Earwax is essential to your ears’ health. It protects your skin inside your ear canal and works as a lubricant to keep your ears free from dirt and bacteria.

However, when it comes to hearing aids, earwax can do more damage than good. If it begins to build up, it can interfere with your hearing aids’ receiver or speaker, thus affecting how well your hearing aids operate and your hearing clarity.

Wax filters, or wax guards, protect your hearing aids from wax build-up. Replacing them with new ones should be a regular part of your hearing aid maintenance routine.

To encourage my patients to keep up with their hearing aid maintenance, I’ve put together this article that explains the importance of wax filters and how to change them.

Why are Wax Filters Important?

Wax filters are small plastic screens that prevent too much wax from reaching your hearing aids’ receiver or speaker. If these tiny components become clogged up with earwax, it can lead to damage and the need for repair. Earwax build-up can also affect how well your hearing aids work. Sounds may become distorted or weak, and even vanish entirely.

When Should I Change My Filters?

Regularly check the speaker end of your hearing aid to see if the wax filter has collected a substantial amount of wax. You should change the wax filter if it appears plugged or if the holes are completely blocked. Do not wait until the sound softens or fades completely.

How Often Should My Wax Filters Be Changed? 

It depends on how much wax accumulates in your ears – and this happens on a very individual basis. This can vary from needing to change the wax filters every month to every several months.

I Have A Custom Hearing Aid. How Do I Change Its Wax Filter?

Although there is a wide range of hearing aids available, most of the designs are very similar. You should, however, use wax filters that are supplied by your hearing aids’ manufacturer.

Here’s how to change the wax filter on your hearing aid:

  1. Open the packaging and remove the new wax filter.
  2. Remove the tool from the shell. There should be two pins – one for holding the new wax filter and one for holding the used wax filter.
  3. Insert the empty pin into the old wax filter. Gently remove it from the speaker.
  4. Use the other pin to insert the new wax filter.
  5. Roll-off the tool to remove it and then discard it.

I Wear Receiver in the Ear (RITE) Hearing Aids. How Do I Change The Wax Filters?

Earwax can be even more damaging to RITE hearing aids than custom hearing aids. Changing the wax filters regularly is extremely important, as RITE hearing aids have a higher chance of not working if they aren’t properly maintained.

Here’s how to change the wax filters on your RITE hearing aids:

  1. From the circular holder, select the tool. It will have a pin with the new wax filter and an empty pin for the used wax filter.
  2. Place the empty pin into the old wax filter. Pull it out when you feel it click.
  3. Push the new wax filter into place with the other pin.
  4. Roll-off the tool to remove it and then discard it.

Do Not Hesitate to Contact Alabama Hearing Associates Today

Alabama Hearing Associates serves the residents of North Alabama and the Tennessee Valley.  Should you be uncertain of which wax filters are suitable for your hearing aids or if you require further assistance with changing them, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. We would be delighted to help you, and we will return your call as soon as possible.

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Dr. Susan Sheehy

Dr. Sheehy earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in audiology at the University of Alabama before beginning her career as a clinical audiologist in Huntsville. In 2005, she received her doctorate in audiology from Salus University. Dr. Sheehy is one of a specialized subset of audiologists certified in tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT). By appointment from the governor, she has served as a member and chairperson of the Alabama Board of Examiners in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology.
    Basic Hearing Test

    A basic hearing test begins with an air conduction test. You will be seated in a soundproof booth and single-use, foam earphones will be inserted into your ear canals. The Audiologist will ask you to push a button or raise your hand when you barely hear a series of beeps (tones) presented at various frequencies (pitches) to obtain your air conduction thresholds.

    To determine whether your hearing loss is a conductive (mechanical) loss, sensorineural (permanent) loss or combination of the two, we perform a bone conduction test.  

    For this test, a head band is place on the bone behind one of the ears to obtain your bone conduction thresholds. This process provides a different form of sound transmission using vibration, which bypasses the eardrum and the middle ear bones and directly stimulates the auditory nerve. When you hear the beeps/tones, you will push a button or raise your hand.

    If bone conduction thresholds are better than air conduction thresholds (through the foam inserts), you have a conductive hearing loss. This suggests a problem with the mechanical structures (moving parts) of the ears.

    Conductive hearing loss is often a medically treatable condition for which we will provide you with a referral to an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) physician. However, if bone and air conduction thresholds match, it indicates a sensorineural hearing loss (permanent), and the treatment will likely involve hearing aids.

