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Man holding a behind-the-ear hearing aid

Murphy’s Law informs 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.”

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 lengthen 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 care and maintenance, your hearing aids can endure and function properly for many years.

So what are 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 vulnerable electronics that are prone to damage from shock. To protect against this, be sure you store your hearing aids in their storage cases whenever you’re not using 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. Leaving your hearing aids unprotected on any surface is just inviting 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 that they fall.

In addition, remember to check and replace the batteries frequently. You’re not doing the electronics any favors by forcing the hearing aids function on low battery power.

2. Moisture

Electronic devices and water do not mix, which anyone who’s dropped a mobile phone in the kitchen sink knows all too well. Once immersed, there’s very little that can be done. But it takes a lot less than complete submersion in water to wreck your hearing aids.

Water, in the form of mist, can still work its way into the hearing aids and begin wreaking havoc. Because of this, you should refrain from using hairspray, insect spray, or any other sprays while using your hearing aids. Also, remember that drastic 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 moisture that develops.

We also recommend not keeping your hearing aids in the bathroom, as the condensation can create problems. This is yet another reason that your bedside table drawer is probably the ideal location to keep your hearing aids when they aren’t being used.

3. Earwax and dirt

Even if you’ve guarded your hearing aids against physical damage and water with adequate storage and the prevention of moisture, you’ll still need to protect against enemy # 3: dirt and grime.

Earwax, dust, and debris can accumulate on the hearing aids, clogging the speakers, ports, and other components. To guard against this, 1) sustain proper ear hygiene, and 2) clean and sanitize your hearing aids daily.

In regard to cleaning and sanitizing your hearing aids, ensure that you use only the tools supplied by your hearing professional. Your hearing professional can provide cleaning kits and guidelines specifically for your type of hearing aids.

And finally, consider buying a hearing aid sanitizer. Sanitizers make use of ultraviolet light to thoroughly kill dangerous pathogens, all while supplying a safe place for storage.