Beginner’s Guide to Cleaning Hearing Aids

Cleaning products in a bucket

You (hopefully) wash all of your clothes regularly. Anything you have on your body for an extended time is exposed to the elements and to your body’s natural musk, so should be cleaned liberally. Shirts, pants, socks… you even polish jewelry every now and then.

Well, the same should apply to hearing aids. After all, you wear them like you would anything else – they’re exposed to a lot of moisture as they operate, so they deserve a good cleaning every now and then, just like everything else. Except belts – have you noticed we never wash our belts?

Cleaning your hearing aids

First of all, how often should this be done? Ideally, you’ll clean your hearing aids about once a month – for something that can be done absentmindedly in front of the TV, that’s really not bad at all.

Second of all, why is this necessary? Hearing aids aren’t clothes – they don’t collect dirt like a cotton t-shirt, so why bother? Well, like we said earlier, they do collect moisture, which can cause long term damage to the hearing aid’s overall lifespan.

Every day you can extend your hearing aid’s lifespan is another day that you don’t have to go through the financial hassle of getting a new one. It’s certainly worth a tiny sliver of your monthly routine.

How to clean your hearing aid

The parts of the hearing aid that are the most crucial to clean are the microphone, which takes in the sound, and the receiver, which emits the sound into your ear (yes, the name “receiver” doesn’t make much sense considering it’s the part that sends out the sound, but we don’t make the rules – call it “the speaker” if that makes it easier).

Since sound enters and leaves through these parts of the hearing aid, any kind of clog or obstruction is obviously going to hamper your listening experience, which is why you’ll want to make sure they’re especially clean. With that said, let’s get into the specifics.

How to clean custom hearing aids (ITE, ITC, CIC, IIC)

  1. Wipe down your hearing aids with a cloth, tissue, or designated hearing aid wipes or disinfecting spray (listed above).
  2. Locate the microphone and speaker ports of your hearing aids. Keep in mind that some hearing aids have two microphone ports. The speaker port is often covered with a white wax filter.
  3. Use a brush over the microphone and speaker ports to remove any loose wax or debris.
  4. Use a wax pick to clear out the microphone or speaker port. Do not stick anything longer into the microphone or speaker port, as it can damage the components. Replace the wax filter if needed.
  5. Locate the vent of the hearing aid. This is an opening that allows air to go from one side of the hearing aid to the other. Use a vent cleaner to clear out the vent.

Cleaning tips for BTE (behind-the-ear) hearing aids

  1. Wipe down your hearing aids and earmold or dome with a cloth, tissue, or designated hearing aid wipes or disinfecting spray (listed above).
  2. Locate the microphone of your hearing aids. Keep in mind that some hearing aids have two microphone ports.
  3. Use a brush over the microphone ports to remove any loose wax or debris.
  4. Use a wax pick to clear out the holes at the tip of the earmold or dome.

Cleaning tips for RIC (receiver in-the-ear) hearing aids

  1. Wipe down your hearing aids and earmold or dome with a cloth, tissue, or designated hearing aid wipes or disinfecting spray (listed above).
  2. Locate the microphone of your hearing aids. Keep in mind that some hearing aids have two microphone ports.
  3. Use a brush over the microphone ports to remove any loose wax or debris.
  4. Use a wax pick to clear out the holes at the tip of the earmold or dome. Do not stick anything longer into the speaker port, as it can damage the components. Replace the wax filter if needed.
  5. If you have an earmold on the hearing aid, locate the vent of the earmold, and use a vent cleaner to clear out the vent. This is an opening that allows air to go from one side of the hearing aid to the other.

How do you take care of hearing aids?

So what is this process? How does one clean their hearing aids? Well, the ideal first step is actually preventative – using a dehumidifier.

A dehumidifier, or a dryer, is a device that you can store your hearing aids in overnight, and it will eliminate any moisture accumulated over the course of the day. This is absolutely crucial in extending the life of your hearing aid – too much moisture can damage the internal components, causing malfunction and requiring repairs.

Dropping your hearing aids into one of these is the best way to maintain them, but how can you otherwise take care of them?

Best tools for cleaning your hearing aids

5-in-1 Hearing Aid Cleaner Kit

This nifty kit includes 5 tools: a brush, a wax removal pick, a tube or vent cleaning tool, a battery door opener, and a battery magnet tool.

acu-life-hearing-aid-cleaning-kit

NanoClean Hearing Aid Cleaners

Includes 20 nylon brush floss strands for cleaning the tubing on BTE hearing aids, or the vent on custom hearing aids.

