Man holding a behind-the-ear hearing aid

Murphy’s Law tells us that “if anything can go wrong, it will.” A better variation 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, replace the filters, and rotate the tires. We’re aiming to protect our investment and stretch out its life.

You should consider hearing aids in a similar manner. If you give things an opportunity to go wrong, they will; but if you’re proactive in your maintenance, your hearing aids can last and perform properly for several years.

So what are some of the things that can go wrong? Below are the three main threats to your hearing aids and what you can do to protect against them.

1. Physical damage

Enemy # 1 is physical damage. Hearing aids consist of delicate electronics that are susceptible to damage from shock. To defend against this, be sure you store your hearing aids in their storage cases anytime you’re not wearing them.

An effective 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 unprotected on any surface is just asking for Murphy’s Law to come and knock 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, remember to check and replace the batteries often. You’re not doing the electronics any favors by forcing the hearing aids work 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 immersed, there’s little that can be done. But it requires much less than total 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 causing chaos. For this reason, you should refrain from using hairspray, bug spray, or any other sprays while wearing your hearing aids. Also, keep in mind that radical changes in temperature can create condensation, for instance going from a climate-controlled room to the outdoors. If this happens, make sure to dry off any wetness that develops.

We also suggest not keeping your hearing aids in the bathroom, as the condensation can generate issues. This is yet another reason that your bedside table drawer is probably the best spot to keep your hearing aids when they aren’t being used.

3. Earwax and dirt

Even if you’ve defended your hearing aids against physical destruction and water with appropriate 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 components. To protect against this, 1) sustain adequate ear hygiene, and 2) clean and sanitize your hearing aids every day.

Concerning cleaning and sanitizing your hearing aids, make sure to use only the tools provided by your hearing professional. Your hearing professional can provide cleaning kits and instructions specifically for your type of hearing aids.

And finally, consider buying a hearing aid sanitizer. Sanitizers utilize ultraviolet light to comprehensively kill dangerous pathogens, all while providing a safe place for storage.