Hearing aids can make a fundamental difference in your quality of life. Often patients don't realize the extent of their hearing loss until they actually put hearing aids in for the first time and realize how clear the sounds around them become. Once you have them, you want to make sure that you keep them in great shape so that they can continue to provide you with crystal clear hearing. Unfortunately, there are dangers to your hearing aids that you may not realize even exist. Avoiding these dangers can help save you the expense of having to repair or replace your hearing aids.
Too Much Sun
Believe it or not, too much sun can cause damage to your hearing aids. It's not the light from the sun that causes the damage, though – it's the heat. Excessive heat can actually cause the plastic outer casings of your hearing aids to melt or warp. However, that's not the only problem. Going from air conditioned buildings into the high heat of the outdoors, especially when done repeatedly, can cause condensation inside the hearing aid, and the resulting moisture can lead to mechanical failures. Even your hearing aid batteries can be affected by the heat. High heat can shorten the lifespan of the batteries.
Fortunately, you can avoid most of these problems simply by being aware of them. Don't leave your hearing aids in direct sunlight or locked in a hot car. Just as you wouldn't wear your hearing aids into a pool or the ocean, you shouldn't wear them into a tanning bed or when sitting under the sun lamp. When you're out in the heat, a sunhat can help shade your ears and keep your hearing aids cooler, reducing the condensation problem.
Aerosol sprays contain certain chemicals that can leave a residue in the areas where they're sprayed. These residues can build up over time and lead to clogs and other malfunctions in your hearing aids. The most common aerosol that a hearing aid might come in contact with is hairspray, but aerosol deodorants and body sprays can also take a toll. If you do a lot of home improvement tasks, you may also need to be cautious about aerosol spray paints.
When it comes to aerosols that are found in your toiletry supplies, the solution is simple – just leave the hearing aids in their case until after you're finished spraying your hair or using other aerosolized products. If you work with aerosols like spray paint, it may be a little trickier, as you might not want to remove your hearing aids during these chores. However, you can use protective ear coverings to ensure that the aerosol chemicals don't find their way into your hearing aids.
Sometimes it can seem like your own ears are conspiring against your hearing aids. Producing earwax is perfectly normal, but if it builds up around your hearing aid, it can cause blockages and affect the quality of your hearing.
You can't stop wax from forming in your ears. If you're prone to wax buildup, you may be able to use products that prevent the wax from building up – your doctor or pharmacist can tell you whether or not one of these products is right for you. More importantly, you need to know how to clean earwax off of your hearing aids when necessary. If you clean the hearing aids regularly, the wax won't hang on and cause problems. You may not realize it, but many types of hearing aids come with a wax guard or filter that can be removed and cleaned out or replaced. Make sure that you know where yours are and how to remove them. You can also purchase a hearing aid cleaning kit that comes with a wax removal brush and pick to help you safely remove wax without damaging your hearing aid. Finally, consider investing in a hearing aid dryer. Earwax can trap moisture inside of your hearing aids, and a dryer can safely remove any moisture and help your hearing aids stay functional.
If you're buying new hearing aids, ask a hearing professional, such as those at Audiology Consultants, P.C., to walk you through the ins and outs of cleaning and caring for your hearing devices before you leave with them. The better care you take of your hearing aids, the more value you'll get from your purchase.