One major concern for those that wear hearing aids is an ear infection. Not only are these painful, they can affect the fit of your hearing aid and the quality of your hearing. Worse, the hearing aid itself could even be the root cause of the infection. The following tips can help you avoid an infection, or at least treat it quickly if an infection does occur.
Tip #1: Clean often
Ear infections are often a side effect of a cold or the flu. During cold season, spend extra time on hearing aid hygiene to help prevent an infection from occurring. Remove the hearing aid often and clean it using your normal method several times a day. Do this more often if you are experiencing waxy discharge as a side effect of your illness, as well as cleaning your ears more often too.
Tip #2: Avoid moisture buildup
Ear infections for hearing aid wearers can also be more common in winter because of the tendency to bundle up. If you are sick or feel like an ear infection is coming on, skip the tight-fitting hat or ear muffs, as these won't allow air to circulate. Also, take out your hearing aid periodically so both it and your ear canal can dry and benefit from air circulation. This can prevent moisture that causes bacterial or fungal infections in the ear to flourish.
Tip #3: Always let your ears dry
Don't pop in your hearing aid immediately upon getting out of the shower or after swimming. This will trap moisture in your ear, which can increase your chances of an infection. If you are prone to ear infections or swimmer's ear, talk to your doctor. They can recommend an over the counter or prescription ear drop to help dry up the excess water in your ears so that infections don't occur.
Tip #4: Keep your hands clean
Hopefully you always wash your hands before handling your hearing aids, but if not, make sure that you do when illnesses are going around. This simple precaution can prevent many infections, especially around the ears.
Tip #5: Get treatments
Infections often won't go away on their own. Most ear infections are fungal or bacterial, which means you will need an antifungal or antibiotic ear drop to fully rid yourself of the infection. These require a prescription. Use them exactly as recommended and for the duration specified to ensure the infection is fully knocked out. Also, leave your hearing aid out as much as possible so it doesn't further irritate the infection.
For more help, talk to a doctor or audiologist, like one from Evergreen Speech & Hearing Clinic, Inc.