How To Remove Ear Wax From Hearing Aids
Have you ever taken your hearing aids out at the end of the day and noticed they’re covered in ear wax? Ear wax is a funny thing, and most of us don’t understand the need for ear wax or why we produce more than other people.
Although ear wax isn’t bad for your hearing aids, it can be annoying having to constantly clean them. Today we will discuss why we make ear wax and the best ways to remove ear wax from hearing aids.
Why Do We Make Ear Wax?
Ear wax, or cerumen, is produced by the cells in the outer ear canal. The main purpose of earwax is to keep the eardrum and ear canal lubricated and to trap debris to prevent damage to the delicate eardrum.
Some people produce more earwax than others, and some find they make more (and some less) as they get older.
There are also a few factors that can cause you to produce excess earwax, such as:
- Using cotton swabs
- Exposure to debris and irritants
There is also a genetic component to whether you make wet or dry earwax.
Does Wearing Hearing Aids Make Me Produce More Ear Wax?
Traditional hearing aids need the sound to be sent to the auditory system via the outer ear canal, and therefore, require a part of the hearing aid to be placed in the ear canal. The hearing aids are inserted into the ear canal and are ideally worn for most waking hours.
Our ears are self-cleaning, meaning that ear wax makes its way to the outer ear and naturally falls out. While the hearing device is in the ear canal, the natural mechanisms for ear wax to make its way out of the ear is blocked. This causes the ear wax to be retained in the ear, leading people to believe that the hearing aid has caused an increase in earwax, when all it has done is prevent the ear wax from leaving the ear.
What Can Ear Wax Do To Hearing Aids?
Since hearing aids have been designed to be inserted into the ear canal, it means that it blocks the way of ear wax leaving the ear, therefore causing it to build up on the hearing aid.
If wax is not managed or removed from the hearing aid, it can prevent them from delivering the sound to the wearer and over the long-term, can cause damage to the hearing aid.
Hearing aids emit sounds from a speaker (receiver) within the ear canal. If the receiver is blocked, the sound can’t be emitted and the hearing aid will not work properly. With this in mind, some hearing aids will be fitted with a wax filter. If your hearing aids aren’t working properly and you have been shown how, you can change the wax filter to see if that fixes the problem.
Ear wax can be sticky and moist. Moisture and electronics don’t go together. Wax can also trap dirt and debris. The moisture and dirt can cause corrosion or damage to the internal workings of the hearing aids, causing malfunction, static, feedback, or reduced output. Damaged hearing aids can be sent for a service or repair, but if they are out of warranty it can be costly, more so if the damage is so severe that they can’t be repaired and new hearing aids are needed.
How Do I Prevent Wax Build Up In My Ears?
Wax production is natural and serves an important purpose. So rather than preventing wax production, we need to manage it.
Cotton buds are not advised as they can cause damage to the eardrum and may push the wax further into the ear canal.
The best way to prevent wax build up is to keep it soft so it can make its way out naturally or be removed easily in the shower with a face cloth. Wax dissolving or softening drops can also be bought from the chemist. If excessive wax is still an issue, contact your GP or audiologist for wax removal options.
How Do I Prevent Wax Build Up on My Hearing Aids?
It is recommended that each night when you remove your hearing aids to use a tissue or cloth to wipe them down.
You can also use a small brush to remove any wax. If you have soft or moist wax, you can brush the hearing aids again in the morning once the wax has dried up.
How Do I Remove Wax From My Hearing Aids?
- If your hearing aids have become especially dirty, wipe the outside of it down with an alcohol wipe.
- If your hearing aids have a wax filter and you have been shown how to do it, change the wax filter or clean the wax guard.
- Thoroughly but gently brush the outside of your hearing aid, including microphone ports and buttons.
- Open the battery door and gently brush any debris out of the hearing aid.
If your hearing aid is the type that goes behind your ear, it will either have a tube or wire to connect the hearing aid to your ear canal. If it has a dome, this can be removed and cleaned or replaced if necessary.
If your hearing aids have a mould that inserts into your ear, this mould may have a hole in it which is an air vent. This vent allows for natural airflow into your ear and, depending on the size of the vent, the wax can be removed.
If you have any trouble cleaning your hearing aids or need to know how to change wax filters, book an appointment with your trusted audiologist at Attune, we’ll be happy to help. By keeping your hearing aids clean and free of wax, it will extend the life of your hearing aids and reduce the risk of infection.