Often, our patients are surprised to learn the importance of earwax. For example, it helps prevent infection in your inner ear and keeps your ear from becoming overly dry.
For hearing aid users, earwax also has a drawback. Problems caused by earwax are a leading reason hearing aids become in need of repair. To prevent damage from earwax, many of today’s hearing aids have a wax filter.
What Is a Wax Filter?
When we talk about wax filters, wax traps, or wax guards, all of these terms refer to the same thing. A wax filter is a miniature plastic screen that keeps earwax out of your speaker or receiver. We don’t want earwax accumulating around those components. If too much earwax gets into your hearing aid, the sound quality drops.
Figuring Out When to Change Your Wax Filter
Patients frequently ask me how often they should change the wax filter. It’s difficult to give them a definitive answer. Usually, I explain the rate of earwax production isn’t the same for everyone. That’s why how often you should change your wax guard depends on how much wax your ear produces.
Many of our patients need to change their wax filters every month. Yet, I’ve had patients who can use the same wax filter for months because their ears don’t make much wax. A few of our patients produce more wax than average. They have to replace their wax guards as quickly as every couple of weeks.
Since there’s no set schedule for changing your wax filter, we advise inspecting the wax guard when you’re cleaning your hearing aids. (We also recommend cleaning your hearing aids every night.) If the wax filter is plugged, it’s time to change it.
We know life gets busy. And we don’t always get around to doing everything we should like cleaning hearing aids regularly. During those busy seasons, the sound from your hearing aid may seem too low or distorted. You put in new batteries. The device is on. The volume is where it should be. You’re still having a problem with sound quality. Your next step is to check the wax filter. It’s probably blocked with wax or debris and needs to be replaced.
How to Replace Your Wax Filter
Many types and styles of hearing aids are available. However, these steps will work for many hearing aids. Some hearing aids have a dome that you need to take off before you change your wax filter.
Remove the Used Filter
A new wax filter typically comes mounted to the end of a tool that looks like a stick. You can see a pin on the tool’s other end. After you remove the tool from the package, push the exposed pin into the used wax filter. Pull the tool towards your body. The old wax filter should be on the tool now.
Insert the New Filter
Push the end with the new filter into the spot where the old wax filter was. Pull the tool out. The new wax filter should remain on the hearing aid.
San Antonio Doctors of Audiology
Protecting your investment in hearing aids is important. If you need additional help with hearing aid maintenance, call us to schedule an appointment.