Hearing Aid Cleaning Brushes

Includes a multi-purpose tool with a brush and magnet on one end and a wax pick on the other.

hearing-aid-cleaning-brushes

Audiowipes Disinfectant Towelettes. Includes 100 small individually wrapped disinfecting towelettes to use on your hearing aids and/or earmold for cleaning and disinfecting without harsh or damaging chemicals.

Hearing Aid Disinfecting Spray

Includes a 4 oz. disinfecting spray, which can be used to clean hearing aids and earmolds with a tissue or paper towel.

Jodi-Vac Hearing Aid Vacuum Cleaner

Includes an electronic vacuum cleaner, for those who need more frequent deep cleanings of their hearing aids due to wax or debris accumulation.

hearing-aid-vacuum-cleaner

These are just some of the tools of the trade, but how would you go about using them? Let’s finally get to the process of cleaning your hearing aids.

8 other nifty tips

Now that you’re a master at scrubbing your hearing tech, here are some other general tips to keep in mind when thinking about your hearing technology hygiene.

  1. Clean your hearing aids over a soft surface, so that the hearing aid is not damaged if dropped. We recommend sitting at a table with a hand towel underneath your work area.
  2. Do not use any water, cleaning fluids, alcohol, or other solvents on your hearing aids, as these can cause damage. The digital components within a hearing aid are very sensitive to water damage, so these substances could wreak havoc.
  3. Establish a routine for cleaning your hearing aids so it is done on a consistent basis.
  4. If you use a specific cloth to clean your hearing aids, make sure the cloth is cleaned regularly to avoid re-depositing wax, oils, or debris back onto your hearing aids.
  5. Make sure your hands are clean and dry before handling your hearing aids.
  6. Do not put any portion of your hearing aids in your (or anyone else’s) mouth!
  7. If you suspect that your hearing aid is broken or damaged, do not try to repair it. Instead, take it to your hearing healthcare provider for service.
  8. Clean your hearing aid from top to bottom to avoid introducing any wax into the microphones of the device.

Overall

Cleaning your hearing aids is just as important as cleaning your clothes, dishes, sheets, or whatever else you can think of. It’s important to maintain the quality of your hearing aids – otherwise, you risk having to drop unnecessary funds on another model sooner than you should.

Duncan is an Australian-born American-raised creative writer with a passion for healthy ears. He continues to build upon his audiology qualifications with research and various courses. Duncan has been working alongside Florida-based audiologist Lindsey Banks, Au.D., to make sure that Clear Living has the most up-to-date content.

Lindsey Banks is a graduate of the Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) program at the University of Florida. She uses her diverse experience in hearing healthcare and her passion for helping people to provide credible information to those with hearing loss who visit Clear Living.

17 Comments
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  • Daphne Gilpin
    I like your idea to establish a cleaning routine so we get in the habit of caring for our hearing aids. I want to help my dad find an audiologist and get evaluated for hearing aids because he's had a lot of trouble understanding conversations for the last couple of months. Thanks for sharing this info so I can help him write down a cleaning routine to follow and keep the hearing aids in good shape.
  • Rebecca Gardner
    It was helpful when you explained that hearing aids need to be cleaned since they collect damage-causing moisture. My mom is looking for an ear measurement service in our area because she's been having trouble understanding conversations and would benefit from getting hearing aids soon. Thanks for sharing these tips I can pass along to help her avoid potential issues with the hearing aids.
  • Dr. Chris Hoffmann
    Great article Duncan! I think this blog will help lot of hearing aid users in current situation when they can't go to their hearing aid provider. Looking forward for more blogs like this.
  • Bette McFall
    i cannot find a place to buy the filters and domes for seimans hearing aids. help!!!
    • Lindsey Banks
      The filters and domes for most manufacturers' hearing aids need to be purchased through your hearing provider. If you no longer have one you can use out contact form to find one in your area: https://quotes.clearliving.com/org-hearing-tests?comment
  • Elijah Samson
    You got me when you said that cleaning your hearing aids will help you to save them from repairs and can make them reliable for years to come. My dad is planning to shop for a hearing aid. He had an auto accident that has affected the hearing ability of his right ear. Since he doesn't want to damage the delicate parts of his hearing aid, I will make sure to ask him to have it serviced by a professional on a regular basis.
    • Clear Living
      Hi Elijah, thank you for the comment, it's great to know that the article has been beneficial.