How to clean your hearing aids

Published 14 March 2018  | Updated 07 December 2022  | 3 mins read

An elderly woman putting her hearing aid on.

Hearing aids are small, complex pieces of technology that go from your ears to their overnight box every day. It’s hard to imagine not wearing your favourite device on a daily basis, but to keep your hearing aids in top condition they need regular maintenance to stay on form. This includes keeping them clean, to prevent a build up of daily dirt and ear wax which could impair their functioning, as well as possibly having nasty side effects to the health of your ears. But what is the best method of cleaning your hearing aids, when they are such small pieces of technology? We can help, with some expert advice on how to clean them safely.

Cleaning your Behind-The-Ear (BTE) hearing aids

As the largest type of hearing aid, these are one of the easiest to clean. The mould and tube are the components which need to be cleaned, so your first step is to detach these. If you have any difficulties doing this, your audiologist can always show you at your next appointment. The hearing aid device itself should be put in a safe place whilst you clean the rest, where you normally store your hearing aids overnight should be fine. Dirt can be firmly attached to the mould and tube, so run a bowl of warm, soapy water and let them soak for approximately 15 minutes. This will help loosen any dried-on dirt, before running each component thoroughly under the tap to remove it. Don’t forget to ensure the inside of the tube it also well-rinsed. Every six months or so, the tubing will need to be replaced on your BTE hearing aid. Wear and tear to the tube of your hearing aids can result in deteriorated sound quality, so if a good clean doesn’t improve your hearing aids, it may be time to order a new tube through your audiologist. To dry, first go over the tube and mould with a dry cloth. This will remove most of the moisture, but we recommend leaving them in a warm, dry place overnight to ensure no moisture remains.

Cleaning your In-The-Ear (ITE) hearing aids

These tips apply to Invisible-In-Canal (IIC), Completely-In-Canal (CIC), In The-Canal (ITC), In-The-Ear (ITE) and Receiver-In-Canal (RIC) hearing aids. Very different to BTE hearing aids, it’s important you don’t try and clean these models with any form of liquid. The last thing you would want is for moisture to get inside the mechanism and possibly damage them. Instead, all ITE hearing aids should be cleaned with a clean, dry brush (like a soft toothbrush) and cloth. Brush the hearing aid gently downwards, letting any debris come away naturally. Alternatively, gently wipe away any dirt with a dry, clean cloth. Do not blow or breathe on your ITE hearing aids, as your breath contains moisture which could further the problem. Many RITE and ITE hearing aids come with a wax prevention filter system, which is a self cleaning mechanism designed to prevent a build up of ear wax. These filters do need to be changed regularly, so if you notice a deterioration in the sound coming from your hearing aids, a blocked filter could be the cause.

We’re here to help

If you are stuck on any aspect of hearing aid maintenance, we can help. Book an appointment online and speak to one of our fully trained hearing aid audiologists today.