    ALL INCLUSIVE PLAN

    $6,790

    Comprehensive 5-Year treatment plan with premium technology

    If you want premium “out of this world” technology and the highest level of service and expert support, our All-Inclusive treatment plan is the right investment for you.

    The All-Inclusive treatment plan offers long-term value for your on-the-go lifestyle, providing everything you need to connect with family and friends for years to come.

    Includes:

    • Stellar hearing devices from top manufacturer (rechargeable option available)

    • Wireless accessory included at no charge

    • Comprehensive Annual Visit including hearing assessment, hearing device adjustment, and 19-Point preventative maintenance valutaion

    • Bi-annual hearing aid software update and reprogramming

    • Same day diagnosis and in-office repair during weekdays for devices dropped off before 3:00 p.m.

    • 5-Year full-service repair warranty

    • Unlimited remote hearing aid adjustments

    • 100% moisture removal by Redux and cleaning

    • Hearing aid supplies (stock receivers, batteries, domes and filters)

    • $1000 contribution towards purchase of upgraded technology within 48 months

    • 3-Year replacement warranty for loss or damage (no deductible)

    • Dedicated team of hearing care experts at your service

    • Unlimited teleaudiology appointments

    • Access to our “speed of light” repair specialists

    Schedule Appointment

    Choose Your Level of Technology

    A Comprehensive12-Step Functional Hearing Assessment

    If you struggle to understand conversations in social situations, restaurants, or other noisy environments, you do not need to schedule a basic hearing test. You certainly don’t need to schedule a “free” hearing screening or online hearing test.

    You need to schedule a “Connect 365” Functional Hearing Assessment at Alabama Hearing Associates!

    Hearing Technology with a Methodical Plan

    Our community understands better than most what can be achieved when you combine technology with human intelligence and persistence. It is much the same with hearing technology.

    The latest hearing aid technology is incredibly powerful, offering stellar sound quality and performance. Wireless connections allow phone calls, music and television to stream directly to your hearing aids for exceptional clarity.

    But hearing aids do not fit and program themselves! For best outcomes, you also need the human touch and expertise provided by our Doctors of Audiology.

    How do I know my new hearing aids are working properly?

    Without verifying that the hearing aid is working correctly from the start, all of the other steps in the hearing aid fitting process are useless. The most sensitive quality control measure is something called Electroacoustic Analysis. We complete EAA on every new set of hearing aids, before delivery of repaired devices, and on an annual basis.

    What Is Real-Ear Measurement?

    Real-ear measurement (REM) is how an audiologist knows that hearing aids are working the way they should in each patient’s ears.

    Ears are as unique as a fingerprint. Because of this, every ear will collect sounds differently.

    Even if I had two patients with the exact same hearing loss and hearing aids, there’s almost no chance the hearing aids would be programmed the same way.

    Orientation, Counseling, and Follow-up

    Dr. Cliff (the creator of the Best Practice Pro Network) said it best:

    “Having a detailed orientation can dramatically improve how much success you have with hearing treatment.  Counseling & Follow-up care can also ensure that you have success for years to come.  Regular visits to a hearing care provider who spends the time to discuss treatment related information and who will maintain your devices is extremely important.”

    During the orientation, your provider will give you the tools you need to be a successful hearing aid user. Everyone has different learning styles and we want to make sure whatever works best for you is what’s used. After the 75 day adjustment period, routine checkups are necessary to maintain the hearing aids and to ensure optimal hearing healthcare. 

    Real World Adjustments

    Your hearing loss didn't occur overnight, so it will take some time to adjust to the hearing aids. Your patience and persistence will be well worth it.

    Wireless Connections

    Most hearing aids automatically come with wireless streaming from smartphones and it has been a lifesaver for those that are working remotely and spending hours on teleconferences. As for other wireless accessories, the two most popular solutions are a small microphone used in less-than-ideal listening environments and a TV streamer that streams the TV’s sound directly into your ears—which can be a lifesaver when watching British TV shows or during football season. If your audiologist believes they would be beneficial for you, they will discuss your options and demonstrate the device in the office.

    Assessing Outcomes

    To ensure the most success with your hearing devices, we measure the benefits of amplification at the end of your adjustment period—some of the surveys and tests included in the “Connect 365” Functional Hearing Assessment will be repeated to evaluate progress, quality of life, and patient satisfaction with the hearing aids.