There’s no doubt about it: hearing aids can get pretty dirty. After all, they live inside the ear canal! Earwax is a natural, normal substance. Its function is to protect the skin of the ear canal, and provide some defence against bacteria and fungi. But when wax builds up on your hearing aid, it can cause problems. Wax buildup is one of the main issues that can cause hearing aids to stop working properly. A well-maintained, clean hearing aid will work better and last much longer.

Without further ado, let’s get into the proper hearing aid cleaning routine. Follow our advice and your hearing aid will stay in great shape for years to come.

clean hearing aid

Image courtesy of Storyblocks.

Clean Hearing Aid: Tools And Equipment

When it comes to cleaning your hearing aid, it’s important to use the correct tools and cleaning products.

Firstly, you’ll need a soft cloth such as a microfiber cloth. This is the main tool you’ll use for keeping your hearing aid clean and dry. Moisture is the enemy of the hearing aid, so regularly wiping it over will help to keep it working at its best. It’s important to keep the cloth itself clean, and regularly replace it if it starts getting dirty.

You’ll also need a soft-bristled brush. You can buy purpose-made hearing aid brushes online, or through your hearing specialist. Some even have magnets on the end, to help remove batteries if you find it too fiddly. But in a pinch, you can also use a soft-bristle toothbrush (one that’s never been used to clean your teeth, of course!). Any wax which you can’t wipe away with a cloth can often be gently removed with a brush.

Another valuable tool is the wax pick with wire loop. Many types of hearing aid contain small tubes which can often get blocked with wax. Wax picks are small enough to clean these intricate areas. Again, you can buy these at most hearing centres, and online.

Finally, if your hearing aid has an earmold, a tube blower can be used to force dirt and condensation out from inside the mold.

Clean Hearing Aid: The Proper Method

To properly clean your hearing aid, follow these easy steps.

  1. Check your hearing aid for any obvious debris. Wipe the entire device over with a cloth. Make sure the cloth is completely dry and clean before you do this. Be careful not to wipe debris onto the microphone port or into any of the small openings.
  2. Using your soft-bristle brush, gently brush away any wax that didn’t come off with the cloth. Focus on the microphone port, and any other crevices. Remove the batteries and clean inside of the battery compartment. While you’re cleaning, rotate the hearing aid. Face the opening that you’re working on downwards so that wax can fall out.
  3. Next, clean inside any tubes using your wax pick with wire loop. Carefully insert the tool into the tube or opening, and dislodge the wax until it falls out. Don’t be too forceful. Visually check to make sure you’ve removed all the wax. You might find that it helps to use a flashlight or book light.
  4. If your hearing aid is a BTE type (behind-the-ear), clean the earmold. Remove the earmold from the hook, and thoroughly wipe it clean with a cloth. Once a week, soak your earmold in warm, soapy water and gently wash it with your fingers. Make sure to leave it to dry completely overnight. In the morning, use a tube blower to make sure no moisture remains inside the cavity before reattaching it to your hearing aid.

Clean Hearing Aid: What Not To Do

So, now that you know what you should do, you might be wondering if there’s anything you shouldn’t do. There are certain things that you should never do when attempting to clean a hearing aid. Here is a list of the six biggest “don’t”s of hearing aid care.

  • Never use a cloth or tissue which is infused with a scent, oil, or lotion. Although they might smell nice, these substances can damage your hearing aid as they contain moisture.
  • Never use any detergent, cleaning liquid or oil-based cleaning product on your hearing aid. These products are not made for hearing aids, and will cause more harm than good. Your cleaning cloth should always be dry.
  • Don’t let the hearing aid components come into contact with water. The only part of a hearing aid which you should clean with water is the earmold, and only when completely removed from the device. The microphone, receiver, amplifier and battery compartment should never touch water.
  • Don’t use any abrasive or rough cleaning tool, such as a scourer. Your hearing aid is a delicate instrument. If you treat it too roughly, it could become scratched or damaged.
  • After washing your earmold, never reattach it when it’s still wet. Always wait for it to dry completely.

Clean Hearing Aid: Tips And Tricks

By now, you should be an expert at proper hearing aid cleaning. Before you go, here are our final tips and tricks on getting the most out of your hearing aid.

If you live in a particularly humid climate, or you sweat a lot, invest in a hearing aid dehumidifier. This is a device which you put your hearing aid inside of at night. It draws all the moisture out, keeping your device as dry as a bone.

Try to wipe your hearing aid clean at least once a day. Conduct a full clean at least once a week, or whenever you notice it getting dirty. Clean your hearing aid in the evening, so that it has time to dry overnight before you use it again.

Always take your hearing aid out before you shower or bathe, and never store it in the bathroom.

Every night, remove the batteries and leave the battery compartment doors open. This will allow it to dry overnight, if any sweat or moisture has crept in during the day.

Finally, if you’re struggling to remove all the wax or you think your hearing aid needs a professional clean, ask a hearing care professional such as Sandia Hearing to help. If your hearing aid is whistling, not working properly or seems blocked, we’d be happy to take a look. We’ll give your hearing aid a professional cleaning treatment, so that it serves you well for years to come.