Ultrasonic Cleaners

Audiologists rely on the use of ultrasonic machines  to clean or disinfectobjects that can be  immersed in a liquid solution.  Items to be cleaned are placed in the solution residing in the ultrasonic tank. The tank is then turned on to activate the ultrasonic cleaning mechanism. Ultrasonic waves cavitate the solution, creating the solution’s scrubbing action and giving it the ability to clean debris from surfaces and crevices.

A variety of ultrasonic machines are commercially available, each varying slightly in design and price.  In general, as the quality and feature offerings of the unit increase, so will the product price.  Every ultrasonic machine will ultimately clean or disinfect objects; the choice ends up being a matter of preference although recognizing the difference between several popular models is useful in making an informed decision. For example, GemOro offers a wide range of ultrasonic machines through Oaktree Products including the following four popular models: 1) Sparkle Spa (item #1780), 2) Ultrasonic Cleaner (item #1785), 3) Heated Ultrasonic Cleaner (item #1787), and 4) the new Sparkle Spa Pro (item #1790).  Each model is equipped with an automatic shut off feature and mainly differ as a function of tank size along with a few other bells and whistles.  For example, the tank capacity of the Sparkle Spa (#1780) is 16 oz (1 pint) whereas the GemOro Ultrasonic Cleaner (#1785)  and Heated Ultrasonic Cleaner (#1787) models maintain 1.2 quart (~38.4 oz) and 2.6 quart (~84 oz) capacities respectively.  The 25 oz tank capacity of the newest Sparkle Spa Pro (#1790) is larger than the original Sparkle Spa but smaller than the other two mentioned models.

In terms of features, the Sparkle Spa (#1780) is essentially a one button push-to-start model that provides a 3 minutes (180 second) cleaning cycle that will automatically shut off when the cycle is complete.  If additional cleaning is needed, it will be necessary to push the ON button again to start another three minute cycle.  In contrast, the other three models are all equipped with digital timers that provide a menu choice of five cleaning cycles of either 90, 180, 280, 380, or 480 seconds.  As the name suggests, the Heated Ultrasonic Cleaner (#1787) is unique from all the other models in that it has a digital control heater that enables users to warm up the ultrasonic solution residing in the tank to a maximum temperature of 149 degrees Farenheit (65C). Heated solution will enhance the utrasonic’s cleaning ability. A popular solution used in the hearing industry is Audiologist’s Choice Ultrasonic Cleaner.

About AU Bankaitis

A.U. Bankaitis, PhD is a clinical Audiologist with extensive clinical, research, and business experience within the hearing industry. Dr. Bankaitis created this blog to educate her colleagues on viable product solutions for their patients and/or clinical practice.
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16 Responses to Ultrasonic Cleaners

  1. Lana Kelley says:

    I know it say’s no need to rinse, but I have seen green residue if I don’t rinse after use. What is your recommendation?

    • AU Bankaitis says:

      there is no harm in rinsing after removal from the ultrasonic machine. I would make sure that you are using the correct liquid to water ratio as the Audiologist Choice product is a concentrate that you need to mix with water….let me know if you need more information

  2. Jean Karg says:

    Hi Dr. Bankaitis
    In my clinic, a question concerning the reuse of fluid in the ultra sonic cleaner. Typically it is used to clean patient’s earmolds during tubing change as well as semi critical items. We do not reuse speculas or immittance tips. How often should the fluid be changed? Thanks, Jean

    • aubankaitis says:

      Ultra-sonic solution must be replenished with fresh solution “as needed”. Typically, the replenishment of solution occurs when the ultrasonic cleaner initially appears murky. In the event you do not want to rely on professional discretion to make that decision, it is acceptable to change the solution out every 15 to 30 days (or sooner if the solution is no longer clear). Sounds vague….but essentially, when no longer clear, change it out. When in doubt if it is clear or murky, change it out. Thanks for your question. I hope it helps

  3. We love our ultrasonic cleaner. Thanks A.U.

  4. Carol Ross, AuD, CCC-A says:

    Thanks for your response Dr. Bankaitis!

    • aubankaitis says:

      Any time Dr. Ross; don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have additional questions.

      • Dr. Bankaitis – a question has come up in my clinic about whether or not a log needs to be kept for the ultrasonic cleaner. Do you know what the recommended practice is? We have never kept a log in the past, but should we start? We use Audiologist’s Choice. Thank you! Lea Georgantas, AuD

        • aubankaitis says:

          Hi Lea:
          sorry for the delay in the response; I was out of the country with limited access to the internet. GREAT question (and I like the way you think!) RE: a log for the ultrasonic, there is no requirement, per se, however it is probably good practice to have something that can log when the cleaner needs to be replenished. If you have the Audiologist Choice 3-part soaking tray, it has a counter on the actual tray which would elimiante the need for a log. If you don’t, I suggest coming up with a very simply log that indicates when the new cleaner was put in (with a space for the person to initial it) and then to put in the date that the stuff needs to be dumped and replenished. Hope this helps.

  5. Carol Ross, AuD, CCC-A says:

    oops, “Per ‘your’ recent presentation…” clr

  6. Carol Ross, AuD, CCC-A says:

    Dr. Bankaitis, We have routinely used Audiologist’s Choice and an ultra-sonic cleaner to disinfect our probe tips. Per you recent presentation at AAA, should we instead be utilizing cold sterilization due to the risk of blood particles in the wax or did I misunderstand?

    • aubankaitis says:

      Hi Carol:
      technically probe tips are considered critical instruments because they meet the definition of coming in contact with bodily fluids (cerumen, ear drainage, etc) and, therefore, must be sterilized prior to reuse. There are many disposable probe tips available; however, for those that are reusable, first clean (which you can do using ultrasonic cleaner in an ultrasonic machine) and then place the probe tips in a cold sterilant residing it its own separate tray. Never place a sterilant in the ultrasonic machine as that chemical is not intended to under cavitation. I hope this answers your question.

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