Man holding a behind-the-ear hearing aid

Murphy’s Law tells us that “if anything can go wrong, it will.” A better variant might be that “things will go wrong in any given situation, if you give them a chance.”

In regard to vehicle maintenance, that’s the reason we change the oil in our cars, switch out the filters, and rotate the tires. We’re aiming to protect our investment and lengthen its life.

You should certainly consider hearing aids in the same way. 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 perform properly for many years.

So what are the things that can go wrong? The following are the three principal threats to your hearing aids and what you can do to protect against them.

1. Physical breakdown

Enemy # 1 is physical destruction. Hearing aids consist of delicate electronics that are prone to damage from shock. To protect against this, make sure to store your hearing aids in their storage cases whenever you’re not using them.

A good rule of thumb is that your hearing aids should be either in your ears or in the storage case at any given time. Leaving your hearing aids unprotected on any surface is just asking for Murphy’s Law to come and shove them off. Similarly, when you’re putting in and removing your hearing aids, it’s best to do this over a soft surface in the event they fall.

Additionally, remember to check and replace the batteries often. You’re not doing the circuitry any favors by having the hearing aids operate on low battery power.

2. Moisture

Electronic devices and water do not mix, which anyone who’s dropped a cell phone in the kitchen sink understands all too well. Once underwater, there’s not much that can be done. But it takes much less than complete submersion in water to damage 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 avoid using hairspray, insect spray, or any other sprays while using your hearing aids. Also, keep in mind that radical changes in temperature can create condensation, for example moving 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 issues. This is another reason that your bedside table drawer is probably the ideal place to keep your hearing aids when not in use.

3. Earwax and dirt

Even if you’ve protected your hearing aids against physical damage and water with appropriate storage and the avoidance of moisture, you’ll still have to protect against enemy # 3: dirt and grime.

Earwax, dirt, and debris can accumulate on the hearing aids, blocking the speakers, ports, and other elements. To guard against this, 1) maintain proper ear hygiene, and 2) clean and sanitize your hearing aids on a daily basis.

In terms of cleaning and sanitizing your hearing aids, ensure that you use only the tools supplied by your hearing professional. Your hearing professional can supply cleaning kits and directions specifically for your type of hearing aids.

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