Now more than ever, hearing aids are easily accessible to those who need them. If you’re one of the many people who uses a hearing aid, then you know it’s important to take care of your device on a daily basis. This still holds true during the summer as you take part in more outdoor activities, which can put your hearing aids at a greater risk of damage.
You don’t have to avoid your favorite activities, but you should be mindful of protecting your hearing aids to the best of your ability. Moisture from sweat and swimming can be especially harmful, but you can avoid negatively affecting your aids’ function by practicing good hygiene. We received some expert advice on how to maintain your hearing aids this summer without missing out on the fun.
Make sure your hearing aids fit well
Ill-fitting hearing aids are more likely to fall out than ones that are properly fitted. Make sure you’ve been properly measured for one, especially if you’re going to be doing strenuous activity.
Leslie Soiles is HearingLife chief audiologist and holds a doctorate in audiology. She says you should ensure your hearing aids are paired to your smartphone and that you’ve downloaded the manufacturer’s app.
“Many hearing aid apps have a ‘Find my Hearing Aid’ feature that will track the location of a lost hearing aid,” Soiles said. This will make it easier for you to locate your hearing aid if it accidentally falls out or goes missing.
Keep hearing aids dry
It’s inevitable that you’ll break a sweat during the sweltering days of summer. But that doesn’t mean your hearing aids have to get ruined. “It may feel very seventies, but wearing a headband when you know you are going to be sweating can be a big help in protecting your hearing aids from excessive moisture,” said Soiles.
If your hearing aid does get wet, that doesn’t mean it’s ruined for good. Instead pat it dry with a soft cloth. Hearing aids that use batteries should also have the battery removed and dried.
If you think moisture has seeped into your hearing aids, Sarah Lundstrom, who holds a doctorate in audiology and works at HearCare Audiology, shared some key signs to look out for, including “discoloration or debris in the battery compartment, discoloration of the receiver wire, wearing of the external coating on the body of the hearing aid, static sound, intermittent function, or poor sound quality/weak amplification.»
Lundstrom suggests using an electric dryer or dry aid kit on a daily or weekly basis to keep moisture from building up in your hearing aids. Other steps you can take include cleaning your hearing aid regularly and keeping your ears clean. ”People tend to produce more wax and sweat in their ears during humid months, so wipe off wax on your hearing aid as needed with a soft cloth,” she said.
Store hearing aids in a temperature-controlled space
In the summer, it’s easy for enclosed locations to overheat. Avoid leaving your hearing aids in places like your car’s glove compartment. “The internal temperature of a glove compartment can reach over 140 degrees and the excessive heat can cause a hearing aid’s electronics to become damaged,” warned Soiles. Instead, store hearing aids in a cool, dry place when not in use to keep them protected from heat-related issues such as battery drain.
Don’t wear hearing aids when swimming
Unfortunately, hearing aids are not designed to handle water activities like swimming. Make sure to take them off and store them properly if you are showering, visiting a pool or beach or going anywhere else they may get wet. “Investing in a durable and waterproof case for your hearing aids is highly recommended,» Lundstrom said. «Especially if you plan to spend time at the beach or pool.”
She also advises removing the batteries before storing hearing aids in the case. These cases provide an extra layer of protection against moisture, sand and dirt (which can clog microphone ports and are also to be avoided). The protective storage case should also be kept out of direct sunlight and instead placed inside your bag.
Maintain regular visits to your audiologist
As with any important doctor’s visits, you should maintain appointments with your audiologist to make sure your hearing hasn’t changed and to keep your hearing aids in tip top shape. Your doctor will be able to inspect and make sure your hearing aids are still functioning properly and can replace any pieces that are worn down.