Just like any electronic device a hearing aid can malfunction or stop working for a number of reasons. While most issues can be solved with a good cleaning, occasionally the hearing aid will need to be seen by your hearing care provider or by HearStore for special repairs. Before you head to your hearing specialist's office or call in, here are some problems you can troubleshoot at home.
Problem: Hearing Aid Whistling or Howling When Inserted
Troubleshooting: Usually this means your hearing aid has not been inserted properly. Take it out and try inserting it again. If you're wearing a scarf or hat try removing them, they can obstruct sound and make it bounce back into your hearing aid causing the feedback. If the problem persists the size or shape of your ear canal may have changed or you have accumulated earwax that is causing the hearing aid to not fit snugly anymore. Have a doctor check your ear canal.
Problem: Hearing Aid Is Working, but the Sound Is Distorted or Very Low
Troubleshooting: Many times if the sound coming from your hearing aid just doesn't sound right, it is because the device is dirty. Get out your cleaning kit, replace the filter and tubing and gently brush the microphone and speaker to try and clear out any wax and debris that could be causing a blockage. Another place that may need to be cleaned periodically is the battery compartment. Carefully use a cotton swab to wipe the battery contacts, taking care not to bend them. You can also swab the battery to ensure it is clean.
You should also check for built up moisture. If you have a hearing aid with a receiver tube you will be able to see condensation in the tube. If so, place your device in a dehumidifier box or drying kit for a few hours and see if that helps.
Finally, distorted sound may also be a sign that your hearing aid battery is dying. Try changing the battery.
Problem: Hearing Aid Is on, but I Hear No Sound
Troubleshooting: First check the volume control (if applicable) to ensure you didn't turn it down on accident. Also, if your hearing aid has the t-coil option check to see that the switch is turned off. T-coils are designed to bypass the microphone, but if there is no t-coil present you won't hear anything. If these issues are not the problem follow the above steps for troubleshooting a hearing aid with distorted sound before taking it in to your hearing specialist.
Problem: Hearing Aid Is Dead
Troubleshooting: Replace the battery, even if you just changed the battery 5 minutes earlier, try another new one. Sometimes you can get a bad batch of batteries and they won't power your hearing aid properly. We recommend trying a battery from a totally fresh pack just to be safe. It may sound silly, but you should double check that you are using the proper battery size, that you removed the plastic backing and that it is inserted into the battery compartment properly. Also check for corrosion on the battery or in the battery contact area. If you see corrosion use a cotton swab to gently wipe the compartment clean.
Problem: Short Battery Life
Troubleshooting: The main reason you get shortened battery life, is simply a bad pack of batteries, but there are a few things you can do to make sure you get the most out of each one. Anytime the hearing aid is not being used, it should be turned off, placed in a safe spot and left with the battery door open. This minimizes battery drain and allows moisture to escape, which will keep the battery from corroding and damaging your hearing aid. Always store hearing aid batteries at normal room temperature. And finally, follow the new 5-Minute Rule: let the battery sit with the plastic sticker removed for 5 minutes before you insert it into your hearing aid. This allows the battery to fully activate and is said to increase battery life by as much as 85%.
Hopefully following these easy troubleshooting tips helps with your minor hearing aid troubles. If you are still having issues call your hearing specialist and make an appointment to have your hearing aid looked at. The specialist may be able to repair your device in office and send you home with it that day. In the event the hearing aid requires a more complex repair it will have to be sent back to the manufacturer.
Cleaning Your Hearing Aid
Cleaning your hearing aid is almost as important as your hearing itself. The dirtier you allow your hearing aid to get the less effective it will be in helping you hear.
In order to keep the small circuitry inside your hearing aid in good working condition you should clean the hearing aid on a regular basis. A proper cleaning should not take much time, but does require some delicacy. Cleaning your hearing aid regularly will prolong the life of the hearing aid, ensure you are hearing your best and protect you from ear infections.
Most of the hearing aids important components are located within the shell, protecting the tiny computer from daily wear and tear. However, the microphone, ports, vents and crevices can become clogged with earwax, hair, dirt and anything else small enough to fit inside your ear.
It is good practice to quickly look over your device each day when you put it on to make sure there is no visible wax or debris. Earwax is the most common cleanliness problem with hearing aids. Some people produce more earwax than others and in turn will have to clean their hearing aids more often. Depending on the make and model of your hearing aid the cleaning process will differ, but generally speaking always be sure your hands are clean and dry and utilize a soft cloth with an approved cleaning agent. Remember it is an electronic device, so it should not get wet. Do not attempt to clean you hearing aid with water or let the device become too saturated with a cleaning agent. Some hearing aids will require the use of cleaning tools, like a small brush to get into hard to reach places.
It is important to use the cleaning tools and supplies provided or approved by your hearing instrument specialist. When you purchase your device at a trustworthy hearing aid provider the specialist will teach you how to clean your hearing aid. They should also provide regular maintenance visit a few times a year at no charge. These visit allow the specialist to deep clean your device with a specially designed hearing aid vacuum and ensure that the device is in proper working order and you are hearing your best.
Though you should take certain precautions, cleaning your hearing aid is not difficult and should not take much of your time. Spending a few minutes a day cleaning your device could save you thousands in costly repairs in the long run.