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How to put in and remove your hearing aids

Last update on Nov, 28, 2023

Placing your hearing aids correctly can make all the difference in how well they work—and how well you can hear. The tips below will help you learn how to put in hearing aids, but keep in mind that your Miracle-Ear hearing care professional will instruct you on inserting your hearing aids the first time and will always be there to help you make adjustments.

Tips for putting in and removing hearing aids

The specifics of how to put in hearing aids depend on the type of hearing aid you have, but some general tips apply no matter what kind of device you’re using:

  • Identify which hearing aid is for the right ear and which is for the left. Some are color-coded (red for the right and blue for the left), and others are marked.
  • Stand in front of a mirror while you put in hearing aids to get a better view.
  • Make sure your hearing aids have been cleaned before you put them in. It’s a good idea to clean them as part of your bedtime routine, but if you skip it one night, you can still take a moment to clean them in the morning.
  • Use your right hand to put in your right hearing aid and your left hand to put in your left hearing aid.
  • If you’re new to hearing aids, practice! It takes some time to get used to inserting hearing aids, and the more you do it, the more it will feel like second nature.
hearing care professional at store

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How to put in and remove different types of hearing aids

The type of device you have will determine the correct method for inserting and removing the hearing aid. With the smallest versions, you’ll need to learn how to insert hearing aids into the ear canal, whereas with others, you’re just inserting a small, flexible silicone dome or a customized ear mold.  We’ll walk you through the process for each type of hearing aid below.

Here’s a step-by-step guide for how to insert a RIC hearing aid:

  1. Grasp the connection wire between your thumb and forefinger; the receiver should be on one side and the wire on the other.
  2. Carefully insert the receiver into the ear canal.
  3. Lift the body of the device over the ear, then tuck it in, being careful not to push it too far down behind the ear.
  4. Use your finger to insert the receiver deeper into the inner canal; you can pull up and back on the outer edge of the ear to help widen the ear canal  for easier insertion.
  5. Make sure the wire lays comfortably flat, in contact with the skin, along the front of your ear.

To remove a RIC hearing aid, follow these steps:

  1. Place your thumb and forefinger on the receiver where it sits at the opening of the ear canal
  2. Gently pull the receiver out of the ear canal
  3. Lift the body of the hearing aid up and off from behind your ear

Here’s how to put in a BTE hearing aid in four steps:

  1. Grasp the earmold between your thumb and forefinger
  2. Insert the tip of the earmold into the ear canal
  3. Push the earmold in gently, rotating it slightly until it sits comfortably
  4. Lift the body of the hearing aid and slide it over the top of your ear

Remove a BTE hearing aid using these steps:

  1. Lift the body of the hearing aid up and off from behind your ear.
  2. Pull down on the earlobe slightly to loosen the earmold.
  3. Grasp the earmold with your thumb and forefinger and pull outward, gently twisting if needed.

Follow these steps for how to put in an ITE hearing aid:

  1. Carefully push the hearing aid into the ear canal; pull down on the earlobe to help widen the ear canal.
  2. Twist the hearing aid slightly until it sits well and comfortably.

Here’s how to remove an ITE hearing aid:

  1. Push lightly on the back of your ear to help loosen the hearing aid
  2. Use your thumb and forefinger to grasp the hearing aid in the ear canal and pull it out
  3. If your device has a removal cord, use it by pulling the cord toward the back of your head

Because of their small size, there are some special considerations for how to put in IIC hearing aids—these can also apply to CIC (Completely-in-Canal) and ITC (In-the-Canal), depending on the specific model.

  1. Take note of the removal cord that indicates which side is the bottom of the hearing aid
  2. Carefully push the hearing aid into the ear canal; pull down on the earlobe to help widen the ear canal
  3. Twist the hearing aid slightly until it sits well and comfortably

Follow these steps to remove IIC hearing aids:

  1. Push lightly on the back of your ear to help loosen the hearing aid
  2. Use your thumb and forefinger to grasp the hearing aid in the ear canal and pull it out
  3. If your device has a removal cord, use it by pulling the cord toward the back of your head
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How to clean hearing aids

Hearing aid maintenance and cleaning do two things. First, it ensures that you are getting the best possible hearing experience and receiving all of the benefits that hearing aids can give you. Second, it protects your investment. With those things in mind, taking a few minutes to maintain your hearing aids is well worth it. To clean hearing aids, you’ll need:

  • Soft, dry cloth
  • Wax pick/wire loop
  • Cleaning brush
  • Bulb blower
  • A dehumidifier or drying jar

It’s a good idea to make cleaning your hearing aids a habit. When you do it is up to you, but consistency is key. A cleaning session for your hearing aids should include:

  • Using a pick and/or brush to clean out wax from small spaces like hearing aid domes
  • Wiping down the devices with a soft, dry cloth
  • Using a bulb blower to remove moisture from tubes if your device has them
  • Placing them in a dehumidifier or drying jar overnight to evaporate any moisture

Learn even more in our guide to cleaning hearing aids.

