Here are ten rules you should be aware of if you wear hearing aids. In brief, they are: (1) Beware of hairspray. (2) Beware of dogs. (3) Be careful with little children. (4) Keep them dry. (5) Open the battery door at night. (6) Rub your hands to check aids. (7) Break in new hearing aids gradually. (8) Put your phone on top of your hearing aid. (9) Change the battery when it beeps. (10) Use a little baby oil.
Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts of Wearing Hearing Aids
Now, let’s talk about these recommendations in a little more detail.
1. Don’t let hairspray get into your the hearing aids. It will gum them up. So don’t apply hairspray with your hearing aids on, and be sure to wait for the hairspray to dry before you put your hearing aids on.
2. Keep hearing aids away from dogs. Patients often bring me hearing aids that their family pet has chewed on. To avoid this, when you take your hearing aids off, put them high up and in a safe place. If you’re using a telephone and you lay the hearing aid down on a low table, the dog is likely to hear the sound of the aid and put it in its mouth to see if it tastes as good as it smells. Damage done by a dog is not covered by hearing aid insurance and warrantees because it falls under the category of negligence.
3. Little children also put everything in their mouths and try to eat it. Small batteries, like hearing aid batteries are especially dangerous. If a child eats a hearing aid battery (or a small battery from a toy), it’s not enough just to call the doctor. Take the child immediately to the emergency room. Many children die every year from eating batteries, and the swallowing of a battery is a true medical emergency. So, I repeat, do not take the time to call the doctor; take the child immediately to the emergency room. The hospital will take an x-ray and determine appropriate treatment. A lodged battery causes an excess secretion of digestive acids, which can burn a hole in the esophagus and cause massive bleeding. The child often swallows the blood, so the family does not realize the child is bleeding heavily. So, keep all batteries away from little children, and if you believe a child has swallowed a battery go immediately to the emergency room.
4. Keep your hearing aids away from all types of water. Do not wear them in a bath, shower, or while swimming.
5. You must turn your hearing aid off when you are not using it. If you don’t, the battery will wear out quickly. Open the battery compartment of the hearing aid to turn the instrument off. Note: Disregard this advice if you are using a hearing aid charging box. Most of these boxes turn the hearing aids off for you.
6. Make sure your hearing aids are working when you put them on each morning. Some hearing aids play a melody when they start; others simply turn on. To be sure the hearing aid is working rub your hands together. If the hearing aid is working, you should hear the rubbing sound. Turn your head and make this hand-rubbing noise next to each ear to make sure both hearing aids are functioning.
7. Getting used to wearing new hearing aids takes time. You do not want to start by wearing them 10-15 hours a day. Use the same approach with hearing aids that you would use with an exercise program. Start slowly, gently, then work up to longer durations. Wear new hearing aids only 3 to 5 hours a day during the first couple of weeks after you get them. Then, if everything is comfortable, add an hour or two a day. If something hurts, take them off and tell your audiologist.
8. There are many different ways to use hearing aid with telephones. The simplest way is to place the telephone on top of the hearing aid when you are using the phone.
9. Some hearing aids use re-charger systems. If you have a re-charger system, ignore this point. However, most hearing aids are still powered by little batteries that have to be changed periodically. The smaller the hearing aid, the smaller the battery, and the more often the batteries need to be changed. Hearing aids have a built in signal (a beep) that tells you when the battery needs to be changed.
10. Some hearing aids are difficult to insert and remove. If your aid has a snug fit, put a little baby oil on your ear before inserting it. The oil lubricates the ear and allows the aid to slip in and out of the ear easily.
There are other important issues to consider in wearing hearing aids, but these ten cover most of the basics.