock. To defend against this, make sure to store your hearing aids in their storage cases whenever you’re not using them.

A good guideline 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 shove them off. Similarly, when you’re inserting and removing your hearing aids, it’s a good idea to do this over a soft surface in case they fall.

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

2. Moisture

Electronics and water do not mix, which anyone who’s dropped a mobile phone in the sink understands all too well. Once immersed, there’s not much that can be done. But it requires much less than complete submersion in water to harm your hearing aids.

Water, in the form of mist, can still work its way into the hearing aids and begin wreaking havoc. Because of this, you should avoid using hairspray, insect spray, or any other sprays while using your hearing aids. Also, remember that drastic changes in temperature can generate condensation, for instance going from a climate-controlled room to the outdoors. If this happens, ensure that you dry off any moisture that develops.

We also highly recommend not storing your hearing aids in the bathroom, as the condensation can create problems. This is yet another reason that your bedside table drawer is probably the best location to store 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 proper storage and the prevention of moisture, you’ll still have to protect against adversary # 3: dirt and grime.

Earwax, dirt, and debris can build up on the hearing aids, blocking the speakers, ports, and other parts. To protect against this, 1) maintain adequate ear hygiene, and 2) clean and sanitize your hearing aids daily.

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

Finally, consider acquiring 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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