When you’re dependent on hearing aids to communicate with others, complete your daily routine and participate in activities you enjoy, keeping them in good working order is a priority. Hearing aids are designed to be as tough as possible, but they’re still electronic instruments that are vulnerable to things like earwax, dirt, moisture, heat and impact. If you were to chat with an audiologist, you’d discover the following causes are some of the most frequent – and most avoidable – causes for hearing aid repairs.

1. Failing to clean hearing aids or cleaning them incorrectly

Like other electronics, hearing aids can be damaged by dirt particles and moisture, but they’re also close to another substance that causes problems if it’s not kept in check: your earwax. When earwax gets into the tubing and receiver of your hearing aids, it can cause them to malfunction or stop working altogether. Cleaning your hearing aids daily is vital to keeping them performing their best.

It’s not only important to clean your hearing aids, but to clean them correctly. Don’t use any cleaning agents like alcohol, which can corrode and damage a hearing aid’s parts, or even water. All you need to do is wipe them down with a dry, soft cloth.

2. Dropping hearing aids

Hearing aids aren’t indestructible, as many people have learned the hard way. Dropping them on a hard surface from any height can damage them. To reduce the risk of dropping your hearing aids, make sure you handle them over soft surfaces or sit down while you’re inserting them and taking them out – especially at first, when you’re still getting used to handling them.

3. Improper storage

What you do with your hearing aids when you’re not using them can also be a prime source of damage that leads to needing repairs. Don’t store your hearing aids in moist places like the bathroom or hot places like the car. Find a cool, dry place and store them there consistently (this will also protect them from getting stepped on or knocked over, unaware). Also be sure to leave the battery door open, which allows the compartment to dry out and lengthens the life of your batteries.

4. Wearing hearing aids during certain activities

You should feel comfortable wearing your hearing aids during nearly every daily activity, but there are a few that can be harmful to your hearing aids:

  • Using the sauna or shower
  • Swimming
  • Blow-drying your hair
  • Using hairsprays and other aerosol products

Obviously, these environments expose your hearing aids to moisture, heat and substances that can clog the microphone and receiver. Even waterproof hearing aids aren’t impervious to moisture if they’re submerged long enough. As a best practice, remove your hearing aids before you do any of these things.

Hearing aids are designed to take you through the wear and tear of everyday life, but they still require some TLC to keep them working well. Avoid these four most common causes of hearing aid damage and you’ll be more likely to avoid hearing aid repairs now and in the future.