If you use hearing aids, it’s important that you clean them regularly. Hearing aids are constantly exposed to earwax, dirt, and moisture, and regular cleaning can not only prevent ear infection but makes sure that your hearing aids are delivering the clearest sound possible.
Cleaning your hearing aids
Your hearing aids should come with a cleaning kit that is specific to the type of device you have. When you get your hearing aids, you’ll also be given advice on how to clean and maintain them at home.
What’s in my hearing aid cleaning kit?
Your hearing aid cleaning kit will generally include:
- Soft brush and dry cloth — the soft brush and dry cloth will help to remove wax from the mould, filters, and domes on your hearing aid. Some brushes have a magnetic battery removal tool as well
- Wax pick or wire loop — this helps to remove wax and debris from the vents and nooks of the hearing aid
- Multi-tool — an all-in-one cleaning tool that has a wire loop, magnet, and brush, to help you thoroughly clean your device
General hearing aid cleaning tips
Hearing aids are fairly small devices, but they contain powerful technology and can be quite sensitive, so it’s important to take care while cleaning.
Here are some general cleaning and maintenance tips for your hearing aids:
- Wash your hands first and make sure they’re dry before you start cleaning
- Wipe your hearing aids with a damp cloth or use the soft brush tool to brush off any debris that may be on the hearing aids. Do not wash your hearing aids with water
- Hearing aids are water-resistant, but they’re not usually not waterproof – so avoid submerging yours in water. Remove your device before taking a shower or going swimming
- Avoid using wipes with chemicals or alcohol
- Take out your hearing aids during your hygiene routine, for example, washing your face or applying cosmetics like sprays or gels
- Avoid using sharp objects around the microphone or receiver ports, using your wax pick instead
- If your hearing aids use batteries, leave the battery compartment open overnight (you don’t have to completely remove the battery from the aid)
- You should dock your rechargeable batteries as instructed by the manufacturer
- Avoid storing your hearing aids somewhere too warm — for example, leaving them on a windowsill on a sunny day, or too close to a radiator
- Do not use other people’s hearing aids and never share yours with others
How to clean your Specsavers hearing aids
If you bought your hearing aids from us, you’ll have received a cleaning kit and been given advice
on what you need to do to care for them. Here is a step-by-step summary of how to clean the
different types of hearing aids that we offer:
How to clean ITE (in the ear) hearing aids
- Gently brush the microphone port, receiver, and vent openings to remove any wax or debris
- Hold the device face-down to allow any loose particles to fall
- Use the wax pick to carefully dislodge any stubborn material from the vent
- Wipe the device and its case clean with a clean, dry cloth
How to clean BTE (behind the ear) hearing aids
- Clean the device’s tubing with water and leave to dry overnight
- Remove the ear mould from the hook to clean it
- Brush the ear mould clean, and then use the wax pick/wire loop to remove any stubborn debris
- Soak the ear moulds in warm, soapy water at least once a week, and leave to dry overnight
- Replace the tubing if it becomes discoloured or blocked
How to clean RIC (receiver in canal) or open ear hearing aids
- Wipe your hearing aid with a soft cloth and use the brush to remove any debris
- Gently pick any stubborn particles stuck on the dome with your thumb
- Use the soft brush to clean the battery compartment
- Replace the wax filter twice a year or when it looks worn and discoloured
Hearing aid domes
A hearing aid dome is the small plastic piece of your hearing aid that goes in the ear, typically made of silicone.
A correctly fitted dome can make a huge difference in both comfort and quality while wearing your hearing aids. So if yours ever feel uncomfortable or you have any issues with their fit, book an appointment to see one of our audiologists and we can check the fit of the dome for you.
There are two types:
- Helps to stop what’s called the occlusion effect – which creates a hollow-like sound as if you’ve put your fingers in your ears while talking.
- Still receives some sound through the ear, so can sound more natural for some people.
- Reduces sound from outside the hearing aid to further boost the sound level.
- Often better for people suffering from a more severe level of hearing loss.
Hearing loop systems are installed in busy or difficult listening situations, like cinemas and public buildings, to help you hear more clearly. Modern hearing aids are designed to pick up sound from loop systems if they have the loop active on them, and some telephones also have an available loop service
How do they work?
A hearing loop is a piece of wire installed around the perimeter of a room or in a specific area (e.g. underneath a service counter at the supermarket) that acts as an amplifier for sounds in that area. These sounds are then picked up by a receiver in your hearing aid, called the telecoil.
Your audiologist will advise you if this is available on your hearing aid. If it is, they’ll be able to add a program to your hearing aids so that whenever you’re somewhere where you see a loop setting you can change to this program. They are able to set it so you can have a balance between hearing through your hearing aid microphones and the loop at the same time.
Can all hearing aids connect to a hearing loop system?
While most hearing aids have the option available, completely-in-canal, invisible-in-canal and some smaller receivers in the canal hearing aids don’t have the space for a telecoil as they are so small.
If you’re unsure if your hearing aids have a loop setting, contact your local store and speak to a member of the audiology team. They’ll be able to confirm if it does and if it’s activated for you.
When are hearing loops useful?
They are especially helpful in busy public places, where your hearing aid might pick up a lot of ambient sounds as well as the ones you need to hear, causing you to strain to hear spoken words, for example.
Since 2010, businesses and other organisations are legally required to install hearing loop systems in their premises, and most places will have a little sign to indicate that a hearing loop system is available, usually on the door as you enter or by the counter.
Can you install hearing loops at home?
Yes, hearing loops installed at home can help with conversations or watching television. You can buy them from specific suppliers who can guide you on the right size and model for your home. They usually cost between £100-£200.
Always remember to turn your hearing aids back to a normal program mode when you’re out of range from a loop service.
Learn more about hearing loss
Hearing loss can be a frustrating experience, but with accurate diagnosis and treatment, the majority of people are able to improve their hearing and get back to their daily lives as normal.
To learn more about hearing, ear health, and how to protect your hearing, visit our hearing loss information hub.
You can also test your hearing at home using our free online hearing test.