Maintenance guide for your hearing aid device
Like every other device, the hearing aid require maintenance and care to last long. For new users and even those conversant with the hearing aid, guides are required to maintain optimal performance from your hearing aid. There are quite a number of issues you need to understand. These will help you get the best performance from your device.
There are about 8 key issues you need to understand the hearing aid. We will address these issues to help you understand your device better.
Main issues with the hearing aid
Battery issues: the main issues with batteries include the following: substandard batteries and dead batteries.
Often times, most people who are new to the hearing aid will complain about the short battery life. Understanding some key factors about hearing aid battery life is important. Two factors determine how long your hearing aid battery will last. These factors are the capacity and size of the battery and the amount of current required by the hearing aid. Bigger batteries offer greater storage capacity, however, how long a battery will last depends on the amount of current required by the hearing aid.
Hearing aids require heavy current loads even much more than simple devices like the watch. Most times, a hearing aid is a work for up to 15 hours a day. The fact that the hearing aid battery remains operational for days is actually remarkable. In recent years, battery life has of hearing aids have greatly improved. You can easily find a hearing aids battery that can go for days before running out. They last longer than the old model batteries.
There are signs to watch out for in a failing battery. These signs include poor output quality, sound distortion, and increased propensity of feedbacks, fluttering sounds and unusual noises sometimes. Weak or faulty battery constitute one of the causes of the hearing aid failure. Most modern hearing aids require about 1.4 volts to function properly. Some hearing aids might still function properly at 1.2volts. A battery life that has dropped to 1.1 volts needs to be replaced to ensure the hearing aid works as expected.
How to get the best out of your batteries
What steps do you need to take to avoid hearing aid failure caused by battery problems? The most important thing to do is, first of all, create a replacement cycle for your battery. It is important to know when your hearing aid battery is due for a change. This will save you all the stress associated with using a faulty hearing aid. The best way to keep track of the battery use is by marking a calendar. Taking down notes of when you replaced a battery and how long it lasted is a good way to keep track.
If you do this for a few weeks, you will have a good understanding of how long a battery lasts. Keeping track helps you to determine the major cause of your hearing aid problem.
These days, there are better batteries with longer shelf life. They can last up to a year or more if properly stored. Most batteries today are classified as zinc-air batteries. This means that for a charge to begin, you will be required to remove a pull tab from the battery face. This pull tab allows air to enter through tiny openings. This tab is not to be removed until the battery is ready to be inserted into the hearing aid.
To help your battery last longer, it is important to remove the battery hen, not in use. Hearing aid batteries are mostly not in use through the night. It is therefore advisable to remove the battery. Store the hearing aid in a safe case. Avoid storing the hearing aid where children or pet can reach it. Removing the battery from the compartment is not necessary. Just ensure that the battery compartment is open with the battery inside. This will make the startup easier in the morning. Always place the hearing aid on a safe surface to keep the hearing aid from falling off.
Maintaining the battery life
There are some hearing aid users who turn off their hearing aid when not in use. They feel that by doing so they will enjoy a longer battery life. This idea of turning hearing aids off and on is not the best practice. It is not possible to predict the time important information will be passed. Keeping the hearing aid on is very necessary even when trying to conserve your battery life.
When purchasing a new battery, ensure to purchase a battery that is not older than six months. This is the best way to ensure you’re getting the best quality battery. Stockpiling batteries is not recommended because you might want to change your hearing aid anytime. Avoid keeping batteries where children can get hold of them.
When buying the hearing aid battery, stick to popular brands. Purchasing unpopular brands may lead to battery issue resulting from irregular sizes. Purchasing unfamiliar brands of a battery can also lead to poor hearing aid quality.
Hearing aid battery repair
The best way to deal with battery problem is by replacing them with a new one. Once batteries are dead, they cannot be repaired. Managing a bad or faulty battery can cause damage to your hearing aid. As soon as you notice a problem with the hearing aid, ensure you replace them.
Safety precautions
Always ensure that your battery is kept in a safe place when not in use. Keep hearing aid batteries away from children and pets. Keep hearing aid batteries separate from your pills. You don’t want to ingest your pills alongside your drugs. Ingesting hearing aid batteries can be very harmful to the body. It can also lead to severe cases such as death.
Issues associated with ear wax: ear wax building up, obstruction caused by ear wax, the appropriate time to remove ear wax and how to remove ear wax.
