Hi, I'm Jim Cuddy. And this is Ask The Hearing Doctors. And I'm joined today by Dr. Ana Anzola, Dr. Linda Himler, doctors of audiology with Hearing Doctors, the Washington DC area's highest-rated audiology practice with over 1500, five-star reviews. Ana, Linda, great to see you both. Thanks.
So today we're talking about hearing aid maintenance, probably fairly obvious some of the things that you could do, but there are different things you do, whether it's daily, weekly, or even longer terms, Linda, why don't we start with you?
Uh, daily maintenance. Look at it. See if it's dirty. See if you've got old wax on it from the day before. I want you to wipe it down with a Kleenex, take a look at it. If you need to get out the brush that comes with it and just brush, brush, brush.
And, you know, does that go over the entire hearing aid or?
You can, I would put it over where the microphones are and where the sound comes out on the speakers, where the dome is, or the micro mold is. Okay. The cleaner you keep it the better they last.
Yeah. If you have one of those that is like an over the ear design with the little dome, it's important to always look at the filter. Um, if you have one that is an internal, more of a custom made, same thing, they have filters to kind of keep the wax out or any other debris. It lives in a very toxic environment. And we talk about that. And so brushing, you're not just brushing the dome, you're actually really brushing the actual speaker that is covered or protected by the filter. So changing those filters, we say maybe, um, like twice a month, like on the 15th and the 30th
Now, is this something that I would do on my own? Or do I need to bring it into you?
Oh no, no. And I, and I would have taught you how to do that, but every time you come in, we'd talk about this. How are you doing with, you know, changing of the guards or the filters? Is that something that you need help with? And you can certainly come into any office and help you get another tutorial.
Sure, absolutely. And I'm sure people need reminders all the time of things like this, right. Until you get used to it. And you're, you're accustomed to that. Um, what about some tips for safe storage? I mean, gosh, you think about, especially as small as some of the devices are nowadays, I would imagine that could be a challenge for some folks?
Yeah. So we talk about maybe select the place at home where you going to keep them. Definitely we ask, do you have kids at home or pets? They love the smell of wax. So we want to make sure that they're, if, if they come in at rechargeable kit close, close the lid. Or keep it in the drawer, keep it in a place where A, you're going to remember it that it's there. Number two, that it’s, that it's going to be in a safe spot. Yeah. Dogs have a habit of they like you. So they like the hearing aids and then they'll chomp on them and then they'll let them go. So then you'll have a problem on your hands. And they are a choking hazard also, so you want to be careful with the little kids. So not only can you not hear, but your dog's choking on your hearing aids. Yeah. Potentially true. You've got a lot of problems at that point.
So yeah, routine is very important with that. And if you go out and your going to the hairdresser or places like that, you want to have a little case with you so that when you take them out, you have someplace safe and in your purse to carry it or in your pocket, if you're a guy. Yeah, absolutely. We give out pouches and you can turn them off otherwise, otherwise they're actually on. Um, so we teach you how to turn them off, put them in a safe place, put them in your pocket or your purse. Um, don't put them in your shoes. I had a patient who actually went to the gym, put the hearing aids, not in a pouch just right there in the shoes. Forgot about it. Went back to actually put his shoes on. Just crushed it. No, that's not good.
Same thing with, um, going swimming, you know, take off your jewelry, take off your ring, your watch, take off your hearing aids. And again don't put it in a towel and then you forget. And then we'll whip out the towel. And then you're gonna whip out. They're gonna drop into the swimming pool. And there they're gonna go.
Um, what about storing them, obviously, you know, with a lot of electronic devices or devices, you don't want to store them in extreme temperatures. I would imagine that's the same thing for, for hearing aids?
Yeah. Very true. Cool, dry place. Uh, don't store them in the bathroom. I prefer not in the bathroom. I prefer not in the kitchen, near the sink. Um, a desk, if you want to be downstairs is fine. If that's where you charge other things, if it's a chargeable product. Or upstairs on a nightstand or near your jewelry box, if you're, if that's where you'd like to keep it. Yeah.
And if you take bat, if the actual system takes batteries, as opposed to being a rechargeable product, we talk about, uh, don't keep the batteries or the hearing aids in the car. High temperatures, low temperatures is not really good. Um, and not even for the batteries. So, I've had other patients who have gotten into the bad habit of putting the batteries in the refrigerator. That doesn't work. With a freezer it doesn't work. Only alkaline batteries do that. These are zinc air batteries. And in fact, when you go to replace them, there's a little sticker, different colors, different sizes, peel the sticker. Um, and then maybe leave it with the positive side up for about two minutes. That in and of itself is going to extend battery life for about 20%. Well, that's very interesting. I had no idea.
All right, now, a couple of things you just mentioned, water, uh, extreme heat and that kind of thing. What are some other, "Don't Do This" types of things that, that, that people need to be reminded of when it comes to hearing aids?
If it gets wet, don't put it in the microwave. Yup. As silly as that sounds, I've had a couple of patients who have done that. Um, and so maybe think about a heat source, like a lamp, and if they get wet, put them underneath. Um, but they're really, or in the desiccant jar, you may have a dehumidifier for hearing aids. Or if you don't have any of that, just wipe it down, dry it off, open the battery door and if it takes a battery, take the battery out and just let it dry out.
So now that I have been taught all of these maintenance things to do on a daily and weekly basis and that sort of thing, I can just pretty much take care of my own maintenance here, moving forward, right? There's no reason to come in and have any maintenance work done with you. Is there?
No, no, no. The opposite. So, uh, we have taught you how to take care of it and maintain it on daily basis. But there are other things that we do to the hardware, like a firmer update or changing of receivers or deep vacuuming doing an analysis of the response. Absolutely. Vacuuming out the device, vacuuming out the microphones, making sure it's very clean. So the bottom line is come in every six months. Every six months. Every six months or sooner if you need me. Okay. Ana, Linda, thank you so much.
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