As a nation, we are one of the biggest consumers of hearing aids in the world, with over 12% (38 million) of the US population having some sort of significant hearing loss.
When you’ve taken the right steps to prevent hearing loss from impacting on your day-to day-life by purchasing hearing aids, it’s no wonder then that when things don’t go quite to plan, you can get easily frustrated.
Well, stress no more, as we’ve listed four of the most common user issues with hearing aids along with quick and easy fixes for all of them.
(Please note, to be on the safe side, some hearing aid issues are best treated by your Audiologist, so, if you try any or all of the below and your problem is still there, that’s your cue.)
Common Hearing Aid Problem #1
“My hearing aids aren’t producing any sound.”
Don’t panic – there are usually many reasons for this all of which don’t imply that the hearing aids are faulty. Here’s what you can do:
- Are you confident it’s turned on?Most commonly, hearing aids are powered by closing the battery door. If it won’t close easily, the battery could be upside down. Take it out, flip it, and insert it again; if it’s placed in properly, the door will close like a dream.
- Could the sound be on mute?Try turning up the volume with your manual control.
- Could wax be blocking the sound?Visually inspect the hearing aid and see for yourself. The likelihood is that it’ll be on the microphone opening or sound outlet. If it is, simply wipe away the debris – problem solved.
- Perhaps the battery’s dead?If you have a hearing aid battery tester, check the voltage of the old battery to confirm it’s dead before inserting a new one.
- Are you on the wrong setting?Toggle between programs or memories. If you have a button to change settings, press it and listen to see if that makes a difference.
If you try all of the above and the problem persists, it’s time to call in a professional …
Contact your hearing center for further assistance.
They may have walk-in hours or same-day appointments for troubleshooting and hearing aid repair. Depending on what make your hearing aids are, taking them in for repair could give you an extra year-long warranty.
Common Hearing Aid Problem #2
“My hearing aids aren’t loud enough.”
There is usually a perfectly simple explanation for this, so have a read of the below and try out the pointers – you should be back up and running in no time.
- Best check the volume first – it could be that the volume is turned all the way down. If you have a manual control, simply crank it up.
- Could it be the wax again? Take the hearing aids out and have a look. If there’s wax on the microphone opening or sound outlet, simply wipe it away. Alternatively, if your hearing aid has an earmold and tubing, have a look to make sure there are no cracks, blockages, or beads of moisture. (FYI, if you notice anything wrong with the tubing, contact your hearing center right away.)
- Could you be on the wrong setting? You may have accidentally switched to a different program!
- It’s possible your hearing may have changed. If it’s been a while since your last hearing evaluation, you may need to schedule a check-up with your hearing care practitioner – more often than not, they’ll be able to adjust your hearing aids without the expense of buying new ones.
Common Hearing Aid Problem #3
“My hearing aids sound distorted.”
Ninety-nine percent of the time, this issue can be fixed with a flick of a switch. Try these troubleshooting remedies for immediate relief.
- Could the batteries be corroded? If so, it’s time to replace them.
- Could there be another issue with the battery? It’s very possible the battery’s contacts, which are the little metal prongs that connect with the battery when the door is closed, are corroded too. If they are, open and close the battery compartment several times to clean the contacts. Then replace the battery and see if the sound has improved. Your hearing care professional can also clean the battery contacts for you. Do they appear to make contact with the battery? If they are oriented appropriately, you may feel a bit of drag when you open the battery door or see scratches on the surface of a used battery.
- Could you be on the wrong setting? It’s very likely you’ve accidentally switched to the telecoil setting!
- Perhaps the device is damaged? If you’re not a professional audiologist, it’s best to give this task to an expert, as you could damage the device further. Walk-in hours or same-day appointments are available for you whenever you need them.
Common Hearing Aid Problem #4
“My hearing aids are ‘whistling’ or producing feedback.”
How annoying for you. Try one of these three remedies right now to stop it.
- Are they inserted properly? If the hearing aids are whistling while in your ears, remove them and try re-inserting them. That should do the trick.
- Could they be turned up a notch too loud? If the hearing aids are properly inserted and they stop whistling when you turn down the volume, there may be too much sound leaking out through the vent or around the earmold. If the problem persists, you may need to have the fit adjusted by your hearing care professional.
- You might have too much wax. If you think your ear canals may be blocked with earwax, see your hearing care professional or physician to have your ears cleaned thoroughly. This blockage could be causing feedback in two ways: You turn up the volume higher than normal so you can hear through the wax, leaking out more sound than usual, and sound can bounce off any blockage in your ear canal and leak back out.
Your hearing aids are your gateway to enjoying a fuller, more engaged life, so if you start to have problems with them, it’s only right you get them sorted out right away. After all, devices designed to enhance comfort should never cause too much stress!
If you resonate with any of the problems above, have tried our easy-to-fix remedies and the issue still persists, then it’s time you asked for help from your audiologist.
We have a team of friendly professionals who are all too ready to help remove the discomfort and annoyance of wayward hearing aids – just contact your local center today or, email us at [email protected]
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.