Care Tips for Hearing Aids in Summer
If you or someone you love wears hearing aids, listen up! Summer hearing aid care is different from normal maintenance done the rest of the year. It’s important to “amp up” your maintenance routine when it’s hazy, hot, and humid outdoors. Many summer activities in hot climates pose challenges for the delicate electronics in hearing aids, and care should be maintained more frequently – if not immediately taken care of when exposed to certain elements or conditions. So be prepared for daily routines and the remaining spontaneous summer invitations coming your way by organizing your own multipurpose hearing aid care kit. We recommend repurposing a small-to-medium-sized zippered bag to toss the items into to keep them together. Be sure to keep the bag nearby at home or when traveling so that you’ll have the necessary tools to care for your hearing aids if the need arises.
Summer hearing aid care kit:
- Portable hard-shell case
- Hearing aid brush
- Hearing aid pick
- Wax filters
- Spare domes
- Microfiber cloth
- Air blower
- Drying kit
- Extra supply of batteries or charging unit
- Wireless hearing aid accessories
- User guide
Once you’ve gathered these items in your kit, learn how each is used to keep your hearing aids in good working order for any planned or unplanned warm weather scenario.
Portable hard-shell case – Outdoor activities in the summer are great fun, but with the increased chance of sweat, water splashes, wind, or contact sports, you may need to temporarily remove your hearing aids. If so, you should always place them in a secure hard-shell case for safe keeping any time they aren’t in your ears. This will protect them from being accidentally dropped or getting lost. Loose hearing aids can easily get damaged if they fall to the ground or get stepped on. Plus, hearing aids and batteries are harmful if ingested, so keeping them in the case and away from pets and/or small children when not in use is highly recommended.
Hearing aid brush – The brush that comes with hearing aids is designed to gently remove debris, such as sand from a day at the beach, pollen from fields or forests, soil from gardening, and general grime or ear wax that can accumulate during daily use in summer. Gently brushing around the microphone inlets, pushbuttons, battery door area, receiver, earpiece tip, and any vent openings will safely remove particles and allow the hearing aid to function properly.
Hearing aid pick – Wax may loosen and dislodge from your ear canal into your hearing aid more readily with warm weather physical activities. When this happens, a small, looped wire pick (often found at the opposite end of a hearing aid brush) is needed. The loop is designed to remove wax build-up at the tip of the hearing aid and the vent opening if included in your model. Depending on the style of hearing aid you have, gently insert the pick into the receiver, dome, earmold, or vent opening and remove any visible wax or debris. Clean the tool before reinserting it back into the opening, and clear all wax before placing the aid in your ear again.
Wax filters – Some hearing aids come with a small wax filter designed to collect wax over time. If your hearing aid has one, your hearing care professional may have provided replacement filters so you can change them yourself when they get clogged. As mentioned, noticing more wax build up in the summer is common. Use the provided wax filter removal tool as instructed to discard the used filter and replace it with the new filter. If you are not sure how to do this, see your hearing care professional or refer to the user guide.
Spare domes – If you use a behind-the-ear hearing aid with a dome that goes into your ear canal, keep an extra supply of replaceable domes in your summer kit. Heat and moisture can change the dome shape and texture over time, and brittle domes have a greater chance of falling off. If you notice a dry, brittle dome, carefully remove it and throw it away. Then, replace it with a new dome, pushing firmly and inspecting it before placing it back in your ear.
Microfiber cloth – Most hearing aids are water-resistant to a certain degree, but if your hearing aids get wet, the first line of action is to dry them with a soft, dry cloth. In addition, if you accidentally get sunscreen oil or lotion on your hearing aids – or notice any other dirt, dust, or debris on the case of other external hearing aid parts – immediately wipe them clean using a dry cloth.
Air blower – Some behind-the-ear hearing aids use flexible tubing to connect an earmold to the earhook of the aid. Warm temperatures may cause condensation droplets to form in the tubing, which is easy to see upon visual inspection. An air bulb blower comes in handy in this scenario. Simply disconnect the tubing from the earhook and use the tool to dry out the moisture. Once dry, reattach the tube to the earhook. Ask your hearing care professional for a demonstration if you are unsure how to do this.
Drying kit – Hearing aids will accumulate more moisture in the summer from increased humidity, water sports, sweat, or condensation. If moisture is a constant problem, you may need to use a special drying kit daily to adequately remove moisture build up. Talk with your hearing care professional to find the right dryer for your needs, and use it throughout the summer as directed.
Extra supply of batteries or charging unit – You may find yourself out of the house for longer durations or traveling more often in the summer. Don’t be caught without spares if your aid uses disposable batteries. If you use rechargeable hearing aids, keep the charging unit in your kit so you can quickly power up when you’re on the go.
Wireless hearing aid accessories – You may not use your wireless hearing aid accessories, such as the remote control or remote microphone, every day. But it’s worthwhile to keep these devices in your care kit with other supplies so that they’re handy at a moment’s notice should you need them to change the volume, program, or listen to a conversation where the speaker is at a distance.
User guide – All hearing aids come with a user guide. After reading through it, don’t forget about it. Keep it in your care kit and refer to it as needed. The table of contents can help you quickly find specific details on your hearing aid style, advice on how to clean and maintain the various parts, and how to troubleshoot any problems on your own before contacting your hearing care provider.
The takeaway: Summer can offer a wide variety of opportunities when it comes to outdoor sports, travel activities, and social events. Be sure to keep your hearing aids in good working order with frequent, daily cleanings. This will maximize your ability to communicate with family and friends when participating in warm weather activities together. Organizing a care kit of supplies is the first step in being prepared for any situation – and will make it easier for you to quickly care for and maintain your hearing aids through the duration of the season.
Contact your local Hearing Professional for any questions you have about your hearing aids and maintaining your hearing health. For more helpful tips on how to make Everyday Sounds Better, visit Sonic today.