Man holding a behind-the-ear hearing aid

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.”

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

You should certainly consider hearing aids in a similar manner. If you give things a chance 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? Below are the three primary threats to your hearing aids and what you can do to protect against them.

1. Physical damage

Opponent # 1 is physical damage. Hearing aids contain vulnerable electronics that are susceptible to damage from shock. To defend against this, be sure you store your hearing aids in their storage cases whenever you’re not using them.

A good rule of thumb is that your hearing aids should be either in your ears or in the storage case at all times. Placing your hearing aids exposed on any surface is just asking for Murphy’s Law to come and bump them off. Likewise, when you’re putting in or removing your hearing aids, it’s a good idea to do this over a soft surface in the event they fall.

In addition, take the time to check and replace the batteries frequently. You’re not doing the circuitry any favors by having the hearing aids operate on low battery power.

2. Moisture

Electronics and water do not mix, which anyone who’s dropped a cell phone in the kitchen sink knows all too well. Once submerged, there’s not much that can be done. But it takes much 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 start wreaking havoc. Consequently, you should refrain from using hairspray, bug spray, or any other sprays while using your hearing aids. Additionally, keep in mind that extreme changes in temperature can generate condensation, for example moving 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 storing your hearing aids in the bathroom, as the condensation can generate issues. This is another reason that your bedside table drawer is probably the best location to store your hearing aids when not in use.

3. Earwax and dirt

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

Earwax, dirt, and debris can accumulate on the hearing aids, blocking the speakers, ports, and other elements. To protect against this, 1) maintain adequate ear hygiene, and 2) clean and sanitize your hearing aids every day.

In regard to cleaning and sanitizing your hearing aids, make sure to use only the equipment supplied by your hearing professional. Your hearing professional can supply cleaning kits and instructions exclusively for your type of hearing aids.

And finally, consider investing in a hearing aid sanitizer. Sanitizers make use of ultraviolet light to thoroughly kill dangerous pathogens, all while supplying a safe place for storage.