Just like any other piece of equipment, hearing aid tubes require some cleaning and maintenance from time to time. After all, they spend all day in your ear or ears, where earwax, sweat, and oils gather and spend their time! With the amount of use they get, they’re also exposed to dust and debris from your environment, making the perfect mixture ready for cleaning.
This article explains why you should clean your hearing aids, and outlines how to do so depending on the style of hearing aid you have. For personalized advice, contact our team at Tweak Hearing today.
Why You Should Clean Your Hearing Aid Tubes
If the idea of earwax, dirt, and oil isn’t enough encouragement to clean your hearing aids, remember that the cleaner they are, the more effective they’re likely to be. Even the tiniest piece of wax can completely block the sound going in and out! Plus, cleaning them regularly will help to extend their lifespan— and as such an important investment, it’s advisable to look after them as well as possible.
How To Clean A Hearing Aid Tube
Before cleaning a hearing aid tube, you need to know which type of hearing aid you have. The three main styles are:
- Behind-the-ear (BTE)— This style has a clear, flexible tube with a tip at the end that you insert into your ear. It does not contain any electrical parts or wires.
- Receiver-in-the-canal (RIC)— Despite looking like a BTE, RIC styles have a wire covered with flexible plastic. Don’t try to remove the receiver wire and tip, as it’s fixed with a small pin and you won’t be able to pull it off without damaging it.
- In-the-ear (ITE)— This style sits inside the ‘bowl’ of the ear and also doesn’t have a clear plastic tube that you need to clean. However, you will still need to clean the microphone and body to keep it functioning at its best.
Step 1: Gather Your Tools
The cleaning tools you’ll need will depend on the type of hearing aid you have.
BTE— Use the cleaning tool with the brush on one end and the long wire on the other. Use the brush to clean the outside, and the wire to clean the flexible tubing.
RIC and ITE— The cleaning aid for these types comes with a small brush on one end and a loop wire called a ‘wax loop’ on the other. As the name indicates, it’s used to remove earwax from those hard-to-reach places.
Regardless of the type of hearing aid you have, you’ll also need a tissue or microfiber cloth.
Step 2: Remove The Battery
With the battery removed you can be assured that the device is off. If it isn’t, you may hear a loud whistle.
If you have a rechargeable hearing aid where the battery can’t be removed, simply turn the device off instead.
Step 3: Remove The Tubing
Remember to skip this step if you have RIC hearing aids!
Your hearing aids will have either ‘threaded style’ or ‘snap-on style’ tubing, so make sure you know which type yours has before removing it.
Threaded style— Rotate the base of the tubing counterclockwise until the tubing unscrews like a bottle cap.
Snap-on style— Hold the body of the hearing aid with one hand and the triangular base of the tubing with the other hand, then turn the tubing 90 degrees.
Step 4: Clean The Tubing
This step is for BTE hearing aids.
Insert the wire into the triangular end of the tubing. Thread it through until the wire comes out of the other end. The aim here is to push the wax out of the tip rather than pushing it further into the tube.
Then, use the tissue or microfiber cloth to remove any wax or other debris. Follow this by pulling the wire back out of the tubing, and repeating the process as many times as necessary (until the tubing is completely clean). Wipe the end of the wire before pulling it out of the tube.
Step 5: Clean The Tip
The tip of the hearing aid inserts into your ear, and comes in several different styles:
- Round circular domes
- Funnel tips
- Mushroom tips
- RIC earpiece (with receiver)
BTE and RIC— Brush the outside of the tip with the brush end of your cleaning tool and your tissue or microfiber cloth. Use the cloth or tissue to wipe the outside of the tip.
RIC and ITE— Use the ‘wax loop’ to remove any wax build-up from inside the earpiece.
Step 6: Clean The Body And Microphone
Use the brush end of the cleaning tool and your tissue or microfiber cloth. Wipe down the hearing aid with the cloth.
To clean the microphones, find the small holes that indicate where the microphone is or the microphones are. On single microphone hearing aids, these will typically be at the back and look like a small hole or circle. For hearing aids with multiple microphones, additional microphones will often be on the spine near the controls and should look like a couple of small holes or a small hole or grill. For ITE hearing aids, the ports will also typically look like small holes or circles.
With the brush end of the cleaning tool, gently brush the microphone holes, making sure not to force the brush deep into the microphone port. If your hearing doesn’t improve after gentle brushing, send it in for repairs.
Step 7: Reattach The Tubing
This step is for BTE styles only.
Threaded style— Screw the base back on in the opposite direction as when you unscrewed it, ensuring the tubing is facing forward and sits flush with the body of the hearing aid.
Snap-on style— Push the tubing directly onto the base, without screwing or rotating it, until you feel it click into place. As with the threaded style, make sure everything sits flush.
Step 8: Insert The Battery
Place the battery back into its compartment, and you’re ready to hear your favorite sounds once again!
Better Hearing Starts Here
If you’re looking for help with your hearing, you’ll find it here at Tweak. With a wide range of hearing devices, accessories, and exceptional customer service, we’re your one-stop shop for all things hearing. To experience the Tweak difference, browse our products today.