Ear wax build up
The best way to take care of ear wax build up is by cleaning the ear canal regularly. Cleaning the ear is best done by an audiologist or a physician. Some people can clean the ear by directly spraying water into the ear. Cleaning the ear needs to be done with a lot of caution. You should be cautious of water pressure, ensure you do not have a hole in your eardrum. Watch out for any signs that can prevent the easy management of ear wax. It is basically not the job of the hearing instrument specialist to remove ear wax. While it may be a part of an audiologist’s job description most audiologists would rather not provide this service.
There are offices whose duty is to provide ear cleaning services. Be sure to locate one of these offices if the need arises. The regular use of cotton swabs to control the build-up of ear wax is strongly not recommended. They can cause physical damage to the ear canal and drum. Cotton swabs don’t really do a good job at cleaning the ear. In most cases, they end up pushing the ear wax deeper inside the ear. Professionals can easily figure out cotton swab users by looking into the ear.
Hearing aid wearers who suffer from severe ear wax problem may have positive results from using ear leverage. There are equipment and instructions on usage available in professional shops. These include drug stores and hearing care offices. Wax softeners can also be purchased for use during ear wax cleaning. It is not everybody that is comfortable with allowing water into their ear. You might be required to discuss with your hearing aid professional before attempting this. The problem with splashing water into the ear arises with the difficulty in knowing if all the wax is out.
Another effective way of preventing wax from damaging the hearing aid is by the use of special anti-wax guards. There are quite a number of commercial products r this purpose. New manufacturers of the hearing aid these days include a wax guard to their products. The most common types you can find include the spring or the trap door style wax guards. Before purchasing any additional device or guard for your hearing aid, it’s important to discuss with your hearing aid professional.
It is very important to keep a daily habit of cleaning the hearing aid. Always inspect the portion that goes inside the ear. Watch out for wax blockages. Whenever a build up is noticed, this should be taken care of. There are tools provided by the healthcare professional for this purpose. It is important to ask your hearing aid professional to demonstrate how to use cleaning tools after the purchase of your hearing aid. These cleaning tools in the most case come with your purchase.
At the end of every day, it is important to inspect your hearing aid for wax build up. Ear wax is easily removed when it is still soft. If you make use of the band-aid type wax guard, wipe across it gently at the end of the day. When you notice a separation between the cushion and the adhesive backing, know it’s time to change it completely. When properly used, it will keep your receiver protected from ear wax blockage.
For those who use the wire coil wax guard, cleaning is done with the wax loop. The wax loop is a special device made out of plastic and a wire looped at the tip. Insert it with care into your receiver, turn it one full rotation before pulling it out. When using this device, do not pick or poke. Ensure to keep the device clean from any form of debris left behind. Cleaning at night is best. This gives the device enough time to dry and be adequately ventilated. Before attempting the cleaning process, it is very important to have a thorough discussion with your audiologist. Ensure you understand the process so you don’t damage your hearing aid in the process.
Using large tools in the receiver tube are not advisable. They can push down the tube into the hearing aid shell causing severe damage to the device. When this occurs, take your hearing aid device to a repair specialist for repairs.
The hearing aid vents also require checking for wax from time to time. The vent is one of the easily overlooked parts of the hearing aid. Most people attempt cleaning of the vent with a wire. Using a wire should be done with care to avoid cracking the hearing aid shell. For large vents, it is safer to use wire since they are less likely to crack. Large vents also hardly get plunged. Pipe cleaners are recommended for large vents. For smaller vents, the light gauge fishing line is more ideal.
Sometimes, ear wax can become dry before cleaning. A thorough brushing of the openings can be of great help. This can also be taken care of with a wire loop. Ensure to hold the hearing aid facing down during brushing. This will enable the wax particles to fall off free and not into the device. Always endeavor to keep your brush clean and free of wax particles. This will ensure that you don’t have wax debris falling into your device.
Issues associated with ear molds and venting: ear uneasiness, causes of uneasiness in the ear, correcting problems associated with hearing aid fitting, blocked vents.
Ear uneasiness
When you buy a tight fitting shoe for the first time, they can be very uneasy to cope with. The same goes for the hearing aid. The uneasiness I the ear are not very easy to tolerate. When discomfort and pain are associated with hearing aids, the aim of amplification is defeated. When the ear mold is tightly fitted, it can trigger pain in a particular spot in the ear canal. This sensation can gradually spread out to the entire ear. The buildup of ear wax and moisture can also be a cause of ear uneasiness.
