The hearing aid is a thrilling innovation that restores vibrancy to your life. When you turn one on for the first time, the world comes alive with a symphony of sounds you’ve been longing to hear. Audiology specialists are privileged to take part in this life-changing restoration. But like with any new device, there can be an adjustment period. Just as you need to have new glasses tightened or a new brace snugly fitted, hearing aids can require a bit of tweaking. It’s important to purchase hearing aids from an audiology specialist who provides you with a high level of aftercare, to make sure you adjust comfortably. The audiology specialists at Clarity Hearing are passionate about perfecting your quality of sound, so we’ve compiled four of the most common problems with hearing aids, and solutions to quickly address them.
1. No Sound
When you put in a hearing aid, the last thing you expect to hear is nothing. Luckily, there are some simple reasons why this might occur, and easy solutions you can try at home. Here are a few things to check.
- Make sure it’s turned on- This is an easy mistake to make, as you’re getting used to wearing hearing aids. Not only can you forget to turn it on, but it can also get switched off by accident while you’re moving it around. Double-check that it’s turned on and give it another try.
- Adjust the volume- Play around with different volumes to find your ideal setting. Then make sure your volume didn’t get switched to a lower setting when you were putting it in.
- Clean the tube- Make sure there’s nothing clogging the receiver tube, and follow manufacturer’s instructions to clean it out if it is, or stop by and let us help.
- Do a mic check- Examine the microphone to make sure ear wax or other particles aren’t blocking it from delivering quality sound.
- Test the battery- Check to be sure the battery door is closed properly, to make sure the battery isn’t loose or upside down. If all else fails, try a new battery in case the current one’s out of juice.
2. Uncomfortable Sounds
This can vary from too loud, to too soft, to distorted or inconsistent and choppy. If the volume is uncomfortable, start by changing the setting. Today’s hearing devices can be digitally programmed or remote controlled to minimize frequent volume adjustments. But if the volume is up and settings are correct, and your sound still keeps cutting in and out, try these quick fixes.
- Rotate controls- Dust or lint can accumulate in controls, so switch them up to get rid of debris, then reset them to your preferences.
- Check for corrosion- Moisture can corrode a battery or otherwise distort the sound, which can be treated with a dehumidifier. When your hearing aid is fitted properly by an audiologist, everyday moisture isn’t cause for concern, which alleviates this risk.
- Reset the program- Sometimes the setting or program can get switched to the wrong one, so check that you’re in the right mode.
- Recheck your hearing- If you’ve been using your hearing aids for a while and the sound quality changes, it may be time to have your hearing rechecked to see if your needs have changed.
3. Whistling and Feedback
Sometimes hearing aids emit a whistling or squealing sound, especially when something is rubbed against them. This sound is essentially the amplification of their own operating sounds and can be startling and uncomfortable. Here are a few tips to avoid this unnecessary disturbance.
- Don’t turn it on until it’s in- The friction of handling your device can create this unpleasant sound, so leave it turned off until it’s in your ear. Other items like scarves or clothing can also rub against the device and create feedback, so adjust any accessories near the device.
- Remove and replace it- If it’s still whistling when you have it in, take it out and try again. It may have been misaligned or placed at an angle that increases feedback. Keep your head really still while you put it in place, since movement can create whistling before it’s secure.
- Reduce the volume- Try lowering the volume to see if the issue was a surplus of sound passing through.
- Check for cracks- The tubing or ear hook can sustain a crack that would create an uncomfortable sound. Check for cracks or have your audiology specialist determine if any parts need replacing.
- Examine the fit- If your hearing aid wasn’t fitted by an audiology specialist, there’s a chance it’s the wrong size. There may also be a better shape for your ear that will reduce the frustrating feedback.
4. Uncomfortable Fit
Having something new in your ear takes a little getting used to. At first it may even feel bulky, despite its diminutive size. But hearing aids are now so small and discrete, they should never prevent you from maintaining a full and active life. Just like with glasses or contacts, if you don’t adjust to the feel of your hearing aid fairly quickly, you may want to try a new size or shape. Take a look at some common comfort concerns and their solutions.
- Sleeping discomfort- Many people wonder what to do with their hearing aids when they sleep. They are concerned that they might be uncomfortable to sleep in, but worry about missing important sounds like the dog or an intruder at night. We offer hearing aids suitable for 24/7 wear and can help you select the device that’s right for you, even customizing your sleep settings.
- Stuffy ears- It’s normal for some people to experience mild headaches or the feeling of plugged ears as you adjust to your new hearing aids. But if your headaches persist, your audiologist can check to be sure they are fitted properly and the settings aren’t too loud for your initial adjustment. Sometimes it’s helpful to reduce the power for a bit to give you time to absorb all the new sounds.
- Not staying in place- Keep your ears clear of moisture and wax that can make for a slippery surface. Make sure you have inserted them correctly, and stop by our office if you need assistance. If they consistently feel uncomfortable in your ear, they may be too large or too small. We offer many different shapes and sizes, and will help you find the perfect fit.
Acquiring new hearing aids is an exciting time, full of life-changing potential. But for most patients, there’s a bit of apprehension as they adjust to the new features. Having a trusted audiology specialist by your side is a valuable asset as you acclimate to your device. Unlike devices you buy online or off the shelf, Clarity Hearing’s hearing aids come with expert aftercare to ensure a smooth transition to your new way of life. We are always here to help, and we aren’t satisfied until you’re hearing exactly the way you want to. Give us a call or stop by to learn more about solving common hearing aid issues.
Scott Marquardt is the owner of Clarity Hearing and a highly skilled audiologist who has been in practice for over 20 years. Dr. Marquardt earned a master’s degree in audiology from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, and a doctorate from A.T. Still University. He is a member of the American Speech Language Hearing Association and a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology. He and the team offer comprehensive hearing healthcare services and specialize in the care of tinnitus, imbalance, and auditory processing disorders.