And if they aren't properly maintained, they can and will malfunction. A significant part of this maintenance involves daily cleaning, which varies slightly depending on the type of hearing aid you own.

Aside from regular cleaning, you should be careful not to expose your hearing aid to moisture. It's advisable to have a dry box where you can store your hearing aid while it's charging. Many dry boxes also help disinfect hearing aids while they run, as well. 

It's also recommended to turn off your hearing aids when you aren't using them to help preserve your battery life and improve its longevity. If you happen to have a hearing aid that uses disposable batteries, we recommend carrying a few backup batteries in your outerwear, just in case. More importantly, change disposable batteries promptly, inspecting your battery compartment for any signs of corrosion or leakage.

Contact your audiologist immediately if you notice signs of battery acid, which usually looks like a greenish-white film. Do not continue using the device under any circumstances. 

Lastly, hair products are notorious for causing hearing aids to become clogged. To avoid this, keep your hearing aid safely stowed if you intend to style your hair. Make sure you also keep the device away from sources of extreme heat.

How to Clean Your Hearing Aid

We advise keeping the following tools on hand for cleaning your devices and protecting against earwax buildup

  • Cleaning brushes. These specialized brushes have bristles to clear away wax buildup. 
  • Ventilation cleaner. This long, plastic probe is designed to be inserted into a hearing vent to clear built up wax and debris.
  • Wax guards. Small attachments that help keep moisture, dust, and other debris from getting into a hearing aid.
  • Dry box. Can store and protect hearing aids when not in use, eliminate moisture buildup, and disinfect a hearing aid. 
  • Cleaning cloth. Although there are specialized cloths for cleaning hearing aids, any cloth designed for cleaning eyeglasses should suffice.

Many of these tools may be available at your audiologist's office. Note that for some hearing aids, you may need specialized brushes or cleaning tools — your audiologist can tell you more. 

Cleaning Behind-The-Ear (BTE) Hearing Aids

  1. Turn off your hearing aid. 
  2. Detach the earmold from your hearing aid. 
  3. Fill a small container with warm water and mild soap, and place the earmold inside. 
  4. While the earmold soaks, gently wipe debris off the surface of your hearing aid. 
  5. Examine the vents and any other openings in your hearing aid, and remove built-up debris with your brush. 
  6. Dry the earmold and tubing overnight. You may optionally place it in your dry box. 

Cleaning Receiver-in-Canal (RCE) Hearing Aids

  1. Turn off your hearing aid. 
  2. Wipe down your hearing aid with a clean, soft, dry cloth.
  3. Remove built-up debris and wax on the hearing aid's shell.
  4. Gently Massage the hearing aid dome with your thumbs to dislodge foreign material. 

Cleaning In-The-Ear and In-The-Canal Hearing Aids

  1. Turn off your hearing aid.
  2. Wipe down the hearing aid's external shell with a clean, dry cloth. 
  3. Clean the receiver tubing, vent opening, and microphone port of your hearing aid using a combination of your brush and your ventilation cleaner. 

Do not, under any circumstances, take this style of hearing aid apart at home. 

Charging Your Hearing Aid

Once you're done cleaning your hearing aid, either plug it in or place it on its charging dock if one was provided. Many dry boxes also double as charging stations, so this is also an option. By the next morning, your hearing aid should be fully charged and ready to use. 

Why You Should Regularly Schedule an Audiology Exam

Day-to-day maintenance aside, a professional audiologist should regularly inspect your hearing aid every six to nine months. This is the rough lifespan of a typical earmold. These exams can also serve as a benchmark for whether or not you're properly caring for your hearing aid.