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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 version 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 attempting to preserve our investment and expand its life.

You should 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 care and maintenance, your hearing aids can carry on and function properly for several years.

So what are some of 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

Enemy # 1 is physical destruction. Hearing aids contain vulnerable electronics that are prone to damage from shock. To protect against this, be sure you store your hearing aids in their storage cases anytime 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. Setting your hearing aids unprotected on any surface is just asking for Murphy’s Law to come and shove them off. Similarly, when you’re putting in or removing your hearing aids, it’s best to do this over a soft surface in case they fall.

Additionally, remember to check and replace the batteries often. You’re not doing the electronics any favors by forcing the hearing aids operate on low battery power.

2. Moisture

Electronics and water do not mix, which anyone who’s dropped a mobile phone in the kitchen sink understands all too well. Once underwater, there’s little that can be done. But it requires much less than complete submersion in water to wreck your hearing aids.

Water, in the form of mist, can still work its way into the hearing aids and begin wreaking chaos. Consequently, you should avoid using hairspray, insect spray, or any other sprays while wearing your hearing aids. Also, keep in mind that drastic changes in temperature can generate 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 highly recommend not keeping your hearing aids in the bathroom, as the condensation can create problems. This is yet another reason that your bedside table drawer is probably the ideal location to store your hearing aids when they aren’t being used.

3. Earwax and dirt

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

Earwax, dirt, and debris can build up on the hearing aids, clogging the speakers, ports, and other elements. To protect against this, 1) maintain adequate ear hygiene, and 2) clean and sanitize your hearing aids daily.

Concerning cleaning and sanitizing your hearing aids, ensure that you use only the equipment supplied by your hearing professional. Your hearing professional can supply cleaning kits and guidance specifically for your type of hearing aids.

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