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, replace the filters, and rotate the tires. We’re aiming to protect our investment and extend its life.

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

So what are the things that can go wrong? The following 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 destruction. Hearing aids contain delicate electronics that are susceptible to damage from shock. To defend against this, ensure that you store your hearing aids in their storage cases anytime you’re not using them.

An effective guideline is that your hearing aids should be either in your ears or in the storage case at any given time. Placing your hearing aids unprotected on any surface is just asking for Murphy’s Law to come and bump them off. Similarly, when you’re putting in or removing your hearing aids, it’s a good idea to do this over a soft surface in the event they fall.

In addition, take the time to check and replace the batteries frequently. You’re not doing the circuitry any favors by having the hearing aids operate on low battery power.

2. Moisture

Electronic devices and water do not mix, which anyone who’s dropped a cell phone in the sink understands all too well. Once underwater, there’s very little that can be done. But it takes 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 start wreaking havoc. For this reason, you should refrain from using hairspray, bug spray, or any other sprays while using your hearing aids. Additionally, remember that drastic changes in temperature can create condensation, for example going from a climate-controlled room to the outdoors. If this happens, ensure that you dry off any moisture that develops.

We also 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 place to keep your hearing aids when they aren’t being used.

3. Earwax and dirt

Even if you’ve safeguarded your hearing aids against physical destruction and water with appropriate storage and the avoidance of moisture, you’ll still need to protect against adversary # 3: dirt and grime.

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

Concerning cleaning and sanitizing your hearing aids, ensure that you use only the equipment provided by your hearing professional. Your hearing professional can supply cleaning kits and guidelines exclusively for your type of hearing aids.

And finally, think about buying a hearing aid sanitizer. Sanitizers use ultraviolet light to comprehensively kill pathogens, all while providing a safe place for storage.

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