Advice for hearing aid users

It’s a good idea to change your batteries pre-emptively, i.e. before they run out whilst you’re out and about, which is just plain inconvenient. Simply count how many days they last, then mark each (for example) 7th day on your calendar or mobile phone, and change the batteries that morning. If you don’t like this idea, consider a Battery Buddy holder.

WAX GUARDS (for RIC and all IN THE EAR hearing aids)
Establish a way of calibrating the balance of your hearing aids once a week. For example, stand with your right ear towards a sound such as a ticking carriage clock and determine the distance at which you can just hear the tick. Do the same for your left ear. Then, next time if the distance shortens on one ear, change the wax guard. Otherwise, I’d suggest changing once every 6 months. The exception would be if you have an ear infection or current perforation of the ear drum, in which case once a week would be better. Some wax guards, such as CERUSTOPS can be reused in certain conditions (call us for guidance).
How to change Phonak wax guards

HEARING AID DOMES (for RIC and THIN TUBE hearing aids)
Domes can last a long time – but as a guide, they should be changed if they discolour, if the ‘spokes’ on the dome (or any part) rips of if they lose their elasticity. That means in practice that if you take a dome off once to replace the wax guard, you should change the dome also. On some brands, this could maybe be done on the 3rd time of removing (the best example is the Siemens Click Dome which clicks firmly on to the receiver).

We recommend that our patients change the whole receiver wire unit every year. Indeed, even more regularly if the client wears the aids in very hot / dusty environments (or if they have an ear infection). In most cases, the response of the hearing aid will noticeably improve.
Sports locks (a part of the receiver) can be replaced separately, if they appear discoloured, brittle, kinked or broken.

I am not a great fan of thin tube hearing aids, but it is wonderful that the NHS now issue this type regularly, for free. The issue is that once earwax has got inside, the tube gets blocked so easily. Our tip would be to wipe the tube cleaner wire with an alcohol wipe prior to inserting. Ideally, change the whole tube every 6 months, or less if you have an ear infection etc. Tip: if you do cut off the sports lock part, please ensure you file off the stump.

An Ear Hook is the upper part of a BTE classic hearing aid design. The ear mould will be attached to it via 3mm tubing. Ear hooks should be transparent, intact and completely immobile on the hearing aid. Most ear hooks are easy to replace. Small filters inside ear hooks (usually, can be seen as a little white block) can get congested over time. If you have a filtered ear hook, change it every 6 months.

Hearing aid tubing for traditional BTE hearing aids – available from us at low cost in pre-bent thick wall and anti-condensation. Replace this when your tubing hardens, yellows and / or splits.

CLEANING WIPES (Every wearer should use these)
I believe that the hearing aid tip that is in the ear should be wiped with a wet wipe of suitable type EVERY night. If you have an ear infection, use one for each ear and wash your hands in between. You can also carefully draw the wipe over the sports lock, the tube and main body (without wetting the sound outlets and battery compartment).

DRYING KIT (Every wearer should use this)
The switched-on hearing aid user will always use some form of drying kit. The improvement in ongoing performance can be quite considerable, as can the reduction in breakdowns and need for costly repairs. Get one for each location you spend lots of time at, i.e. home and caravan, for example.

If you have a hearing loss, then it’s sensible to take some time to make sure your landline and mobile telephones are up to the job. As a general rule, buy a new telephone every two years. In most cases you should be able to use your telephone WITHOUT removing your hearing aid. If you are using Loudspeaker, you should hold the phone back to front. T-coil function on certain models of hearing aid can help you hear better on some telephones, but it is often unsatisfactory.

If you miss the doorbell ring, if you would not hear a smoke / CO2 alarm going off at night, a normal alarm clock or a telephone ringing then you may need additional alerting devices.

Noise Protection
It is even more important to use ear defenders and noise protection if your hearing is already damaged. A hearing loss can make you less aware that the noise around you is dangerously loud. In addition, it may be that once a hearing loss has begun, it is then more likely it will worsen further in the presence of loud noise. Ear defenders should be worn at home whilst performing such activities as using an electric drill, lawnmower etc. We stock all remote controls and streaming and FM devices.

Hearing aid add-ons
Whilst it is not a good idea to buy expensive hearing aids AND gadgets at the same time, if you have already evaluated your new hearing aids and believe the sound quality to be as good as you could possibly get, then adding these devices later could be a good idea.

TV listeners / headphones
Assuming you recognise that you have a hearing problem, TV, audio and speech listeners should only be considered if you have exhausted all possible options with your hearing aids or you can’t wear them / can’t afford them / can’t get to an NHS appointment.

Phone amplifiers
…are ideal where you do not wish to change your existing phone, or you need amplification on a switchboard type phone (at work). A generally better option is to buy an amplified telephone.

Proper hearing aid servicing
Most hearing aid users do not appreciate that like a car, a hearing aid needs a full service (i.e. opened up by the manufacturer so that 1 or more components can be replaced). We can help you access very low cost parts and repairs. Get in touch – the replacement of say, a loudspeaker can bring about an amazing transformation in sound quality.

Specialist mobile phones
…with big bright displays, large easy to press and easy to read buttons are becoming really popular. They are simple to operate without a mass of useless gizmos that you’ll never use. Plus they amplify for the hard of hearing and are compatible with hearing aid use.