If you're like most people, spring is a bit of a mixed blessing.
On the positive side, you can look forward to melting snow, green grass, baseball, picnics and the flowers. On the negative side, warmer weather means spring cleaning.
Throwing out old clothes, cleaning the garage and home maintenance are all part of the spring ritual but there's also something else to consider – our ears. Cleaning our hearing aids, checking for wax buildup and considering ear protection are important maintenance tasks that can mean the difference between healthy ears and hearing loss.
Jon Waterhouse, Manager of Professional Practice for Connect Hearing Canada says spring is a wonderful time of the year to make sure everything is cleaned up, organized and working the way it should be.
“Spring cleaning is one of those activities that can be a bit intimidating. Let's face it, when winter ends there is usually no shortage of mud, dust and salt to remove from your home and car – especially if you have children. But it's not all about material things, we have to think of our ears as well” says Waterhouse. “Maintenance of hearing aids is key and should be considered carefully during your spring cleanup. Clean your devices with a special moist cleansing wipe that is designed especially for cleaning your hearing devices. Earwax deposits should be removed from your hearing aids on a daily basis with a special brush. Always clean the hearing aids by starting at the top and wiping downward, in order to prevent earwax or dust particles from entering the inside of the hearing aids.”
According to the Canadian Hearing Society, nearly one out of every four adult Canadians reports having some hearing loss, although closer to 10% of people actually identify themselves as culturally Deaf, oral deaf, deafened, or hard of hearing. Statistics Canada says, more than one million adults across the country reported having a hearing-related disability, a number more than 50% greater than the number of people reporting problems with their eyesight. Other studies indicate that the true number may reach three million or more Canadian adults, as those suffering from hearing problems often under-report their condition.
Waterhouse is very aware of these statistics, and it's one reason why he encourages people to stop by for a free hearing test, stressing that Connect Hearing technicians can help with any questions you may have about hearing aids and the best ways to maintain them. Waterhouse also said that while spring cleaning is an important way to focus on external matters, it's also a mind-set.
“Spring cleaning isn't just something you do with a mop and broom. In every way that matters, spring cleaning begins with a decision to set goals and get organized,” says Waterhouse. “This is true for hearing health as well. I can't stress how important it is for people to make their ears – whether you wear hearing aids or not – a priority. It might be time to throw out that loud music. It may be time to go out and get some ear plugs if you work in a loud environment. If you're living with someone who is dealing with a hearing issue, it might be time to throw away the fear and uncertainty and have that conversation with them about hearing aids. Spring is about new beginnings. Remember, it's never too late to make a difference in hearing health.”
Hearing aid care and maintenance should be discussed during the fitting appointment and if you're not sure, don't be afraid to ask. Remember, daily maintenance of your hearing aid through daily cleaning and regular service is critical. As a rule, make sure your hands are clean and dry before handling your aids and avoid using water, cleaning fluids, solvents or alcohol.