Audiology

How to clean a Receiver-In-The-Canal (RIC) Hearing Aid

Dr. Cliff Olson
October 9, 2017
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How to clean a Receiver-In-The-Canal (RIC) Hearing Aid

Dr. Clifford R. Olson Discusses how to clean and maintain a Receiver-In-The-Canal Hearing Aid. Don't forget your Dry aid Kit as well!

There are many different styles of hearing aids on the market right now, but all of them require some level of care, maintenance, and cleaning in order to keep them functioning properly. Even though there are a bunch of different manufacturers that make receiver-in-the-canal style hearing aids, it’s important to understand that they all have the same processes for cleaning and maintaining them.

Here, I’ll go through and show you the simple things that you can to preserve the cleanliness and longevity of your own hearing aids. For a visual demonstration, please refer to the video above this article.

NOTE: If your hearing center didn’t provide you with a cleaning kit when you purchased your instruments, be sure to purchase a hearing aid cleaning tool and replacement wax traps before starting this task. Within your new wax trap package, there should be a filter of some sort, as well as a prong or tool to extract the old filter.

1. Change the wax trap

  • First, remove the rubber dome or cap from the end of your hearing aid (the part which fits into your ear).
  • Next, change out the wax trap, which can be found underneath the dome you have just removed. You may or may not notice that it’s plugged, but for preventative reasons, we’ll want to make sure that we remove it and replace it with a new one.
  • Take the one end of your recently purchased wax trap, push it into the center, and pop out the old wax trap.
  • Flip your wax trap over and push in the new one. It should stay put there. I find it is helpful to give it a tap with my finger to make sure it’s on there all the way.
  • Finally, take a Kleenex and wipe off the entire hearing aid, removing all remaining traces of wax. You’re all done changing the wax trap!

2. Brush around all areas of your device

  • Brush over the microphone ports. There might be several on the hearing aid depending on which model you’re working on. Don’t forget the rear microphone.
  • Most of these devices have a push button. Make sure that you brush off around that push button.  If any debris gets into where that push button is, it will prevent that button from working.
  • Do same thing with the microphones. If there is any debris over the microphones, it’s important to keep that out of there or it won’t pick up sound to amplify.
  • Open up the battery door and brush out any debris that’s inside of the battery compartment. If too much debris builds up in there, the battery won’t make contact with the battery contacts, and the hearing aid won’t turn on.
  • Be sure to clean the dome. Take an alcohol swab and make sure to get all the earwax off of it. If you don’t have an alcohol swab, you can also use a Kleenex for this. I always like to take the wire tip of the cleaning tool and push it through the tip of the dome to make sure there’s no wax in there. I also like to take the wire end of the cleaning tool and stick it through the dome to make sure all the earwax is out.
  • Finally, put the dome back into it right place at the top of the hearing aid. Done!

3. Use a Dri-Aid kit to remove moisture

Another thing that you should be doing as part of your regular maintenance plan for your hearing aids is using a Dri-Aid kit, which pulls the moisture away from your hearing devices.  I like the ones that force air through the hearing aids, which generally get them drier than the ones that you just put in a container with silica beads (this doesn’t necessarily circulate any air).

However, if you’re not using anything, you should be using something. Prices can range anywhere from about ten dollars up to 150 depending on the caliber of Dri-Aid kit that you get. Even a ten-dollar kit is better, absolutely better, than nothing at all.

4. Get your device regularly cleaned by a professional

Another thing you should absolutely be doing in order to maintain the cleanliness and performance of your hearing aids is getting them professionally cleaned every three to six months.

If you’re the type of individual who produces a lot of earwax or you sweat a lot, consider doing this closer towards the three-month area. If you’re someone who generally has clean ear canals and doesn’t sweat a whole lot, you might be okay extending that all the way out to a six-month period of time.

Hands down, if you want to maintain the clarity of your hearing devices, and you want to get them to last as long as humanly possible, getting regular maintenance done by a hearing care professional is the absolute best way to do that.

Video Transcript

Dr. Clifford R. Olson Discusses how to clean and maintain a Receiver-In-The-Canal Hearing Aid. Don't forget your Dry aid Kit as well!

Dr. Cliff Olson
Audiologist & YouTuber

Dr. Cliff is an unwavering supporter of Hearing Aid Best Practices and advocate for individuals with hearing loss, which inspired him to develop the Dr. Cliff Approved Provider Network.

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Dr. Cliff Olson

Audiologist & YouTuber