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What are hearing aid filters?

Hearing aid filters cleaning

A guide to hearing aid wax filters: How to change them and more

Hearing aid wax filters are tiny parts that do a mighty job of helping you hear clearly. Learn more about what they do, how to care for them and how to change them when necessary.

What is a hearing aid filter?

Hearing aid wax filters are tiny components of your hearing aid, but they play a big role in ensuring it keeps working. These tiny filters for hearing aids do the important job of keeping out ear wax, skin oils, dirt and dust—all of which can clog up your devices. The biggest foe these filters have is the ear wax that your ears continually produce, which is why you might also hear them called “hearing aid wax filters.” While it is healthy and normal to have ear wax, it can build up quickly and stop your devices from working.

Do all hearing aids have filters?

Most hearing aids have wax filters, but it ultimately depends on the type of hearing aid you have. Hearing aids that have components that sit either partially or completely inside the ear are the most prone to accumulations of ear wax and have the most need for hearing aid wax filters

Types of hearing aid filters

The form and kind of hearing aid you have will dictate the type of hearing aid wax filters that are used.

Hearing aid wax filters are tiny discs that sit under the hearing aid dome (if your hearing aid has one) but on top of the receiver. The hearing aid filter’s position helps it block ear wax from getting onto the receiver, which can clog it and cause it to stop working. 
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Which hearing aids use wax filters?

Most, if not all, hearing aids have wax filters that protect their delicate parts, but where they are located will vary. Because there are many types of hearing aids, it’s important that you get to know your specific model. Ask your hearing care professional to demonstrate all the hearing aid parts—including the wax filters—so you know what’s what.

Receiver-in-canal hearing aids are defined, just as their name implies, by having a receiver that sits in the ear canal. Because of its position, the receiver is exposed to ear wax and other debris (like dead skin cells) or secretions (such as oils) that the body naturally produces. The hearing aid wax filter is a critical component as it keeps those things out of your hearing aid’s receiver. Hearing aid filters for RIC models sit underneath the soft, removable silicone hearing aid dome.

In-the-ear hearing aids sit completely inside the ear, meaning they come into direct contact with ear wax all day, every day. All the components of an in-the-ear hearing aid are contained inside one unit, including the hearing aid wax filters that protect the receiver. Without the filter in place, it would be easy for wax and other secretions from your ears to infiltrate the hearing aid and potentially stop it from working. 

Behind-the-ear hearing aids need filters that keep out dust and debris because they’re exposed to more of the environment outside of your ears. The hearing aid filters for these models are placed at the end of a small flexible tube

How often should I change my hearing aid wax filter?

The question of how often to change wax filters in hearing aids is one that has a very individual answer. For each of us, the amount of ear wax we produce is different, affecting how often the filters should be changed. On average, the recommendation is that they be changed at least every month. But, as part of your daily hearing aid cleaning and maintenance routine, you should look at the filters. If it looks like they’re plugged, it’s time to change them

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How to change hearing aid filters

The process and tools necessary to change a hearing aid filter will depend on the type of hearing aid you own, but there are two common ways.

The first involves a small, stick-like tool—one end has a new filter (typically white), and the other end is empty.

  1. First, if a hearing aid dome is in place, remove it to expose the filter that’s already in your hearing aid.
  2. Insert the empty end of your tool into the filter. You should feel a little click that indicates it’s connected.
  3. Pull it out to remove the used filter.
  4. Turn the tool around and insert the end with the new filter into the hole where the old one was. You should feel it click into place.
  5. Remove the tool and ensure the new filter is in place in your hearing aid.
  6. Replace the hearing aid dome if you have one.

The second involves a disc-shaped tool with two holes inside—one is empty, and the other contains a new filter.

  1. Remove the hearing aid dome.
  2. Insert the exposed tip of the tool into the empty hole. You will feel a click—this indicates that the filter has been removed from your hearing aid.
  3. Insert the tip into the second hole containing the new filter. Again, you’ll feel a small click, this time indicating that the new filter is attached.
  4. Remove the tip from the disc-shaped tool and put the dome back on.

How do you clean a hearing aid wax filter?

Cleaning is an essential part of maintaining your hearing aids, and it’s recommended that you do it daily. Use tools from your hearing care provider that are specially designed for hearing aids, like brushes and picks that can get into the small nooks and crannies of the device. Only wipe your hearing aids down with soft, dry, non-abrasive cloths and always avoid getting your hearing aids wet. If the buildup on the hearing aid filter isn’t coming clean easily, it’s likely time to change it. 

Find the right hearing aid for you

Part of finding the right hearing aid is determining which ones are easiest for you to handle, whether that’s putting them on, cleaning them or making adjustments during wear. Book a Miracle-Ear appointment at a location near you to talk to a hearing care professional, take a look at different models and have a discussion about your hearing health. Our HCPs will explain everything you need to know about hearing aid care and maintenance, including how to clean and change hearing aid filters.

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If you have questions about hearing aid filters or you’re looking to find the right fit, schedule an appointment with a licensed HCP at your local Miracle-Ear.

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