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What you need to know about hearing aid filters

Jun, 23, 2023
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Filters are a vital protective component for hearing devices, they protect the devices against external elements like earwax, skin oils, dust, and dirt. Their primary function is to prevent debris from obstructing the proper functioning of the device. Over time, filters tend to accumulate debris, leading to a decline in the device's performance. In such cases, it is best to replace the filters. There are different types of hearing aid filters, let's explore the different types available and their functions.

Why do hearing aids have filters?

Nearly all hearing aids are equipped with filters. These protective component are particularly common in advanced models that feature intricate electronics within the ear. These electronics are susceptible to potential damage caused by factors like earwax present in the ear canal. For this reason, filters play a vital role in preventing potential damage and maintaining the optimal performance of the hearing aids.

Are all hearing aid filters the same?

There is a wide range of hearing aid filters available on the market, and the type can vary significantly based on the specific device. Keep in mind that different types of hearing aids may require specific filters. Let's explore the most common types of filters available.

Cerumen filter (wax filter)

Cerumen filters or hearing aid wax filters are mesh-like screens places in front of the speaker. These filters are present in various models of hearing aids, especially the advanced ones. Their primary function is to protect the hearing aid receive from earwax. By acting as a protective barrier, these wax filters help maintain the optimal performance of the hearing aid.

Filter for RIC hearing aids

RIC (Receiver in Canal) hearing aids are behind-the-ear devices that incorporate the use of wax filters. These devices have the speaker positioned within the ear canal, which increases the likelihood of contact with earwax. To avoid wax build up, make sure that the receiver is adequately protected with earwax filters specifically designed for hearing aids. This protective measure helps preserve the functionality and longevity of the device.


Filters for in-the-ear hearing aids (ITE)

In-the-Ear (ITE) hearing aids are designed to fit entirely inside the ear. Due to their placement, these devices often encounter earwax, making the use of protective ear wax filters essential. These filters are strategically positioned at the outlet of the acoustic receiver to provide protection for the delicate electronics against earwax and other contaminants. The filters can be easily replaced by either the wearer of the hearing aid or a hearing care professional. This ensures that the device remains free from debris, guaranteeing optimal performance over time.

Microphone filters

Microphone filters are used in Behind-the-Ear (BTE) devices and act as a barrier against various external agents, including moisture, dust, and other particles that could potentially compromise the performance of the hearing aid's microphones. Regular maintenance and periodic replacement of these filters are crucial to ensure the device's performance and protect the microphones from potential damage. Hearing care professionals and  BTE hearing aid wearers can easily replace these filters.

Sound filters (silencers)

Sound filters, also known as silencers, align the sound output in a hearing aid with the wearer's hearing loss. These filters serve a dual purpose as they adapt the sound to the user's needs and shield the device from external substances that could potentially contaminate it and harm it.

The main function of sound filters is to fine-tune the sound amplification process in the hearing aid, ensuring that it is optimized for the user's specific hearing requirements. By customising the sound profile, these filters help enhance the clarity and intelligibility of the amplified sound, enabling the user to better perceive the surrounding auditory environment.

Sound filters, also known as silencers, are designed to match the sound according to the hearing aid user's hearing loss. These filters protect the device from foreign objects that pollute it and damage it.

Acoustic filters (mufflers)

Acoustic filters are designed to finely adjust the amplification of sound within the hearing aid, tailoring it to the wearer's individual hearing needs. By customising the sound profile, these filters enhance the clarity and quality of the amplified sound, allowing the wearer to better perceive and understand their acoustic environment. These filters also serve the dual purpose of optimising sound perception while also acting as a protective barrier.

What filters does my hearing aid need?

Each hearing aid model utilizes a unique filter with distinct characteristics, including size and functionality. 

BTE hearing aids typically require filters designed to safeguard the microphone from external agents. These filters play a crucial role in preventing contaminants from entering the device and affecting the microphone's performance. 

On the other hand, RIC and ITE hearing aids primarily rely on wax filters. These filters are specifically designed to address the unique challenges faced by these types of devices. 

It is important to note that different manufacturers may have their own specific filters tailored to their respective hearing aid models. It is best to consult hearing care professionals or refer to the manufacturer's guidelines to identify the appropriate filters for a specific hearing aid model.

Hearing aid filter care

Regularly cleaning hearing aid filters is crucial to protect the device and ensure optimal performance. By keeping the filters clean from earwax and other external substances, the risk of blockage is significantly reduced, allowing for unimpeded sound transmission and improved sound quality. A clogged filter can impede the passage of sound waves, resulting in muffled or distorted sound perception.

How to clean hearing aid filters?

The specific cleaning method may vary depending on the type and design of the hearing aid filters. 

First, make sure to refer to the hearing aids user manual or contact the manufacturer to understand the recommended cleaning instructions specific to your hearing aid model.

Depending on the design of your device, the filters may be detachable or integrated into the device. If removable, carefully take out the filters using the provided tools or according to the manufacturer's instructions. Use specialised cleaning tools, a small brush, a lint-free cloth or a clean tissue to gently remove any loose particles.

Before reinsterting the filters into the device, allow the filters to air dry completely before reattaching them to the hearing aid. Make sure the filters are properly aligned and securely in place.

How to change hearing aid filters?

Changing hearing aid filters is a straightforward process that can vary slightly depending on the specific type of hearing aid and filter design. 

Depending on the design, you may need to use a specialised tool provided by the manufacturer or gently pull the filter out using your fingertips. Follow the instructions specific to your hearing aid model to safely remove the old filter to either clean it or replace it entirely. 

How often should hearing aid filters be changed?

Regular cleaning of hearing aid filters is essential, but there comes a time when replacement is necessary to prevent potential malfunctions or damage to the device. 

As a general guideline, hearing aid filters should typically be replaced every 2 to 4 weeks. However, the frequency of changing hearing aid filters can vary depending on factors such as the type of hearing aid, the environment in which they are used, and individual ear conditions. It is important to follow the manufacturer's recommendations and consult with a hearing care professional for personalised guidance.

Replace or clean filter?

By adhering to a monthly filter replacement schedule, you can ensure that your hearing aid continues to function optimally and maintain its performance. If you are unsure about the appropriate time to replace your filters, Amplifon's experts are available to provide guidance and assistance, ensuring that your hearing aid remains fully functional.

Keep in mind that that regular cleaning and maintenance, including filter replacement, are crucial for maintaining the longevity and effectiveness of your hearing aid. 

Where to buy hearing aid filters?

If you wish to purchase hearing aids, you can do so at the Amplifon clinic nearest to you.

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