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Hearing aids have come a long way since the bulky contraptions that your grandparents wore. Modern hearing aids are complex devices, and if you want them to work as well as possible you need to take good care of them. Here are a few tips to help you ensure that your hearing aids last as long as possible.
Wearing Your Hearing Aids
When you first get your hearing aids, try to get into the habit of wearing them all day. The longer you wear the hearing aids for, the quicker you will adapt to them and the more comfortable you will become with using them. If you have been given two hearing aids, make sure that you always wear them both.
Listening using a hearing aid does require a little concentration, but once you get used to it you should find it easier to localise sounds, and you should find that you are better able to understand speech, even in a noisy environment.
Storing Your Hearing Aids
If you take your hearing aid out, try to store it properly. Don’t leave it in your car (especially on a warm day), and don’t leave it in the bathroom while you are taking a shower. Water and heat are both very damaging to hearing aids. If your hearing aid does get wet, do not put it in an oven or a microwave to dry it out! This may sound obvious, but it is something that some well-meaning people have suggested to hearing aid users, and it will destroy your hearing aid.
If your hearing aid does get wet (from liquid, or from a humid environment), wipe the batteries dry. Use an anti-humidity kit, if you have one, to dry the hearing aid out. You can purchase specialist drying products which will safely dry out your hearing aid if you do end up having problems with it. These tools will safely remove moisture from your hearing aid. You can purchase electronic kits, or carry a tub of drying capsules for use while you are travelling.
Cleaning and Care
It is important that you keep your hearing aids clean. Ear wax, suntan lotion, hair spray and makeup can all do a lot of damage to your hearing aid. Do not use standard household cleaning products on your hearing aid because they may damage the device. You can purchase specialist sprays, wipes and general purpose cleaning kits that will help you to keep your hearing aid clean.
The biggest concern is a build-up of wax on the earbud, especially if the wax gets deep enough to damage the device itself. Get into the habit of cleaning the earbud every day. A lot of in the ear style hearing aids come with a wax protection system which stops the wax from damaging the instrument. Check the instructions that came with your device to find out how to clean it, and how often you should do so.
Hearing aids are very sensitive to knocks and will likely suffer serious damage if you drop them. For this reason, it is important that you keep them in a safe place when they are not in use. Ideally, you should store them in the case that they came in, or in your drying kit, so that they are protected from having anything land on them. Make sure that they are stored well out of reach of children, and pets. Dogs can sometimes hear the whistling noise that the hearing aids produce, and it can irritate them, making them seek out the hearing aid and chew on it.
The batteries in hearing aids can be toxic if swallowed, and since they are small, gummy looking objects children are often tempted to put them in their mouths. Keep the device in a box, discretely out of sight, to prevent this.
After getting fitted for a hearing aid your doctor will probably recommend that you come back for occasional checkups. You should do this, to make sure that the hearing aid fits properly, is working well, and your hearing is not deteriorating any further. If you have manually adjusted the volume on the hearing aid and find that you are now getting feedback, you should call the doctor and schedule an audiology visit so that they can make better adjustments themselves to protect your hearing and to ensure that the earbud fits correctly and your canal is free from wax.