Caring for Hearing Aids in a Nursing Home

By virtue of the fact that hearing loss affects the elderly more than the general population, many of our patients reside in nursing homes.  Due to the size and population of these facilities, helping our patients to hear while there and to care for their hearing aids can be difficult.  Here are some tips for patients and their families.

Labeling:  If we are making a custom hearing aid (i.e. one where we take an impression and the device is molded specifically for that patient’s ear canal), we can sometimes have their names printed on the shell.  However, as many devices now are non-custom aids, we recommend writing the patient’s name on with a permanent marker on the back or side of the device.  If you are concerned about where to write the name without damaging the aid, bring it into our office and we’d be happy to help out.

ear gearRetainer Systems: For around $25-$50, we can order a special cord / clip system that hooks onto the hearing aids with either a small “sock” that goes over the hearing aid or that hooks to an eyelet that we install onto the aid.  You can choose a discreet beige or gray color, or if you really want them to be found easily, choose bright red or orange.  The cord keeps them clipped to the patient’s clothing and also makes the small hearing aids easier to find if they do get pulled off.

Care and Cleaning: While the staff of a nursing home will do their best to help their patients to hear better, ultimately it will reside on family members to make sure that the hearing aids are working well.  This is as simple as frequently brushing off the devices with a soft bristled toothbrush to remove any visible debris, as well as checking the batteries and changing them weekly.  We are happy to show you simple care procedures in our office and you are always welcome to bring the aids to us for a professional clean and check!

Insurance and Warranty: Most hearing devices purchased in our office come with a 3 year repair warranty and a 3 year loss and damage warranty.  That loss and damage warranty does not include a $250 deductible per device.  Check with the nursing home before loss or damage becomes an issue to know if they have a policy in place to pay that deductible, or if the patient or patient’s family is responsible.  If the device is out of warranty (older than 3 years or has already been replaced once), you may want to check into 3rd party insurance.

Night removal / morning insertion:  Many care facilities are willing to remove the devices from the patient’s ears at night, place them on the medicine cart for the evening, then reinsert the devices in the morning.   This is a great idea, especially if they will open the battery door, thus saving battery life and run-time of the device!

We all want our loved ones who are living in skilled care facilities to have the best quality of life possible—and hearing what is going on around them is a big part of that!  Following these tips can make the hearing aid experience much easier on everyone.  If you have any questions or would like to consult with one of our American Fork or Spanish Fork audiologists about helping your loved one to hear better, give us a call at 801-770-0801.

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