Ear wax is useful and serves a purpose. It protects the skin in the ear canal, blocks dirt and bacteria, and helps keep the ear clean. But too much ear wax can also stop your hearing aids working properly.
Wax buildup is one of the main causes for needing hearing aids repairs, along with battery malfunction. A wax buildup can cause the sound through the hearing aid to be weak and distorted. While you can always visit a hearing professional who will remove the wax buildup for you, here are a few things you can do at home:
- Visually inspect your hearing aids – If you look closely you’ll probably be able to see where the wax is gathering. Begin by wiping your hearing aids with a clean dry cloth. If wax is still visible, use the tools in a cleaning kit (tip #2) to remove it. The wax has probably gathered in one of three places:
- Filters and wax guards: Most hearing aids come with wax protecting elements such as filters and guards. These are designed to be easily removed and cleaned, but the lifespan of these vary. Inspect them daily for signs of debris and be away that they may have to be replaced eventually
- Sound bores and hearing aid tips – this is where sound exits the hearing aid. If it becomes clogged, use a small brush to gently scoop wax from the opening
- Tubing: For Behind-The-Ear (BTE) Hearing Aid users inspect the tube which connects the hearing aid to the earmold, and use a wire to dislodge any blockage.
- Purchase a hearing aid cleaning kit – these cheap kits (normally around $15-$25) contain basic tools such as a wax removal brush and pick, battery magnet, tube and vent cleaner, as well as a battery door opener
- Buy a hearing aid dryer – ear wax can contribute to moisture problems with the hearing aids. Storing hearing aids in a hearing aid dryer overnight is a good way to safely keep them dry and working well. Prices vary but are available both in stores and online.
Hearing aids are important to your quality of life, social life, and mental health. They are also expensive. By taking a few minutes each day to clean and dry them you will more fully enjoy the benefits they provide. More information can be found at: https://www.healthyhearing.com/