Like any device we rely upon—whether it’s a laptop, a cell phone, or a desktop printer—ahearing aid has to work when we need it. And like any of those, hearing aids work better when they are properly maintained.

Keeping your hearing aids in top working condition doesn’t have to be daunting, or an excuse for a costly trip to a repair shop. Instead, some basic preventive maintenance can go a long way towards keeping your hearing aid functional and error-free.

Among the most basic steps you can take to maintain your hearing aids is to be mindful of earwax.

 

How can I keep my hearing aid free of earwax?

The human body produces earwax to keep our ear canals moist and free of unwanted debris. Unfortunately, that means it can also hinder devices we do want in our ears, including earbud headphones and hearing aids.

Though BtE (behind the ear) hearing aids, such as Embrace Hearing models, are less susceptible to wax than aids that sit fully in the ear, it’s still important to consider the impact that earwax build-up has on your aid. In fact, researchers found that earwax is one of the most common reasons that all types of hearing aids stop working. In fact, they are still working fine, they are just plugged.

Wax is particularly common on any parts of the aid that sit inside the ear canal, such as the speaker (also called the receiver) in Embrace Hearing aids, which projects sound into the ear canal. If enough wax builds up on the speaker, it can muffle sound or even damage the aid. In some cases, earwax can even lead the hearing aid to switch itself off.

Simple daily cleaning of the aid will not only help reduce the risk of wax-related damage but also ensure that you’re hearing the clearest sounds from the aid. Many hearing aid professionals recommend inspecting your hearing aids in the evening as part of a regular routine. It is also a good idea to replace the domes when they become discolored or damaged.

Most premium hearing aids come with replaceable wax guards. These very small white “guards” can only be seen when the dome is removed. They perform the critical job of keeping wax out of the speaker. Any time your hearing aids seem quieter than normal and seem to cut in and out, always start by replacing the wax guards.

For guidelines on cleaning the components of Embrace Hearing aids, including how to replace wax guards and domes, take a look at our library of instructional videos, including methods for cleaning the hearing aid tubing and replacing an earwax guard.

 

What steps can I take to make earwax less of an issue?

A good place to start is to simply be diligent in talking to your doctor about when it’s necessary to remove earwax. Unlike the cotton swabs of your youth, doctors now recommend a variety of non-invasive removal methods to treat earwax buildup, including wax softeners and water rinses.

Depending on how much earwax you produce, your doctor also might recommend simply washing out your ear canals while taking a shower.

Sure, earwax is an unpleasant fact of life, but don’t let it stop you from utilizing your hearing aids to the fullest. A brief conversation with your doctor and some routine preventive maintenance will go a long way towards ensuring optimal performance from your aid.