Millions of Americans deal with some form of hearing loss on a daily basis. Hearing loss is a condition that affects both children and adults, and although it has been said that that close to 27 million people could benefit from the use of a hearing aid, only about 20-30% of those who could benefit actually use them, depending to the National Institutes of Health. The key to keeping a hearing aid working properly is proper care and maintenance – knowing how to clean and store the device while avoiding contact with dirt, grime and moisture. Although this device is small, it can be costously, therefore requiring knowledge to properly maintain its function and condition. Millions of Americans still rely on these small devices to make a big difference in their life. These devices can provide many benefits to those who wear them such as improved relationships, increased learning, hearing new sounds, bonding with loved ones, hearing over the phone or in person, holding conversations even in noisy places and more confidence to leave the house.

Over the years, hearing devices have made some major advances. In fact, it has been noted that the first electronic hearing aid was produced in the early 1950s and over time, these devices have been designed to be smaller and more effective over time. Even the smallest one today can produce big results. In the beginning of their design, directional microphones were placed into the device to allow the wearer to focus on one-on-one communication and the ability to converse in noisy locations. Yet, as one may assume, these early models were not as beneficial as those today and manufacturers discontinued their production until about the 1990s where technology really took a turn for the better.

Today, hearing aid technology offers an array of possibilities, meeting the needs of all kinds of people. Some are more expensive or more complex than others, but these digital or electronic devices still require the help of a trained audiologist to choose the proper product and proper fitting. The cost of the device can start below $ 2000 and can exceed $ 5,000. Along with the proper installation comes proper care, which can help extend the life of the hearing aid and keep it working properly. They are an investment for certain.

As an investment, proper care makes your money go a long way. According to experts in the hearing health field, proper care is directed to the shell, the microphone and the receiver. Understanding how to store, clean and repair your hearing aid will keep it functioning as it was meant to and may prevent the need for repeated repairs over time. These three places need to be cleaned on any type of hearing aid device. First, when it comes to the shell, the surface of the hearing aid should be kept clean. In the ear aids will likely have wax build up where the shell bends. Behind the ear aids usually have debris from dirt or oil in the grooves. With a lack of care, either may find them not fitting properly or working properly. Water and chemical cleaners should be avoided on your hearing aid. A damp cloth or tissue should be carefully used to wipe the hearing aid down. Many kits also include a brush that can be useful for ear wax builup. The microphone is extremely delicious and it is important to never poke the port. During cleaning, the microphone should always be facing the floor and the provided brush should be used. With the receiver, wax buildup is one of the most common reasons for hearing aid failure. Daily cleaning with the brush could prevent wax buildup in the receiver port.

Moisture is the enemy of hearing aids when it comes to the actual device and the battery, which also requires special care. Should you have any questions or need further assistance on the proper cleaning methods, it is recommended that you ask your audiologist. They will gladly review these methods with you to ensure successful hearing aid performance and are the experts in this field. When it comes to moisture, a hearing aid drying container or a dry aid kit will help keep moisture from building up inside the hearing aids and will prolong their life. Be sure to take the batteries out of the hearing aid before placing them in a dry, cool place in order to help them last as long as they potentially can. Battery failure is the most common culprit of hearing aid failure. Furthermore, many audiologists will advise you to open the battery door to allow some air to enter the hearing aid and help to reduce the devastating effects of moisture that may accumulate in your hearing aid for a number of reasons. This, too, will prolong battery life. Signs of a failing batteries are weak output, scratchy sounds, distortion, increased feedback, intermittence or strange and unusual sounds such as static. Proper battery care requires routine daily or weekly testing, as some batteries may only last a week or two. It is recommended that a person with a hearing aid always carry a spare battery which should also be kept in a dry, cool place.

Although batteries today are made to last much longer than in the recent past, drying is recommended with the use of either a forced air blower (no, not a blow-dryer) or a can of compressed air like the ones used to clean a computer keyboard. Moisture can happen from rain or even sweat. Your activity level and climatic conditions are two of the most common known variables affecting moisture build-up. People with high levels of physical activity or those who sweat easily are sooner to moisture problems when it comes to their hearing devices. Likewise, living in areas of high humidity can also aggravate its performance. Whether from internal or external sources, moisture should be avoided as best you can. Some aids will stand up to moisture better than others. Consult your audiologist to see if they recommend certain dry aid kits or drying containers and also discuss your specific lifestyle with them. If you are a physical person and risk more perspiration than others, your audiologist can help you choose the proper aid that will best support your current lifestyle. This, in turn, will also help you get the most out of your hearing aid.

Many people are curious about the average lifetime of a hearing device. Their longevity relations on proper care as well as the type of aid you have chosen. Recent research has demonstrated that the typical hearing aid gets replaced about every 5 years, but as technology makes gains, so does the expected lifespan. Problem solving techniques and proper care can help extend the life of the device, of course. For the most part, today's hearing aids are exceptionally reliable, strong and durable. Most of the time they will help you make the most out of life without serious breakdowns. Things may go wrong, but when you care for them properly, you can save time and money in the long run by avoiding serious and costly repairs. Information on proper care is a powerful tool in this case. Not only are hearing aids going to improve the quality of life, but they are worth the extra care that they require.