Dr. Emily Martinson, AuD, PhD
New and seasoned hearing aid users alike know the importance of keeping their devices clean. One often-overlooked element of cleaning is the humble wax guard, also known as the wax stop or filter. The wax guard is the little white filter that sits in the inner-most end of your hearing aid speaker. It looks like a little white cup, with tiny holes on the end. The wax guard is changed by using a special tool that removes the old wax guard on one end, and replaces it with a new one on the other end. Make sure to check with your provider about how to do this.
Wax guards are important because they collect the ear wax that naturally forms in your ear. Because ear wax is soft, it collects inside the hearing aid speaker and can clog it, preventing the sound from getting out. The wax guard prevents the wax from getting down into the speaker itself, protecting your hearing aid. It also allows you to save your ear wax to sell to candle makers at the farmer’s market! Wax guards should typically be changed about once a month, but the actual frequency you should change them varies person to person.
People who have greater than average wax production sometimes need to change them more like every 2 weeks. After changing your wax guard, the tool can be thrown away. You can also save the tool for a souvenir if you are a big weirdo. Make sure to check with your hearing care provider about how to change your wax guard.