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Hearing Blog

The need for professional maintenance

December 8, 2023

You should get your hearing aids cleaned by a professional on a regular schedule.  That schedule will vary among patients based on personal needs.  If you get a lot of ear wax, then your hearing aids should be professionally cleaned more than those that do not get lots of ear wax.

Your hearing health care provider has different tools to clean better than what you can do yourself at home.   Hearing aids that fit behind the ear may get a buildup of debris and corrosion.  The aids that have removable microphone covers will get clogged up with scalp and hair debris.   They may be vacuumed with little machines or replaced by your provider.  Either way, they are removed so that the microphone ports can be cleaned properly.  This is not something that you can do yourself.  You may have ear molds with tubing that needs to get changed.  The tubing is specific to your hearing prescription.  If the tubing gets hard then the diameter shrinks, and you are no longer getting your prescription.  If they are hard, they also collect more condensation, and you can’t hear properly through water.   

If your hearing aids fit in your ear or canal, then they will also have a microphone opening that can collect various debris and oils from your hands.  Some will have a removable mic cover, and some will not.  It is important to keep your microphone clear because this is where external sounds enter the hearing aid.  If sound cannot enter the hearing aid properly then it will not be amplified correctly.  Your aid may sound weak, scratchy, distorted, or even stop amplifying if this happens.

When your hearing instruments are professionally cleaned, they also have special sprays, and cleaners that will clean the battery contacts and buttons; thus, reducing the production of corrosion and oil build up.  It needs to run properly for you to hear your best.   If your battery contacts in your car builds up enough gunk and corrosion on them...sooner or later your car won’t start. 

Hearing instruments should be cleaned and sanitized.  This is done by the professional to reduce the possibility of infection.  If you get an infection or fungus in one ear it can easily spread to the other simply by touching the other hearing aid and putting it in the ear. 

Your “receiver” in your hearing aid is like a speaker.  It receives the signal from the microphone, amplifier, and computer chip.  It takes this signal and delivers the sound out of the hearing instrument into your ear canal.   This too can get wax and oil built up.  Even instruments that have wax guards that the patients change themselves can still get some debris past the wax guard.  Thus, the need for a professional to use special equipment to do an advanced clean.   Along with special vacuums, at our office we utilize a machine called “The Spin Doctor”.  This machine allows us to put a cleaning liquid inside of the receiver on hearing aids and insert them into a special cup.. the machine spins the instruments at a high revolution (like a machine spinning blood) and it pull-out wax and oil from inside the receiver.  We have managed to save many aids that patients often thought were goners!

Another new machine that we use is called ReDux.   We put your hearing aids in it and close the lid.. it heats the air inside the chamber to that of boiling water.. 212 degrees.  The high heat and circulation evaporate moisture from the hearing aid.  The machine will actually give a readout of the amount of moisture removed. 

During your cleaning, the professional will check your hearing instruments on an analyzer or computer to make sure the aids are running correctly.   Even if you think they are running ok... the professional will check to make sure your hearing instruments are running to manufacturer capability as well as your programmed prescription.

 Your hearing aids should be professionally cleaned at least twice per year.  Some people produce more ear wax and oil than others.   Some people will perspire while others are wearing heavy sweaters.   Some will be exposed to more dirt, grease, or debris than others.  Your cleaning appointments should be personalized as to how often your hearing health care provider must clear your ears of wax...but at least twice per year.  To Hear Better Is To Live Better!


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