How to clean an in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aid
Great Hearing Aid Cleaning Tips From Widex
Widex released a great post with video and images recently showing how best to clean your custom Widex in the ear hearing aid. We thought that we would show you the images and tips and add a few of our own for non Widex hearing aids. The video below shows the steps to care and clean for a Widex ITE hearing aid. Widex is one of the few manufacturers that has the microphone inlet in the battery door. Most manufacturers make their custom hearing aids with the sound inlet seperate to the battery door. Cleaning of sound inlets will be different with these hearing aids, but we will explain that as we go along.
Keeping your hearing aids clean and free of wax ensures that they deliver the best sound possible. The video above shows how to keep your Widex in-the-ear hearing aids in good shape. The procedure for cleaning any in the ear hearing aid is similar with the exception of cleaning the sound inlet.
Other hearing aid cleaning tips to consider
To give you a clear idea of what is what, the sound outlet is the speaker end that goes into the ear. The sound inlet is on the faceplate of the hearing aid. It is normally two holes with a mesh or gauze type protector visible. These holes are where the microphones are and the mesh is designed to protect them. The vent is usually visible at the bottom of the hearing aid, it is a tunnel that travels through the hearing aid. It's function is to reduce any sense of occlussion and also to allow the ear canal to breathe.
- Inspect the sound outlet, microphone, and vent openings every time you take the hearing aid out of your ear.
- It is very important for the hearing aid’s performance that it is kept free from earwax and dirt. Clean your hearing aid after use with the cloth provided.
- When the hearing aid is not in use, keep it in a warm, dry place with the battery compartment cover open, to ventilate the hearing aid and allow it to dry.
- It is important for the performance of the hearing aid that the vent is never blocked by earwax. Make it a habit to clean the vent every day.
- Remove any visible earwax from around the sound outlet with the small brush or cloth (see below).
Cleaning the hearing aid microphone:
Dirt or earwax often gathers around the microphone openings on the front of the hearing aid. This can reduce the sound quality of a hearing aid dramatically. In the case of most hearing aids the sound inlets are separate to the battery door, the best thing to do is to use your wax brush to gently brush those outlets to dislodge any dirt. It is important that you do it gently, too roughly and you might damage the microphone diaphragm and the microphone will have to be replaced. As you can see below, with Widex aids you can use the wax pick to push any debris out of the outlets. It still would be worth taking a look at the microphone openings on the aid to see if there is any debris there. If so, use your wax brush gently.
- Open the battery compartment cover and turn the hearing aid so the cover is facing downwards (see drawing).
- Guide the short wax removing tool through the microphone opening on the battery compartment cover from the inside.
Cleaning the hearing aid vent
Earwax and other debris quite often accumulate in the vent of a hearing aid. If earwax has accumulated in and/or around the vent opening:
- Clean any earwax from the vent by passing the long wax removing tool all the way through the vent (see drawing).
Hearing aid cleaning precautions
- In some cases, so much earwax can accumulate in the vent that the hearing aid sound is affected. In that case, you should see your hearing care professional.
- If you suspect that earwax or dirt has migrated through the microphone opening and into the actual microphone inside the hearing aid, contact your hearing care professional. Do not insert anything into the actual microphone as it will damage it and render it useless. If you cannot clean the sound outlet completely, you should contact your hearing care professional. Do not insert anything into the sound outlet, as this could damage the speaker and again render your hearing aid useless.