Apr 192012

Ah, the cliche of the hard of hearing senior citizen.While our ear canals normally clean themselves, various things can cause a build up leading to difficulty hearing and discomfort. One of the most common methods people use to clean their ears is to use a cotton swab or hair pin. This is not a good idea however, because these can push the ear wax further down into the ear canal or even puncture an ear drum. Ouch!

Warmth and oil are usually enough to relieve the problem.  Use mineral oil or over the counter ear drops after warming the bottle to room temperature by rolling it in your hands for a moment. If you place the bottle in warm water test a drop or two on your wrist before using. Holding a warm cloth over the ear will help relieve discomfort and facilitate drainage.

Hydrogen peroxide may be used if the wax is really stubborn but gently rinse out the ear with warm water afterwards and insert a couple of drops of alcohol to dry out the ear canal to avoid complications. Avoid using cold solutions in the ear as this can lead to dizziness and vomiting.

Proper cleaning of hearing aids is also important. The best time to clean hearing aids is at night after you take them out. Look for and remove any wax buildup using the brush or pick that came with the hearing aid. Alternatively, you may use a soft toothbrush to gently clean away the wax. If your parent has an ear mold or behind the ear hearing aid, disconnect the tubing from the hearing aid and gently clean with warm soapy water and rinse well. Ensure no water is trapped in the tube by gently blowing on the tube and allow it to dry overnight before reconnecting.

Remove the battery and gently clean the hearing aid with a dry brush. Leave open to air to decrease moisture build up and prolong the life of the battery and hearing aide. Make sure everything is completely dry before reassembling the next morning. If you need to dry your hearing aid quickly, use a blow dryer on low, warm setting and hold it 18-24 inches away from the equipment.

Heat can quickly damage a hearing aid, keep this in mind when you store it and avoid sunlight and heat sources. Do not leave them in your vehicle where heat can build up quickly. Also avoid water from showers, pools, or saunas.

Sweat can also damage hearing aids. When engaged in strenuous activity, consider using an old hearing aid, wearing a sweat band or bandanna to catch the sweat.

When going to the hair salon, take their hearing aid out before the beautician starts and keep it out until you are ready to leave. Avoid using hair spray and other hair products while wearing a hearing aid and allow a minute or two for drying after using products before applying hearing aids.

Concerning hygiene. The ear canal is warm, moist and dark, the perfect medium for growing all kinds of nasty things especially if you are inserting something like a hearing aid every day. Use only approved disinfectants and avoid alcohol based products as alcohol can damage a hearing aid. Use a proper storage container for storing your hearing aids to not only protect them from damage but to also keep them clean.

What to do when someone will not wear a hearing aid:

It is frustrating yelling at someone who has poor hearing and will not wear a hearing aid. Try to understand that not only do hearing aids amplify what you are saying they also amplify all the other noises in the surrounding area. Those who are new to hearing aids and may be hearing things they have not heard in a while and have trouble ignoring the excess noise.

Talk with thier audiologist about what can be done to minimize background noise such as digital hearing aids, wearing two and directional microphones. There is also auditory training that can help such as Seeing Speech. Dr. Patricia B. Kricos, Ph.D. has a great article that explains this much better than I can.

With my own granny, it is because those batteries are, “just too expensive.” I wonder if I stock her up, will she wear them?

Source: Better Hearing

Hearing Aid Cleaner


  16 Responses to “Can You Hear Me Now?”

  1. Great advice, not just for the elderly, but for all age groups, cotton buds should be declared dangerous weapons, especially when there are young children around.
    Keep up the good work.

    Kindest regards

    Peter Tamosaitis

  2. Towards the end, my mother had some hearing problems and we got an inexpensive voice amplifier from Radio Shack that worked really well. We now use it with my father, too, as he has had constant problems with his hearing aids….
    Sonya Lenzo

  3. Those who are new to hearing aids may be hearing things they have not heard in a while and have trouble ignoring the excess noise. – great point – thanks!

  4. What are your thoughts on ear candling to remove excess build up of wax?

    Yours In Health!

    G.E. Moon II
    Discover The 7 Steps To Amazing Health

    • I know some people swear by it but honestly I think warmth from a warm cloth or heating pad will do the same thing.

  5. I’m sorry, I don’t understand what you should actually DO with the oil. Pour it into the ear, and leave it there, or tip the head so it drains out again?
    Agree absolutely re cotton buds, and great advice re hearing aid!

    Eco-Friendly Tips – Save Money, Save Water

  6. Great tips! Shouldn’t someone have come up with a hearing aid that doesn’t use conventional batteries by now? There has to be a way to make rechargeable hearing aids.

    Sabrina Peterson, NASM CPT, CES
    Fat Burning Home Workouts

  7. Suzanne,
    Wonderful tips for someone who needs hearing aids. I like your recommendation about what to do when visiting the beauty salon. Thank you.

    The Art Of Being A Good Parent

  8. Great tips. and those things you sqeeze and then they suck everything out instead of those darn Q-tips. I think they were invented by the hearing aid people LOL.

    Musician Profit Systems Carve Your destiny 3

  9. My diminished hearing is largely off-set by my knowledge of Body Language. Hearing is, of course, important yet you can “hear” more when you don’t hear as well.


  10. My grandfather had poor hearing for years and refused to wear a hearing aid. I agree that it can be frustrating.

    Cherie Miranda
    Meditation for Pain Relief

  11. Good tips on proper cleaning of the ears. But like Clare I was wondering how long you’re supposed to leave the oil in the ear before draining it out.

    Topper Remake

  12. I hope that we can eventually develop ways to prevent hearing loss, as well as making lives easier for those caring for people with such a condition.

    Mark Hogan

    Learn Covert Hypnosis

  13. What you say about Better hearing can be practice at any age. I would like if you can include additional tips of technology to increase hearing.

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  14. Good information. I’m discovering just how lucky I am in that my mother still enjoys good health at 91 years old. But also becoming aware of what to keep an eye out for.

    Be Well.

  15. Hi Suzanne,
    Yet again! Great Help for Parents!
    My Dad was deaf in one ear and had a hearing aid in the other.
    So we never really knew, when he didn’t hear us, if it was selective hearing or he couldn’t hear us? It was so sad, when he didn’t know what the thing in his ear was anymore.
    Looking forward to tomorrow!
    Caregiver Stress?

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