There’s nothing like spending a warm summer day the beach. Whether you like lying on a towel and getting lost in a good book, taking a long walk or getting involved a fun game of volleyball, you’ll find a fun and relaxing day next to the ocean or lake. However, that day can turn into a nightmare if you wear hearing aids and sand gets lodged into your devices.

Sand can clog the microphone and tubing of your hearing aids, leading to performance issues — even permanent damage. Take the following precautions to protect your hearing aids on the beach.

Cleaning your hearing aids

If you notice the sound of the hearing aid is weak or non-existent, there’s a chance sand could be the culprit. If this is the case, it’s important to perform a thorough cleaning of your hearing aids. Depending on the severity of the sand and the length between cleanings, you will need a hearing aid brush, hearing aid blower, wax pick and a cloth.

Turn the hearing aid upside down so the microphone port faces the floor while cleaning. Do not poke anything into the microphone port. While cleaning, sand and other debris will fall out of the microphone, not into it. Use a hearing aid brush and gently brush across the microphone port to sweep away any debris.

The shell is the surface on the hearing aid. Cleaning the shell is different for in-the-ear and behind-the-ear hearing aids. For in-the-ear aids, wax is the most likely culprit for build-up on the bends of the shell. For behind-the-ear aids, dirt and oil will build up in the grooves and fissures. Wax, dirt and oil will can cause a hearing aid to become dislodged and not fit properly, be uncomfortable in the ear or cause issues with volume and other controls.

Never use a wet cloth or chemical cleaner on your hearing aid. Use a tissue to wipe the aid down. For stubborn wax, use your hearing aid brush to pick at and sweep debris away.

The receiver is the hole located in the shell of the hearing aid with the rubber tube around it. The tube directs sound from the speaker to the ear. Insert a wax pick into the opening of the receiver to scoop out any earwax built up in the hole. Be gentle while cleaning out the receiver as too much force may cause damage.

Recall that hearing aids require professional maintenance twice a year. If you were still unable to protect your hearing aids at the beach and are experiencing static or feedback, contact your hearing healthcare professional for additional support.