FAQ on how to put in hearing aids

Millions of people wear hearing aids, and there are some questions that come up time and time again. When it comes to how to put in hearing aids, there are questions that extend beyond just how to put them in your ears—and we’ll answer some of them below.

You can wear hearing aids with glasses. How comfortable it will be to wear both will depend on the hearing aid model and the type of glasses that you have.

For instance, wearing a BTE hearing aid, which houses most of the components in a unit that sits behind the ear, with thicker acetate-frame glasses could be uncomfortable simply because there is a lot to fit behind your ear. Thicker frames could also make wearing a hearing aid with glasses difficult by not allowing the hearing aid to sit in place properly. On the other hand, pairing a slimmer RIC hearing aid with light, wire-framed glasses is a much more streamlined and comfortable option. It is recommended to place your hearing aid on first, then your glasses.

For the ultimate comfort in wearing a hearing aid with glasses, some models (ITE, CIC, ITC and IIC) fit completely inside the ear, eliminating any extra bulk behind the ear. If you frequently take your glasses off and put them back on, these models also eliminate concerns about knocking loose any tubes or wires.

If you’re wondering, “How far should hearing aids go in the ear?” the best thing to do is meet with your hearing care professional in person. Together, you can experiment with what feels comfortable and confirm that the hearing aid is deep enough in your ear canal to be effective.

Each person’s ear canal is different in shape and diameter, which affects how your hearing aids fit. However, the devices need to fit far enough in your ears that they can transfer strong signals to the eardrum. If the placement is too shallow, you won’t hear as well. On the other hand, if they are too deep, it can be painful. Finding a happy medium with your HCP will ensure that you get the most benefit with the most comfort. 

When hearing aids won’t stay in the ear, there are a few things that could be at play, but ultimately, most cases come down to improper fit. One-size-fits-all hearing aids might be either too big or too small for your ears, and either case can cause them to pop out of your ear. Working with a hearing care professional when you get your hearing aids is a huge help because they can get you fitted correctly and make adjustments to hearing aid parts that affect fit—or even custom-mold hearing aids for a perfect fit.

Another common reason for hearing aids that won’t stay in is, in the case of BTE or RIC models, placing the body of the hearing aid too far down the back of your ear. This puts tension on the wire or tube that connects to the receiver or earmold, which can lead to pulling the hearing aid out of your ear.

Moisture or wax in the ear can also cause the hearing aid to move around and come loose. Talking to your HCP about your lifestyle (e.g., if you exercise a lot) and having them examine your ears (to see if you produce excess wax) will enable them to make recommendations about models that will sit most securely in your ears. In some cases, retention wires can be added to hearing aids to help keep them in place.

This question comes up in two ways: People asking if you can use earbuds with hearing aids and those asking if it’s possible to wear headphones that go over the ears. Earbuds and hearing aids don’t work together, but some hearing aid models are styled like earbuds and can act as a combination of both. Other hearing aid models that have Bluetooth can act as earbuds as well, streaming audio from your devices directly into your ears.

As for over-the-ear headphones, you can wear them with hearing aids. It’s easiest with hearing aid models that fit inside the ear, as there are no parts that will come into contact with the headphones. With BTE or RIC hearing aids, you can also wear over-the-ear headphones, but it’s important to select a model that doesn’t interfere with the hearing aids’ microphones.

It is not recommended to sleep with hearing aids in. Sleeping with hearing aids in can be uncomfortable, and your movements while you sleep are also likely to make them come out of your ears. Nighttime recharging is another important consideration, and if you have replaceable batteries, you don’t want to waste them while you’re sleeping.

What’s more, it’s important to let the skin inside your ears breathe a bit and give earwax a chance to move out. The risk of damaging your hearing aids, disrupting their function and interfering with your body’s natural sleep processes all add up to sleeping with hearing aids being a bad idea. 

Man wearing a hearing aid with dog and granddaughter

Need help with your hearing device?

If you’re having trouble with placing your hearing aids or removing them, don’t settle for a frustrating experience. Free lifetime aftercare is part of every Miracle-Ear purchase, and your hearing care professional (HCP) is there to help you with any challenges—no matter how small. Contact your neighborhood Miracle-Ear hearing center or stop by to get the help you need.

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