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Open Ear Hearing Aid Maintenance

Tube And Dome Replacement & Cleaning

Following a few simple procedures will help you hear better and save money. But first lets break down the open fit hearing into its components.

  • The instrument, the part that goes behind the ear.
  • The tube, the part that connects to the instrument on one end and the other end goes into the ear canal.
  • The tip is small and goes over the end of the tube that goes into the ear canal. Tips look like a mushroom or tulip flower and are very soft and small.

The Instrument

The cases are made of a plastic material which can be wiped with a soft cloth or tissue moistened with alcohol. Pay close attention to any ports or openings in the case and try not to get alcohol in these. Also, look closely at the battery door and battery compartment for any moisture and/or rust stains. Use an alcohol moistened Q-Tip to clean this area.

The Tip

Tips come in assorted shapes and sizes and fall into two categories which are the same as for tubes. Tips used on hollow tubes slide on over the end of the tube. Like the tube they are hollow and will usually be cleaned at the same time you clean the tube. Removing them from the tube is not necessary.

Tips for Receiver-In-Canal (RIC) hearing aids have some type of mechanism to keep wax, moisture and any other ear canal debris from migrating up the end of the tube and damaging the receiver. Generally, this is a fragile membrane which can be cleaned by careful brushing with a small soft brush.

NOTE: If you inadvertently damage the mechanism which prevents debris from getting into the receiverm, immediately replace the tip. This is important enough to warrant keeping a few extra tips on hand.

Check your owner’s manual for special instructions before cleaning domes for RIC hearing aids.

Attaching and Removing Hearing Aid Domes

Domes (also called tips) fit on the end of small tubes by stretching over the end of the tube which has ridges on it to keep the dome secure. The process is very similar to the method any hose is attached to the fitting on the end. Think of how a car radiator hose connects but without the hose clamp.

To attach the dome, push the dome onto the slim tube until it touches the plastic ring or flange which is the limit the dome will slide on over the end of the tube. Tug on it afterward to make sure the dome is firmly attached to the tube.

To remove the dome, grasp the inner part of the dome between the thumb and forefinger and pull it off the tube.

The Tube

Hollow tubes are very easy to clean just by blowing through them from the end you just disconnected from the instrument. You can also poke an included 4 inch long piece of monofilament in the tube, again from the end that connects to the instrument.

Tubes that go on receiver-in-canal (RIC) type hearing aids do not require cleaning, the cleaning is done by cleaning the domes.

Attaching the Tube to the Hearing Instrument

First determine if your hearing aid is a “receiver-in-canal” (RIC) type which has an electronic component on the end of the tube. If so, refer to your owner manual to remove or attach this type of tube.

For hearing aids that use a hollow tube to transmit the amplified sound into the ear canal, tubes attach to these type of aids in two manners: threaded (screwed on) & snapped on. To remove either type, start by gently turning the tube counterclockwise 1/4 turn. At that point you will be able to tell if the tube is threaded or snapped on. Snapped on tubes will bend to this position, and threaded tubes will become very easy to turn further.

If you find the tube detents to the 1/4 turn position you will then be able to grasp it securely and gently pull it straight off the hearing aid.

When unscrewing, turn the tube counterclockwise from the hearing instrument.

To attach the tube to the hearing aid

For snap on tubes simply determine the correct placement of the tube so it will fit properly into your ear canal and push the tube straight on the aid.

For threaded tubes

  1. Hold the tube with the dome attached in one hand and the hearing instrument in the other hand.
  2. Gently turn the tube clockwise onto the hearing aid. Make sure you tighten the tube snugly onto the hearing aid until it is in the proper position to fit in your ear canal.

A good habit to get into

When changing the battery carefully inspect the hearing aid, tube, and dome. Check the tube for tightness to the instrument. Also check that the tip is secure to the tube. Look for any obstructions to getting all the sound you need to hear well.

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Images courtesy of Unitron Hearing

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