Your ear needs earwax to function correctly. Unfortunately, earwax also can interfere with the regular operation of your hearing aid. Manufacturers have addressed the problem by including a wax guard in most hearing aids.

What Is a Wax Guard?

It’s a tiny plastic ring that’s also known as a wax filter or a wax trap. A wax guard keeps wax and debris from building up in the hearing aid’s speaker or receiver. That’s an important job. Damage from earwax is a leading cause of hearing aids needing repair. Excessive earwax in a hearing aid can reduce sound quality. In extreme cases, the wax build-up keeps the user from hearing any sounds through the hearing aid.

How Often Should You Change Your Wax Guard?

It depends. People produce earwax at different rates. Due to prolific earwax production, some users need to change their hearing aid wax guards every two weeks. At the other end of the scale, other users can go months without replacing their wax guards. Many users fall in the middle and change their wax guard about once a month.

How to Tell It’s Time to Change Your Wax Guard

Imagine you’re troubleshooting your hearing aid’s problem with reduced sound quality. You’ve verified:

  • The hearing aid is on.
  • The volume is set to the right level.
  • Fresh batteries have been installed.

Yet, you’re still having problems with sound quality. A clogged wax guard may be the source of the problem. You’ll have to inspect the wax guard to see if it is clogged. If your hearing aid has a dome, removing it will reveal the wax guard. Otherwise, simply look at the opening for the speaker or the receiver. The tiny ring there is the wax guard. If debris has filled the wax guard, it’s time to replace it.

In the future, it may be helpful to make regular inspections of your wax guard when you clean your hearing aid.

Steps to Replace a Hearing Aid Wax Guard

Hearing aid manufacturers offer hearing aids in a wide variety of styles. Therefore, the steps to change a hearing aid wax guard can vary from one device to another. However, the following process works for many hearing aids.

  1. If your hearing aid has a dome, remove it.
  2. Usually, your new wax guard will come already mounted on a tool that has a pin on each end. Remove the tool from the packaging.
  3. Use the tool to push the end with the exposed pin into the old wax guard.
  4. Pull the tool away from the hearing aid. The old wax guard should come off on the pin.
  5. Push the other end of the tool, which should have the new guard on it, into the spot you removed the used wax guard from.
  6. Pull the tool away from the hearing aid. The new wax guard should stay in place.

Audiologists in North Houston

If you’re having a problem with your hearing aid that wasn’t covered here, our hearing specialists are available to assist you. Give us a call to schedule an appointment or request a callback today, and we’ll be sure to get back to you as soon as possible.

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Dr. Lacey Brooks, CCC-A, FAAA - Doctor of Audiology

Dr. Lacey Brooks, CCC-A, FAAA - Doctor of Audiology

Dr. Lacey Brooks received a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry in 2003, and earned her doctorate of audiology in 2009. She completed her clinical internships and residency at various facilities within Houston Medical Center. Dr. Brooks is a professional member of the American Tinnitus Association (ATA), a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology (AAA), a member of the Texas Academy of Audiology (TAA), and is certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). She is also the vice president of the Louisiana State University Houston Chapter Alumni Association.