Murphy’s Law informs 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 aiming to protect our investment and stretch out its life.
You should certainly think of hearing aids in the same way. If you give things an opportunity to go wrong, they will; but if you’re proactive in your maintenance, your hearing aids can carry on and operate properly for years.
So what are the things that can go wrong? The following are the three principal threats to your hearing aids and what you can do to defend against them.
1. Physical damage
Opponent # 1 is physical destruction. Hearing aids contain fragile electronics that are prone to damage from shock. To protect against this, ensure that you store your hearing aids in their storage cases anytime you’re not using them.
An effective rule of thumb is that your hearing aids should be either in your ears or in the storage case at any given time. Setting your hearing aids exposed on any surface is just asking for Murphy’s Law to come and bump 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.
In addition, 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.
Electronics and water do not mix, which anyone who’s dropped a mobile phone in the kitchen sink knows all too well. Once underwater, there’s 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 begin wreaking havoc. Consequently, you should avoid using hairspray, insect spray, or any other sprays while wearing your hearing aids. Additionally, remember that extreme changes in temperature can create condensation, for example going from a climate-controlled room to the outdoors. If this happens, make sure to dry off any wetness that develops.
We also recommend not storing your hearing aids in the bathroom, as the condensation can create problems. This is another reason that your bedside table drawer is probably the ideal spot 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 damage and water with appropriate storage and the prevention of moisture, you’ll still have to protect against opponent # 3: dirt and grime.
Earwax, dust, and debris can accumulate on the hearing aids, clogging the speakers, ports, and other elements. To guard against this, 1) maintain proper ear hygiene, and 2) clean and sanitize your hearing aids every 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 directions specifically for your type of hearing aids.
Finally, think about buying a hearing aid sanitizer. Sanitizers utilize ultraviolet light to comprehensively kill pathogens, all while supplying a safe place for storage.