The ultimate guide to keeping your hearing aids clean

Published 01 September 2022  | Updated 16 May 2024  | 3 mins read

There’s no doubting the positive impact hearing aids can have on your quality of life. But they need looking after: you’ll need to adopt a regular cleaning routine to maintain their performance and longevity. And that routine will depend on what type of device you’re using. There are three main styles of hearing aid:

  • Behind-The-Ear (BTE)
  • Receiver-In-The Ear (RITE)
  • In-The-Ear (ITE)

That’s why we’ve produced this handy guide, to help you keep your device in tip-top working order.

General hearing aid care tips

While it sounds obvious, it bears repeating: hearing aids need to be cleaned regularly. That means daily, if possible, with tubing replaced as required – no later than every 6 months on BTE models. Put simply, failure to clean your hearing aid could result in deteriorating sound quality and lessened overall performance. Ear moulds can suffer from discolouration if they’re not cleaned frequently too, while a strong odour from the hearing aid mould can also be a sign of an ear infection, so consult your audiologist if you’re concerned.

Cleaning BTE hearing aids

Good news if you have a BTE hearing aid – you’ll be delighted to hear (excuse the pun) that these devices are very simple to clean. We recommend cleaning the mould and tube frequently – but don’t clean the hearing aid device body. First, you’ll need to detach the tubing and mould from the device. We recommend stowing the main body somewhere safe and, most importantly, dry: it’s vital your hearing aid is kept away from liquid. After soaking the mould and tubing in warm soapy water for around 15 minutes, you can rinse them and then wipe with a cloth or tissue, before leaving to dry out completely overnight.

Avoid blowing into the tubing, as your breath will just add moisture. Try using an air puffer tool instead.

Cleaning RITE and ITE hearing aids

Both RITE and ITE hearing aids are entirely electronic devices, and therefore must not be cleaned with liquid. Here, you’ll simply need a dry cloth and cleaning brush. In fact, manufacturers of both device types will typically provide their own cleaning tool, as well as a wax prevention filter system. That filter plays an important role – helping to prevent any blockages caused by wax build-up, so it’s vital that the filter is replaced when necessary. We advise holding the hearing aid in a downward-facing orientation when cleaning, which ensures any loose particles will fall out. It also means you won’t need to probe too heavily with a cleaning tool – this could damage the device.

EXPERT ADVICE: When an RITE or ITE device suddenly stops working, we find there are often two causes: empty batteries or a blocked wax prevention filter system. Check these before anything else.

Need further help?

We’re here to help you at every step of your hearing care journey. If you have any hearing aid questions, or if you’d like contact one of our expert team, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Find your local branch of The Hearing Care Partnership here, or call us on 0800 520 0546.