How I Replace An Old Hearing Aid Tube (Pictures Included)

I often come across yellow, stiff, and brittle *BTE hearing aid tubes with my students. Yesterday, a student complained to me that her hearing aid was hurting her. Sure enough, her tube was yellow, stiff, and hard. It was time for it to be replaced with a new one.

Hearing aid tubes should be clear and soft. They often need to be replaced. I replace mine every three-four months.

When the tube becomes hard and stiff, it shrinks, causing pain and discomfort to the ear. It can be really painful, I don't like it. It can be so bad, that I would prefer to go without my hearing aid. It is as if someone is pinching the top part of your ear really, really hard. Ouch.

It is important to change your hearing aid tubes as soon as the tubes get hard and stiff. You can learn to do this yourself. Depending on where you are, a pack of tubes can cost as little as $1.00. Some places give them away for free. If you have a child who wears BTE hearing aids, and he or she has an itinerant teacher or teacher of the deaf, ask them to do it or show you how to do it, that is if they know how to.

I have looked online for video demonstrations or step by step instructions on how to change or replace a tube, but have been unsuccessful in finding any good ones. I found several written instructions, but I prefer to have a visual guide. Because of this, I decided to make my own demonstration of how I change my tube and will post it below, using pictures.

What you need:
  •  BTE hearing aid
  • New hearing aid tubes or preformed tubes for your hearing aid
  • Pair of scissors


 First, I get a new tube.


 Then I take off the ear mold. I gently wriggle it off.

 Then I take the old tube off. Again, I gently wriggle it off.


 Look at how stiff, old, and yucky my old tube looks.

 Next, I line up the new tube with the old one. I am measuring and would like to cut the new tube to be slightly longer than the old tube. Sometimes I have to cut it again to a shorter length; make some adjustments here and there (if the hearing aid "flops" due to the tube being too long).

 I cut off one side of the new tube.


 Then I cut off the other side of the new tube.


 I wriggle the new tube back onto the hearing aid.

 Then, I wriggle the ear mold back on.

 I try it on, to make it fit just right. Sometimes it needs another adjustment. 

Just right! Much better!


Hope this helps. 

* BTE - Behind-the-Ears

(e

34 comments:

  1. Great post. I'm sure many people will find this useful.

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  2. Neat! I usually just have my audiologist change the tubes, but this is helpful to know. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Great, thank you! My audiologist does this for me anytime I stop in. My new aids are BTE but have a different design so it would be more difficult for me to do it. But thanks! I love tutorials :)

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  4. This is a great post. I always managed to put the tube in wrong. Always! When I first got my aids my mom would always pull them out from the tube, which caused it to slide out over time, and eventually come out all the way. No one had bothered to explain how to change the tubing to my mom (or that it was replacable) so she was horrified that she broke some brand new hearing aids. I think parents who are just starting out with their kids hearing aids should get a copy of this post.

    By the way, I posted an article about a deaf special ed teacher and discrimination. Would be interested to hear you input!

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  5. Wow, thanks PinkLAM! I am considered printing this post out and giving it to the parents.

    I am always surprised at how no one ever bother to tell parents and hearing aid users how they can and need to often change the tubes.

    Earlier, I saw and read your post about the teacher. Very interesting! I am still trying to gather more information on what happened to comment about it. I'll will be leaving a response soon, once I know more about it. Really interesting post. If no one has read it yet, go check it out.

    (e

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  6. I am learning how to do this myself and your post is very helpful- thanks! :)

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  7. You are welcome! Glad this helps!

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  8. http://www.CustomEarmold.com

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  9. This little tutorial is so good. I can share this post to all my friends who uses bte hearing aids. I am sure this is going to be a big help.

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  10. I really appreciate your post and you explain each and every point very well.Thanks for sharing this information.And I’ll love to read your next post too.

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  11. I am new in using hearing aids and this kind of tutorial is very important to me. This going to be a big help for me and my hearing aid. Thank you for sharing this.

    Hearing Exam Leander TX

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  12. I ordered my siemans Touching digital BHE on the intenet.How do I measure the new tube so that it is the right lentgh?

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  13. You may be missing one important point. The end of the tube that goes into the ear mold is sliced an angle. This makes it easy to insert. When the tube is in the hole, slide ear mold to proper position and than cut the tube off. Much easier than trying to insert blunt end into the small hole. Try it, you will like it.

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  14. Thanks, YoYo. I will try this and repost this page using more of a sliced angle, if it proves to be much easier, which I am sure it will.

    Thanks!

