Common Hearing Aid Problems & How to Fix Them

In Care & Maintenance, Hearing Aids, Hearing Health by Bary E. Williams Au.D.

To the millions of people who rely on them every day, at work, at home, and out and about, hearing aids are as essential as glasses. Imagine losing your glasses in the middle of an important work meeting, your child’s piano recital, on a busy street corner, or in the middle of a serious conversation with a loved one. It can be just as distracting and disabling when a hearing aid suddenly malfunctions, and it is vital to be able to quickly identify and troubleshoot problems if they arise.

Here are five of the most common user issues with hearing aids and some simple solutions to get them working properly again. If you find that you aren’t able to fix your hearing aid yourself, visit us at Exceptional Hearing Care for further maintenance.

1) My hearing aid is dead

There are a few reasons that a hearing aid might stop producing any sound. A “dead” hearing aid could signal a worn-out battery, a battery that is incorrectly placed (upside down), a clogged sound outlet or microphone opening, a low volume setting, or a damaged device.

First, check that your hearing device is turned on and that the battery is correctly placed. If you find the battery is dead, replacing it will solve the issue (or recharging if you have a rechargeable battery). Next, make sure the volume setting on your aid hasn’t been accidentally turned all the way down. If these steps fail to solve the problems, carefully inspect the hearing aid, microphone, and tubing for any blockage and clean the device. If you think your hearing aid might be damaged, visit us for professional maintenance.

2) My hearing aid is not loud enough

A lack of sufficient volume in your hearing aid could indicate a number of things. If your device has a manual volume control, check to make sure it is not turned all the way down. Inspect the tubing of your aid for cracks, moisture, or blockages, and contact your hearing center if you need assistance replacing the tubing. Next, try switching between different programs or memory settings, as you might have accidentally set the aid on the wrong program. Lastly, consider scheduling a hearing evaluation to make sure that your hearing loss hasn’t changed. Our team at Exceptional Hearing Care provides comprehensive hearing exams and will be able to make adjustments to the aid if you find you have new hearing requirements.

3) The sound from my hearing aid is distorted or unclear

A battery issue, or a problem with the hearing aid itself, is often the source of distorted or unclear sound coming from a hearing aid. Take out your battery and visually inspect it; if it appears corroded, replace it with a new one. The issue could also be caused by dirty or corroded battery contacts (the little metal prongs that connect with the battery when the door is closed). If they seem damaged or dirty, clean them carefully, replace the battery, and check if the sound has improved. Our team at Exceptional Hearing Care provides thorough cleanings, including the battery contacts. If your device itself appears to be damaged, contact us for further maintenance.

4) My hearing aid is whistling or producing feedback

If a shrieking sound like nails on a chalkboard starts coming from your hearing aid, something is wrong and needs to be adjusted. The advanced digital hearing devices on the market today typically come with automatic feedback suppression built in, but feedback can still occur in some cases, if a device is fitted incorrectly.

First, remove your hearing devices and try re-inserting them, and check for an improvement. If your aids are correctly inserted and stop whistling when you turn down the volume, there may be a problem with the fit—in this case, you should take your device in to your hearing care professional for a fit adjustment. A buildup of earwax in the ear canal can also lead to feedback: as you turn up the volume higher than normal so you can hear through the wax, more sound leaks out than usual and can bounce off the blockage, creating reverberations.

Visit Us at Exceptional Hearing Care

Hearing aids are incredibly powerful devices that should seamlessly fit into your life and provide a natural listening experience. If you’ve been experiencing on-going issues with your hearing aids, contact us today. For all of your hearing aid maintenance and repair needs, visit our team at Exceptional Hearing Care.

Bary E. Williams Au.D.
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