Expert Health Articles

Hearing Aids

“These hearing aids don’t work!”  I bet most of us have heard that from someone at one time or another.  Hearing aids have gotten a bad rap for years.  However, there are actually scores of people who successfully wear hearing aids and wouldn’t want to be without them.  Hearing aid manufacturers continually work to improve their size and technology.  Most hearing aids are barely noticeable now, as they are quite discreet and blend in with hair/skin tones.  What most people don’t understand, however, is that hearing aids are like “mini computers” that are worn in or behind their ears.  As with all electronics, they are not conducive to getting wet.  Since most people wear their hearing aids the majority of the day, it is not uncommon for them to be used 12 to 15 to 17 hours a day!  Dirt, earwax, and moisture from body oils/perspiration are common causes for hearing aids to become obstructed and not perform properly.  More often than not, hearing aids are thought to be “broken” or “not working” when they actually are just clogged with debris/moisture.  Cleaning your hearing aids daily after use will help alleviate this.  Add it to your nighttime regimen along with cleaning your contacts/glasses and brushing your teeth.  Routine maintenance from your audiologist/hearing aid specialist is also recommended. 

Since the implementation of wearing facemasks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, communication has become more difficult.  This has not only affected hearing aid users, but also those with mild/moderate hearing loss which may have gone undiagnosed, as they have relied on lip reading –possibly without even realizing it.  Facemasks have also become a hindrance for hearing aid users, as the ear loops often become tangled up with behind-the-ear hearing aids.  This has caused receiver cables to break, earmold tubing to come apart, and hearing aids to fall off and become lost.  Use extreme caution when taking facemasks on and off.  If at all possible, wait to remove facemasks after leaving a facility until you are seated in your vehicle.  If anything accidentally falls off, hopefully it will end up in your lap or at least be noticeable.  Use of a neck strap for facemasks would also help avoid interference with hearing aids.  Ear loops are attached to a strap worn across the neck so they do not go over the ears.  This way you can stay protected while safeguarding your hearing aids.

 If you or someone you know is struggling to hear, ask to be referred for testing.  If your hearing aids do not seem to be working to their full potential, schedule an appointment with your audiologist/hearing aid specialist for routine maintenance.  Ask for tips on how to clean them at home if you are not sure how to do this.  As your local audiology experts, we’re here to help you hear!

Melinda Jimenez

Audiology Technician

Blanchard Valley Health System