We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.

Individuals wearing hearing aids should follow a regular hearing aid cleaning routine. This type of device can malfunction due to an earwax buildup, excessive moisture, or other issues. People can buy hearing aid cleaning kits or, in serious cases, seek professional maintenance.

This article discusses the importance of cleaning hearing aids and provides some tips on caring for different types of devices. It also explores some cleaning products and when to contact a professional for cleaning repairs.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that people should follow a regular routine for cleaning and maintaining their hearing aids. This helps extend the device’s life span and prevent malfunctions, as earwax buildup can lead to damage.

Daily care

According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, people should clean their hearing aids every day. It also recommends that individuals wipe the device with a dry tissue every time they remove it from their ears.

The Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh (CHP) also provides some tips for people who use hearing aids. For example, each night, a person should:

  • turn the device off and keep the battery compartment open when not in use
  • store the device in a dry aid or hearing aid dehumidifier overnight if they are not using it
  • store the device in a dry, cool place during the day when not in use
  • remove any earwax buildup in the device’s opening with a pipe cleaner

Weekly care or as needed

The CHP also highlights the importance of a weekly hearing aid care routine.

A person can wash the hearing aid’s earmold with warm water and soap and then dry it with an air blower to keep the tubing moisture-free. They can allow it to dry overnight, and reattach the component to the device the following day.

The FDA provides some general tips for cleaning and maintaining hearing aids. These include:

  • avoiding the use of alcohol, water, or solvents on the device, as these can damage the internal circuits
  • turning the hearing aid off when not in use
  • replacing dead batteries
  • keeping the device away from heat
  • avoiding using hair products when wearing hearing aids

The cleaning method will depend on the type of hearing aid a person uses:

Behind-the-ear

Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids wrap around the back of a person’s ear. They suit various types of hearing loss.

In addition, the FDA states that BTE devices can help children with hearing difficulties, as they are easy to clean and handle and safe for small ears.

People can do the following to clean their BTE hearing aids:

  1. Clean the tubing with warm water without exposing other parts to water.
  2. Remove the earmold from the hook.
  3. Use a brush to clean the mold and remove any debris with a wax pick.
  4. Replace the tubing if it has become blocked.

Individuals should ensure that the tubing and earmold are completely dry before attaching them back to the device.

In-the-ear and in-the-canal

In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids fill the outer part of the ear. They do not come with external wires or tubes and are lightweight. They are suitable for individuals with mild to severe hearing loss.

In-the-canal (ITC) devices are less visible than ITE ones. They are small and lightweight and take the ear’s natural shape. These are suitable for people with mild to moderately severe hearing loss.

People can do the following to clean their ITE and ITC devices:

  1. Brush the receiver tubing, vent opening, and microphone port to keep them free of wax and debris.
  2. Use a wax pick to remove any remaining debris.
  3. Wipe the outside surface with a soft, dry cloth.

Individuals should take their ITE hearing aids to an audiologist for a thorough inspection and cleaning every 6 months.

Receiver-in-the-canal

Receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) hearing aids have an open fit, so they do not entirely block the ear canal, which allows more natural sound to enter the ear. They are suitable for people with high frequency, mild to moderately severe hearing loss.

RIC hearing aids come in different styles and colors, so people can choose the options that best suit their needs, as these devices are not custom-made.

To clean RIC hearing aids, people can take the following steps:

  1. Brush the device to remove any debris.
  2. Use the thumbs to massage the dome tip to remove any stubborn material.
  3. Wipe down the hearing aid with a dry, soft cloth.

Individuals may find hearing aid cleaning tools online or at a local pharmacy. However, they should first consult with a doctor to check which tools are suitable for their hearing aids.

Some of the tools they can use to clean their device include:

  • Cleaning brush: The brush removes earwax, dirt, dust, and dandruff that accumulate on the hearing aid’s shell. People can also use the brush’s bristles to clean the holes, or its pointed tips to remove wax. In addition, some brushes come with a magnetic battery to help individuals clean their devices with ease.
  • Ventilation cleaner: It removes moisture and earwax from the vents in ITE hearing aids. A person can push this tool through the vent hole, and when it pops out from the other side, they can remove the earwax with a dry tissue.
  • Wax pick or wire loop: It removes wax and debris from the device’s vents and nooks.
  • Multitool: This all-in-one tool consists of a cleaning brush, wire loop, and magnet for thorough cleaning. Some multitools come with a magnetic pole that individuals can attach to the hearing aid battery. This may be helpful, as a person can insert the tool without dropping the battery or device.
  • Wax guards: This is a small plastic tool and comes in different sizes. Individuals attach it to their device to prevent earwax, dust, and moisture from getting inside the hearing aid.
  • Drying station: People can use a drying station to store their hearing aids when they are not using them, keeping them moisture-free.

A range of hearing aid cleaning kits are available for purchase online.

Individuals who do not follow a regular cleaning routine for their hearing aids or have difficulty cleaning some parts should consult a hearing healthcare professional.

A professional uses vacuums with specialized attachments to clean hearing aids, as they suck wax that has accumulated in areas that are hard to reach.

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association also notes that people should consult an audiologist if the device’s tubing has cracks or holes.

Individuals who wear hearing aids should clean their devices regularly to extend their life span and prevent malfunctions.

People can use different tools to clean their hearing aids and their components. A range of hearing aid cleaning kits are available from online retailers and local pharmacies.

If a person has difficulty cleaning hard-to-reach areas or if the device is not working correctly, they should contact a professional for cleaning repairs.