Behind-the-Ear (BTE) Hearing Aids
Throughout the day, hearing aids are exposed to moisture through perspiration and the environment. Although your hearing aids have been treated for moisture protection, accumulation of moisture is harmful to the electronics of the hearing aids. It is important to reverse the daily effects of moisture by storing the hearing aids in a dry environment overnight.
Your audiologist may provide an electronic dryer, called a Dry and Store. This is a special unit that combats the harmful effects of moisture. The Dry and Store is a unit that contains two compartments inside. One compartment holds a disposable desiccant block called a “Dri-Brik”. This Dri-Brick will absorb moisture from the air and the hearing aids inside the unit. It will absorb moisture effectively for 2 months, and then you will have to replace the brick. To activate a brick simply remove the protective covering of the new brick and write the date on the top so you will know when to replace it. The second compartment holds your hearing aids. Underneath this tray is a fan that will circulate warm air through the devices. At night take out your hearing aids, open the battery doors to turn the aids off, and place the aids in the tray. You may keep the batteries in the hearing aids while they are in the Dry and Store. Next, turn on the fan by pressing the power button. A green light will indicate that the unit is on. The fan will run for 8 hours then automatically shut off.
Every morning, you should gently brush the sound opening of the earmolds with a toothbrush or small hearing aid brush to remove any wax. Also, brush over the microphones on the hearing aids to remove any dust or debris.
You may also use a hearing aid sanitizing solution to remove excess wax and bacteria from your earmolds. Simply spray this solution onto a tissue or soft paper towel and wipe down the exterior of the earmolds and hearing aids. It is important to only use hearing aid sanitizer provided by your audiologist. Do not use alcohol or other cleaning agents, as they will damage the hearing aids.
Sometimes, your hearing aids may stop working unexpectedly. Usually, you will be able to restore hearing aid function by following these basic troubleshooting techniques.
- Replace the batteries
- When your hearing aids stop working, replace the batteries.
- After replacing the batteries, check to see if the hearing aids are working by either checking for feedback by cupping the aids in your hand or by listening through the hearing aids.
- Check tubing for moisture blockage
- If changing the battery doesn’t restore hearing aid performance, check the earmold tubing for blockage. If there is moisture in the tubing, then sound cannot leave the sound opening of the earmold.
- If you see moisture in the tubing, gently flick the earmolds to force the moisture out of the tubing.
- Check sound openings for blockage
- If the hearing aids continue to malfunction, examine the sound openings of the aids.
- If wax blockage is present, brush these openings with a toothbrush until debris has been removed.
- If you cannot clear the sound opening or tubing of debris, you will have to deep clean the earmold in a cup of warm water with mild dish soap.
- First, separate the earmold from the hearing aids by pinching the soft tubing with one hand and the hard earhook with the other hand. Make sure you are close to the seam between the earhook and the tubing. Twist and pull the tubing from the earhook.
- Soak the earmolds in a glass of soapy warm water for 10 minutes. Do not soak the hearing aids and earmolds, only the earmolds.
- Remove and dry the earmolds completely with a towel. Using the forced air blower provided by your audiologist, force the excess water from the tubing and the vent of the earmolds.
- Once the earmolds are completely dry, attach the tubing to the hearing aid. Twist the tubing to orient the earmolds so that the wing of the earmolds, opposite the sound opening, is toward the hearing aids.
Using these three troubleshooting steps will likely restore your hearing aids. If the hearing aids continue to malfunction or if the tubing is hard and cannot be easily removed for cleaning, call your audiologist for a hearing aid check.