Proactive maintenance and care for your hearing aids are essential. When you first receive your device from your audiologist or hearing instrument specialist, you might receive plenty of advice on how to keep it dry, how to store it at night, how to prevent it from getting damaged and how to keep it clean.
While doing your part is important, there are also some accessories that can help lighten the load and take care of the hearing aid for. Hearing aid wax guards are a great example of that. We’re going to look at what they are, why you need them and what can go wrong if you don’t use them.
WHAT IS A HEARING AID WAX GUARD?
A hearing aid wax guard is a small plastic screen that is attached to the hearing aids. It rests in the sound outlet, which is in the part of the hearing aid that sits in the ear canal. The sole purpose of the wax guard is to block off the sound outlet and to block bits of earwax, dust, debris and moisture for working their way inside the device. Devices that are closer to the ear canal, such as completely-in-canal and invisible-in-canal hearing aids are even more vulnerable to earwax blockages and dirt build-ups, so they certainly require the protection a hearing aid wax guard provides.
WHY DO I NEED TO PROTECT MY HEARING AID FROM WAX?
We all produce earwax naturally and they play a very important role in protecting the interior of the ear and trapping dirt, dust and debris. However, they aren’t quite as helpful towards our hearing aids. For one, whenever wax and other particles get trapped in the sound outlet or microphone opening, they can create blockages and, as a result, your hearing aid may be distorted or muffled. If wax, dust, or moisture infiltrates the hearing aid, it can do even more damage, which can reduce its overall lifespan and cause it to malfunction. Your audiologist or hearing instrument specialist can help you make repairs and even offer replacement parts for the hearing aid, but it’s much more cost-effective to take some preventative precautions.
DO I NEED TO REPLACE MY HEARING AID WAX GUARDS?
Like anything, hearing aid wax guards suffer from wear and tear over time. They may start to become less effective the more they are used and might not fit as well as they are supposed to. In most cases, you need to replace it once a month or if your hearing aid doesn’t sound as loud or is distorted. Some people produce more earwax than others and thus might need to replace their wax guard more regularly. Wearing a hearing aid can also increase the amount of earwax you make. If you believe that you are producing too much earwax, talk to your audiologist or hearing instrument specialist about whether an earwax removal or cleaning would be an appropriate precaution to take.
WHAT ELSE CAN I DO TO PROTECT MY HEARING AID FROM WAX AND DIRT BUILD-UPS?
Hearing aid wax guards can do a very good job at making sure that earwax, dirt and moisture don’t make their way into the sound outlet. However, you can take a little extra care in reducing the build-up of wax and dirt, yourself. A hearing aid cleaning kit may include dry wipes to clean the surface, as well as devices like thin wire hooks that can reach inside the narrower parts of the device, such as the sound outlets and microphone opening, for a deeper clean. You should clean your hearing aid every night after you take it out of your ear. If you have any issues with your manual dexterity or you’re concerned you are not cleaning it well enough, you can take it to your audiologist and hearing instrument specialist and they can help you maintain it as well.
DO MY HEARING AIDS REQUIRE ANY EXTRA CARE?
Besides cleaning them and fitting them with wax guards, if you want your hearing aids to work as effectively as possible for as long as possible, then there are a few risks to avoid and habits to adopt. Moisture and water are bad for hearing aids, for one, so make sure you don’t wear them in the bathroom if you’re taking a bath or shower or even if it’s particularly humid. It’s a good idea to take the batteries out of the hearing aid and to place both battery and hearing aid in the cool, dry containers that have been provided. Too much exposure to heat can be bad for your hearing aids, too, so don’t leave them sitting out in the sun.
Whether you’re looking for a new hearing aid or you want some advice on maintenance and care, one of our hearing care professionals at one of our convenient locations can provide plenty of advice and help. Get in touch with us at 1-888-553-7520 for any of your hearing health needs.