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How to maintain ITE hearing aids?

a hearing aid on display

Do you use in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids? If you do, wax accumulation is a major reason why your devices need routine maintenance measures to keep them working at optimized levels. The ear produces wax to lubricate and protect the internal parts of the auditory organ. However, too much wax can jam up the device's sound opening and result in low acoustic quality or a total malfunction.

Even though wax filters are incorporated in most ITE hearing aid designs, they need to be regularly cleaned or replaced. Cleaning and maintaining your hearing aids also minimizes the risk of infections that may pose a threat to your auditory health.

What you should know when using ITEs

It is common for every hearing aid to need some level of professional servicing, which explains their repair coverage and warranty. Due to the constant exposure to elements such as moisture, humidity, earwax, and even debris, they require optimum care. Properly cleaning them means you help extend their lifespan while continuing to have access to high sound quality. Here are some measures you should adopt:

  • Whenever your hearing aids are not in use, turn them off.
  • Keep them away from pets and young children. 
  • Ensure to keep the aids in a clean, dry place.
  • Set periodic times (once a week or month) to clean the battery contacts. If you spot any debris or earwax, wipe gently with a clean cloth.
  • Replace standard batteries as often as required.
  • Remove hearing aids before taking a CT scan, an X-ray or an MRI.
  • Always ensure your ears are dry before inserting your ITE. These devices are water-resistant but not water-proof.
  • Wash your hands with soap under running water before handling your hearing aids.
  • Ensure to change your wax guards or filters regularly. Find out from your audiologist how often to do this.
  • Never wear hearing aids while swimming, or when using a hairdryer or spray. You must never wear them while in the shower or bath. 
  • Make a habit of checking in regularly (or as agreed upon) with your local health provider for professional cleanings.

How to replace the wax filter

When changing hearing aid filters, always ensure to use the same type as that originally supplied with your device. If in doubt about the exact kind or right fit, contact your audiologist for help. Remember to always wash your hands thoroughly before attempting to clean or change filters. It is also a good idea to use a sterile cloth or antibacterial wipe to clean the hearing aids' external portions.

First, remove the tool from the shell, which has two pins. One is empty for removal, and the other has your new ProWax filter. The next stage is to drive the open pin into the ProWax filter in the hearing aid and then pull it out. The third step involves inserting the wax filter using the other tack. At this point, remove the tool and discard it.

If it is an O-Cap filter, remove the tool from the packaging as required. It has two ends: one for removal and the other with the new O-Cap filter. Push the pointed end of the tool into the existing O-Cap filter and pull it out gently. After this, insert your new O-Cap filter using the other end. Discard the tool when done.

The T-Cap filter is slightly different from the two methods mentioned above. When you purchase your package, you will realize each of the two ends has one prong for removal and the other with the new T-Cap filter. Push this forked-tool under the upper edge of the old T-Cap filter and lift it. The final stage is to insert the new filter and finally remove the tool by slightly twisting it. The twisting element is what makes this filter change process a little different.

What you may not have known about ITEs

Did you know every single ITE hearing aid you find people wearing has been custom-made? There is no one size fits all, which explains the need to design them to fit comfortably and without falling out. An audiologist usually takes a mold impression of the ear, which the manufacturer relies on to form the perfect casing for each individual.

The nature of the ITE design also means that the wearer can use gadgets such as telephones and headsets without any interference to the device. Moreover, because ITEs have all the necessary components contained within the case, there are no ugly external wires which are prone to breaking. More significantly, a majority of ITE hearing aids come with a twin microphone system for enhanced sound clarity.

Your ITE hearing aid is a powerful life-enhancing device you should learn to keep in optimum condition. Over the years, ITEs have become one of the preferred devices for people with hearing loss. Understandably, many users tend to be overly-conscious about the visibility of their hearing aids, so the fact that ITEs are discreet and more easily disguised is a big plus point.  

Do you have questions about your ITE device or would you like to explore new options? The team at EarTech Audiology are specialists to go to. Their services go above and beyond diagnosing disorders and prescribing hearing aids. They are trusted and recognized across the United States, and have countless testimonials to their credit. Contact EarTech Audiology today on 801-399-9955.