Hesperian Health Guides

Appendix A: Take care of your equipment

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HealthWiki > A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities > Appendix: Take care of your equipment


Take care of your equipment

This chapter has information about how women with certain disabilities can take care of their equipment so it will work well and last as long as possible.


Hearing aids

Hearing aids are expensive to begin with, but buying the aid is not the only cost. The ear mold must fit well, otherwise the hearing aid will not work correctly. If your ear mold starts to crack or get smaller (shrink), it will need to be replaced. Ear molds do not usually last more than 2 years. Also, all hearing aids need batteries to make them work.

The 2 most common hearing aids are the:



These 2 hearing aids may need new batteries every week or every 2 or 3 months. How often you need new batteries depends on how many hours each day you wear your hearing aid,
money being exchanged for an ear mold and three small, round batteries.
Getting new ear molds and batteries can be very costly.

the type of hearing aid you have, and the kind of batteries you use. An organization in Botswana, southern Africa, has found a way to make a hearing aid with batteries that can be used over and over (rechargeable). See Resources: Women with Disabilities for more information. Some countries provide hearing aid batteries and ear molds free. Contact the Ministry of Health in your country to see if they are available.

a woman with a hearing aid speaking.
Hearing aids and batteries should be available to everyone who can benefit from them, not just to people who can afford them!

HOW TO TAKE CARE OF A HEARING AID

No matter what type of hearing aid you have, it will last longer and give better sound if it is given regular care. Here are some tips for taking care of a hearing aid:

  • When you are not using it, keep your hearing aid far away from electrical equipment, such as refrigerators and televisions.
  • Do not let it get very hot or very cold.
  • Keep it dry—sweat or water will damage it. During the day, remove it from time to time and wipe off any sweat or moisture. Remove the hearing aid before bathing, swimming, or when out in the rain. At night, put the hearing aid in a container with silica gel (a material that absorbs moisture). Do not use perfumes or any sort of spray on the hearing aid.

Cleaning

  • Use a soft dry cloth to clean it. Never use any cleaning fluid.

Ear mold

  • Check for wax in the ear mold regularly.
  • Clean the ear mold with warm water, and make sure it is dry before using it again.

Battery

  • To make the battery last longer, turn off the hearing aid when it is not being used.
  • Keep the battery clean, and remove it when the hearing aid is not being used for a length of time—for example, while sleeping at night.
  • Change the battery regularly. To check if it is time to change the battery, turn the sound to the highest setting. If it makes a whistling noise, the battery is okay. If not, it is time to get a new battery. Ask someone to help you if necessary. If the battery loses power faster than usual, it may be a sign of a problem with the hearing aid.
  • Store batteries in a cool, dry place. Bring a battery that has been kept in the refrigerator to room temperature before using.
  • Try to have the hearing aid checked at a hearing aid clinic or store from time to time.


Hearing aids may need repair. Usually hearing aid repair can be done only in big cities. But deaf organizations have started training deaf people to take ear impressions, to make ear molds, and to repair hearing aids.