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, switch out the filters, and rotate the tires. We’re aiming to protect our investment and prolong its life.

You should think of hearing aids in the same way. If you give things a chance to go wrong, they will; but if you’re proactive in your maintenance, your hearing aids can last and operate properly for several years.

So what are the things that can go wrong? Below are the three primary 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 susceptible to damage from shock. To defend against this, remember to store your hearing aids in their storage cases anytime you’re not using them.

A good guideline is that your hearing aids should be either in your ears or in the storage case at any given time. Leaving your hearing aids exposed on any surface is just asking for Murphy’s Law to come and bump them off. Likewise, when you’re putting in and removing your hearing aids, it’s a good idea to do this over a soft surface in case they fall.

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

2. Moisture

Electronics and water do not mix, which anyone who’s dropped a mobile phone in the kitchen sink understands 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 harm your hearing aids.

Water, in the form of mist, can still work its way into the hearing aids and start causing chaos. Because of this, you should refrain from using hairspray, bug spray, or any other sprays while using your hearing aids. Also, keep in mind that extreme changes in temperature can generate condensation, for instance moving from a climate-controlled room to the outdoors. If this happens, make sure to dry off any moisture that develops.

We also highly recommend not storing your hearing aids in the bathroom, as the condensation can generate problems. This is an additional reason that your bedside table drawer is probably the best place to keep your hearing aids when they aren’t in use.

3. Earwax and dirt

Even if you’ve protected your hearing aids against physical destruction and water with adequate storage and the prevention of moisture, you’ll still have to protect against opponent # 3: dirt and grime.

Earwax, dust, and debris can build up on the hearing aids, clogging the speakers, ports, and other components. To guard against this, 1) maintain adequate ear hygiene, and 2) clean and sanitize your hearing aids every day.

Regarding cleaning and sanitizing your hearing aids, ensure that you use only the equipment provided by your hearing professional. Your hearing professional can supply cleaning kits and guidance specifically for your type of hearing aids.

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