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Man holding a behind-the-ear hearing aid

Murphy’s Law tells us that “if anything can go wrong, it will.” A better variation might be that “things will go wrong in any given situation, if you give them a chance.”

That’s the reason we change the oil in our cars, switch out the filters, and rotate the tires. We’re trying to preserve our investment and extend its life.

You should certainly think of 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 endure and operate properly for several years.

So what are some of the things that can go wrong? Below 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 consist of sensitive electronics that are prone to damage from shock. To defend against this, remember to store your hearing aids in their storage cases whenever you’re not wearing 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 unprotected on any surface is just asking for Murphy’s Law to come and knock them off. Similarly, when you’re putting in 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 often. 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 mobile phone in the kitchen sink knows 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 causing chaos. Consequently, you should refrain from using hairspray, bug spray, or any other sprays while using your hearing aids. Additionally, keep in mind 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 keeping your hearing aids in the bathroom, as the condensation can create issues. This is another reason that your bedside table drawer is probably the best location to keep your hearing aids when they aren’t in use.

3. Earwax and dirt

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

Earwax, dirt, and debris can accumulate on the hearing aids, clogging the speakers, ports, and other parts. To guard against this, 1) sustain adequate ear hygiene, and 2) clean and sanitize your hearing aids each day.

In terms of cleaning and sanitizing your hearing aids, ensure that you use only the tools supplied by your hearing professional. Your hearing professional can supply cleaning kits and guidance exclusively for your type of hearing aids.

Finally, consider acquiring a hearing aid sanitizer. Sanitizers make use of ultraviolet light to comprehensively kill pathogens, all while providing a safe place for storage.