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How to clean earwax out of hearing aids?

Cleaning earwax out of hearing aids

While earwax plays a crucial role in ear health, acting as a natural lubricant and a barrier against dirt and foreign bodies, it can also be a common cause of hearing aid malfunctions.

Earwax and hearing aids

Earwax is a natural part of your ear's self-cleaning system, usually nothing to worry about. But if you wear hearing aids, earwax can be a problem. When you wear a hearing aid, it creates a warm, moist environment in your ear that can make your ears produce more earwax, which might lead to blockages.

To prevent wax buildup that could damage your hearing aid and avoid the need for a replacement, it's crucial to clean your hearing aid daily.

What are the effects of earwax on hearing aids?

Regularly removing earwax from hearing aids is crucial to prevent malfunctions in specific components, such as:

  • The device's openings, where earwax accumulation is most common and can lead to sound distortions or whistling.
  • Filters, where earwax tends to build up. Regular cleaning ensures they remain efficient for a longer time.
  • The receiver, which can also be affected by earwax, resulting in reduced sound quality.

If you have any concerns about your hearing aid's performance, consider visiting an Amplifon centre, where hearing experts can diagnose and address any sound distortion issues. In general, earwax can impact a hearing aid's proper functioning in various ways. Let's examine them in detail.

Altered or distorted sound due to earwax

It's important to clean wax buildup from your hearing aids regularly. Excessive wax can distort the sound and, if left unchecked, it may eventually affect your hearing. Don't worry about your hearing getting worse; instead, we recommend taking proactive steps to maintain your hearing aid by keeping it clean.

Whistling due to excessive earwax

Having too much earwax on your hearing aid can lead to a common problem: whistling. When there's an excess of earwax in your ear canal, it blocks the transmission of sound, causing it to bounce back to the hearing aid and create that annoying whistling sound. The key to avoiding these issues is regular daily cleaning.

Muffling in the ears

Having a build-up of earwax can cause your hearing to decline, and it might even get to the point where you notice difficulty hearing properly. You could experience sounds seeming muffled and less loud. In some cases, it might even feel like a real hearing problem. Instead of immediately worrying about your hearing taking a hit, it's a good idea to consult an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) specialist. They can check things out and, sometimes, it's as simple as an earwax blockage causing the issue.

Itching in the ear cavity

An itching sensation in the ears is a key symptom of earwax in the ear cavity. It can range from a mild tingling sensation to actual pain, which typically disappears once the excess earwax is removed. This discomfort arises due to the disruption of the ear cavity's normal balance caused by the excess earwax.

Can ear wax damage hearing aids?

Yes, it can cause damage. Hearing aids and earwax are always in contact, as earwax is ever-present in the ear. The issue arises when there is an excess of earwax. Regularly cleaning the hearing aid and scheduling periodic check-ups can prevent damage or sudden malfunctions. Replacing parts that are damaged or at risk of damage is good care practice for our hearing aids. While they are durable devices, they still require ongoing care

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How to properly remove earwax from hearing aids?

As a general rule, it best to clean your hearing aids daily using a soft, dry cloth. Avoid using water, liquid detergents, solvents, or alcohol, as they may cause damage. When cleaning, it's a good practice to place the device on a soft surface to prevent accidental falls. Amplifon provides a diverse range of products designed for cleaning hearing aids, tailored to various requirements. By establishing the appropriate cleaning routine, you can enhance comfort, prolong the lifespan, and maintain the optimal performance of your hearing aids.

1. Switch off your hearing aids

The first step in the process of cleaning your hearing aids is to power them off. Turning them off not only ensures your safety during the cleaning process but also allows you to focus and clean them meticulously.

2. Take away batteries

The second step is to remove the batteries from the device. This serves two purposes: to clean the cavity where they are placed and to allow air circulation in that area.

In general, opening the battery compartment is advisable, even if you don't conduct a thorough cleaning. It promotes airflow, preventing the accumulation of moisture that could eventually lead to the growth of persistent bacteria. Additionally, this practice helps extend the battery's lifespan, as it remains separated from internal components when the compartment is open.

3. Eliminate any apparent earwax

To address visible earwax at home, a small brush is all you need. When used gently, it effectively removes any visible dirt. Be sure to focus on cleaning the hearing aid's opening, where earwax often accumulates, causing sound distortions or whistling. This ensures the receiver functions optimally.

4. A loop or wax pick tool

When it comes to dealing with stubborn earwax, you can rely on additional products like drops, sprays, or cleaning tools to effectively get rid of it, even from the smallest external parts. These tools not only get rid of earwax but also clean and sanitise your devices, getting rid of germs, bacteria, and built-up earwax. Just be sure to use these products carefully, avoiding excessive force that might harm the components.

5. Cleansing wipes

Cleansing wipes are a valuable solution for cleaning hearing aids, as they effectively eliminate bacteria and fungi. This, in turn, reduces the risk of infections and inflammations that may result from inadequate cleaning. It's recommended to select alcohol-free wipes, as they are gentle and suitable for even the most sensitive ears.

6. Earwax in hearing aid tubing

When cleaning your hearing aids to remove wax, it's essential to check the hearing aid tubing responsible for sound transmission into the ear. This component plays a vital role in ensuring proper hearing.

7. Use specific cleaning solution

Every hearing aid is unique, and it's important to use the right cleaning products to keep it working well and lasting a long time. A chat with a hearing specialist can help you choose the perfect hearing aid that fits your needs and preferences. This personalised approach ensures you get the best possible hearing experience.

8. Left to air dry and reassemble

After cleaning each component, it's important to let them air dry completely before reassembling. This practice reduces the risk of moisture buildup inside and ensures that no hidden parts are damaged by residual droplets. Once everything is dry, carefully reinsert the batteries into their designated slots, ensuring your hearing aids are ready for optimal performance.

9. Soundcheck after cleaning

After reassembling the device following the cleaning process, the final step is to evaluate the quality of the sound it produces. This evaluation serves two purposes: to ensure that the sound matches your expectations and, ideally, that it surpasses the quality experienced before cleaning. This assessment will help you determine whether the cleaning procedure was carried out effectively, whether it needs to be repeated, or whether a visit to your nearest hearing centre for professional consultation is necessary. 

10. Place the hearing aids in their case

After cleaning the individual parts, inserting the batteries, and performing a sound check, place the hearing aids in their protective case for the night. This protects them from any potential harm or factors that could affect their performance.

Do audiologists remove ear wax from hearing aids?

Yes, audiologists can effectively remove earwax from hearing aids. While daily cleaning is essential, it's equally important to schedule regular checks for your device. These routine assessments help proactively address potential problems and prevent sudden malfunctions, ensuring your hearing aids continue work at peak performance.

How to avoid earwax buildup with hearing aids?

Daily maintenance, involving the removal of earwax from the external components of your hearing aids, is key. This routine upkeep not only prevents the accumulation of earwax but also helps in prolonging the longevity of various device parts. By regularly cleaning your hearing device, you can continue to enjoy uninterrupted and clear hearing.

What is the importance of regular checks?

Besides your daily cleaning routine, regular check-ups at specialised centres also play a crucial role in ensuring your device runs smoothly. These check ups serve to: 

  • Maintain the highest sound quality.
  • Prevent potential breakage or malfunctioning of specific components.
  • Facilitate the replacement of any damaged components, when necessary.

Amplifon centres are conveniently located throughout Australia, staffed with a dedicated team of audiologists and hearing care professionals, ready to help you achieve optimal hearing every day.

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