The most prevalent causes of ear uneasiness is a hearing aid that is not properly fitted. Ear molds are designed from information gotten from your ear. Hearing aids are designed to fit comfortably. It is important to know that the tightness of the hearing aid depends on the level of your hearing loss. Tor those with a more severe hearing aid, a tighter hearing aid is required.
The major causes of uneasiness in hearing aids result from hearing aids that are poorly fitted. When ear molds are poorly fitted it can also result in hearing aid uneasiness. Hearing aids that improperly made or inserted in the ear can lead to discomfort in the ear. One way to get a well-fitted hearing aid is through ear impressions. There are healthcare professionals who are trained to create good ear impressions. These replicas are used to create fitting hearing aids. However, hearing aids may be distorted during their way to the laboratory for final production.
Another factor that can affect how well the hearing aid fit is the jaw movement. Jaw movements can cause uneasiness to the ear when the hearing aids are worn. These jaw movements can influence the shape of the ear canal. When you place your small finger in the ear canal while moving your jaw, the effect of the jaw movement can be felt.
Earmolds are designed to replicate accurate canal impressions. A perfect earmold may have a different effect due to jaw movement. Most hearing aid manufacturers offer a 30-day trial period. If you notice any form of discomfort during this period, report to the audiologist. It is not wise to accept a hearing aid that is not comfortable. This is because you will be wearing them for a long time.
When using the hearing aid, ensure that the receiver is properly placed inside the ear. Even though a hearing aid may be properly built, if not properly inserted, it can also cause discomfort.
How to take care of a fitting problem
For fresh users of the hearing aid, it can be discomforting. Minor discomfort can be expected for new users. This has to account for the fact that it is not usual to wear anything in the ear canal. First timers need to adjust to the new device after some time, this discomfort will reduce. When this uneasiness and discomfort continues after a while, then there is a problem. Take note of all forms of discomfort and report them to the audiologist. This will help the audiologist make the necessary adjustments to your device. There are a couple of ways to repair or fix fitting problems. This can be done by a process called buffing or grinding. The fitting can also be reconstructed by taking a new fitting impression. Fitting problems can be corrected right at the office without many difficulties. Not all hearing aid users experience this initial uneasiness.
Blocked vents is another problem associated with hearing aids. If you have a hearing aid with a vent, it is important to keep it open. Ask your hearing aid professional to instruct you on how to clean them. Vents are very important because they allow sounds that you will hear normally to enter the ear. These kinds of sounds do not need amplification. The large vent is very useful if your hearing loss affects only sounds with high frequencies.
Vents are also in place to reduce the amplification of unnecessary sounds. Low frequency sounds that you already hear normally do not need to be amplified. Venting can reduce background sound amplification. Often times, hearing aid experts enlarge the vents to control background sounds. For those with severe hearing loss, a large vent will not be helpful. It is advised to go for hearing aids with smaller vents.
Vents also help to reduce the amount of your own sound you hear. This can be disturbing. Other sounds are cut off while you hear your own sound echoing back at you.
Issues associated with moisture and dirt: effect of moisture to hearing aids, dirty volume control, and dirty battery.
Dealing with moisture issues
Dealing with hearing aid moisture problems depend on the type of device you are using. Some people will want to use water to remove wax and dirt. This practice is not advisable and unsafe. Electronic devices generally do not like moisture. Use a dry cloth instead or a tissue to wipe off the surrounding surfaces.
When cleaning the BTE hearing aids, the earmolds needs to be removed. They can be washed in warm water or soap solution and allowed to dry completely. When you don’t allow the earmolds to dry completely, it can cause moisture in the device.
One way of dealing with moisture is by using the dehumidifier. There are commercial versions available in the market. Dehumidifiers are special containers for storing your hearing aids. They are specially designed to absorb chemicals. When the hearing aid is not in use, it is advisable to place it in this container. Accumulated moisture is absorbed leaving the hearing aid dry.
Moisture can cause a lot of problems to the hearing aid. Controlling moisture will help the hearing aid to last longer. Moisture around the hearing aid needs to be avoided at all cost. Moisture leaves residues that are permanent. This residue builds up over a long time if not controlled.
Ensure you remove the hearing aid when going for a swim. Avoid spray, deodorants and other liquid substances that can be harmful to the hearing aid.
There are drying methods used to control moisture problem. Hanging the hearing aid upside down when not in use can be helpful. It can help get rid of trapped fluid moisture inside the device. It is quite difficult to detect a fault caused by moisture build up. When problems arise due to moisture build-up, see a healthcare professional. He is in the best position to handle the problem and make replacement where necessary.