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  15. Thanks! I have a 4 yr old w/ moderate-severe bilateral sensorineural loss, and he's had aids since he was 8 mos old (yay, newborn hearing screening!). Anyway, I had no idea the tubes had to be changed that often, or that I could get them in separate packs w/o getting new molds. This was really helpful - thanks! g

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  16. Hi it is great to have pictures to show you how to change the tubing on the moulds but I want to ask one question. If you cut the new tube to the size of the old tube as in picture8 dont you find that the tube is far to short and it makes your ear sore? The old tube that you have taken out has gotten old and dried and strunk. If you cut the new one to this size it will cause huge problems with the hearing aid digging into the ear as it will be far to short. This will be ok for adults they will know from the pain but young children and babies will not be able to explain this. Children's ears also grow meaning they can be different sizes every 6-9months. It is far better to feed the tubing into the mould let it long and cut it to size at the aid.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, good point! Typically the new tube will be slightly longer than the old shriveled up tube. They do shrink. It can take some time to find the right length. Too long--it will flop off. Too short - may be uncomfortable.

      Thanks!

      Delete
  17. Wonderful post! I looked all over for a place to get the tube a number of years ago in a new city far from where I got my hearing aids. All the places we could find had the in the ear hearing aids, and no one knew what to with the tube. I finally found a little place that had a lot of old tubes in the back room. "At last", I thought to myself. Do you know what the audiologist did? She glued - GLUED - the tube to the mold. How was I to clean the mold, etc. like that. The water got into the tube and didn't evaporate from the curves overnight.
    Now that we're in a new area, I have to find where to get those again. :-)

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  18. Yes Audiologist will gule in the tubing. They also come from the manufactures like this! This stops children and young babies from pulling out the tubing if they take the mould out of their ear/ears. I still put a bit of super glue in my own mould when changing the tubing and also in my young son's it just the way I am used to now for the last 30 years. You can get a puffer to blow out any water from the moulds after washing them and you can get a dry box that will remove moisture from the aid and mould overnight.

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  19. I can't figure out how to "wiggle" the tube back in. It's too soft to push. Help!

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  20. Great Post, another method to replace the tube is in this video.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9E9Sw6Qp2aA

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  21. Nice effort, very informative, this will help me to complete my task

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  22. great help. maybe you can answer a question. getting feedback noise in aid. any ideas?

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    Replies
    1. I am not sure. First you have to find out why you are getting feedback. Perhaps it is the microphone or maybe it is the tube or earmold that needs to be fixed or adjusted.

      This is a question for your audiologist or hearing aid dispenser.

      Hope you get it fixed soon. Feedback noise is annoying.

      Good luck,

      (e

      Delete
  23. How does one remove a tube from the ear mold when it has been glued in?

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  24. Hi the glue wears off very quickly as it is plastic on silicone. The glue on my moulds never last more than a few months without wearing off. So I would think that if you wet the mould and soaked it in water the glue would loosen and the tube would come out quite easily if you pull it.

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  25. Great post! I think my audiologist cut the tubing too short. It really hurts! I've been wearing a BTE aid for over 5 years and it's never hurt like this. I have an appointment tomorrow to get it fixed. It's good to know that I can change it myself. I'll look into purchase some as backups. Thanks!

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  26. Good post. I have two questions for you.

    I took the tube out of the ear mold, and had a lot of trouble getting it back in because the canal it goes into takes a 90 degree bend. I eventually used a toothpick to force it in, but it chewed up the tube a bit. Any suggestions for an easier, less destructive way to get it back in next time?

    I can't get the tube to easily come off the hearing aid (at the dome end), and I am afraid of breaking it. Any suggestions? Thanks.

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    Replies
    1. I heard of some people heating up the tube area (where you want to connect) with a hair dryer to 'loosen' it up--by making it more pliable.

      I don't know if this would work with the type of hearing aid tube you have. Please ask a professional before trying.

      Best of luck to you! Please let us know if you found a solution.

      Delete
  27. Where can I get this tubing? Do you stock it, if so, how do I order it from you?? Also, how do you "bend" the tubing to fit
    the old mold?
    Thanks

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    Replies
    1. You can buy "preformed tubes" from Amazon, Ebay, or online catalogs selling hearing aid tubes/tubing. Ask your audiologist or hearing aid dispenser about what kind to get and what size.

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  28. Audiologists often use a tool that is a lot like a needle threader, only bigger, to put through the mold from the in the ear side, grab the tubing on the angle cut end, and pull it through. It is called a tube puller. Then you pull the tube through a little further than you need, cut, and then pull back. Definitely do not cut the slant until after you have put the tube through however you do it. Always cut a little longer than you think you will need. It is easier to cut more off than add back on!

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  29. Good evening
    I would like to ask if someone knows how the procedure is done to fold the tube?

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