As with most electronic devices, it’s not uncommon for hearing aids to experience the occasional glitch. Luckily, most problems can be resolved at home by simply going through a short checklist of actions. We’ve listed some of the common issues that hearing aid users run into below.
Knowing how to fix easy problems on your own can save you time and the hassle of going down to the repair shop. It also lets you know when making that trip is truly necessary. If none of the suggestions below help resolve your issue, reach out to your hearing professional to get your hearing aids back in working order (and be sure to ask about “loaners” while you wait).
Weak Sound or No Sound
- Is it on? Begin by confirming that the hearing aid is indeed switched “on.”
- Is the volume up? Be sure that the volume control (if there is one) is turned up loud enough for you to hear.
- Is the battery working? Open the battery door and make sure that the battery is facing the right way (with the positive sign showing). If you have a battery tester, use it to confirm that the battery still has power left. Otherwise, put a fresh battery in the hearing aid to see if the other battery was the cause of the diminished sound.
- Is it blocked? Look at the microphone and all openings and vents to check for any debris or earwax that may be lodged inside. If this is the case, use the brush in your tool kit to remove the clog, being careful not to accidentally push the debris further into the openings.
- Is it connected? Check to ensure that the tubing (in a standard BTE hearing aid) is connected properly and without any bends or kinks in it.
Spotty or Distorted Sounds
- Is it dry? Begin by making sure your hearing aid is completely dry. Check the battery compartment, as well as inside the tubing (for a standard BTE hearing aid). If you do see or suspect any moisture, use an air blower (available from your hearing professional or in your tool kit) or tube blower, and place your hearing aid in a dry kit until moisture is gone.
- Is it solid? If wearing a BTE hearing aid, take a look at the tubing to ensure that it does not have any cracks or holes. If you do see any wear or damage on the tubes, contact your hearing professional to arrange a repair.
- Is it powered? Try replacing the batteries (or testing the batteries if you have a battery tester), to see if weak batteries are the cause.
Whistling or Squealing Sounds
- Is it too high? Take a look at the volume control to see if it is mistakenly turned up too high.
- Is it snug? Pull your earmolds in and out to ensure that they are seated properly and snug in your ear canal. A crooked earmold in the canal can allow air in and distort the sound.
- Is it clear? Using two mirrors, check to see if any ear wax has built up in your ear canal. You will not be able to see very far, and will need your hearing professional to see your entire canal, but a quick check in the mirror can help you decide if ear wax build-up might be causing the feedback sounds you’re hearing.
- Is it muffled? Check that the microphone is not being brushed or covered by a scarf, collar, or hat.
Short Battery Life
- Is it closed? Make sure to leave the battery door open while not wearing your hearing aids to prevent the batteries from being unnecessarily drained.
- Is it defective? Some batteries can actually be weak due to their own defects, so it’s important to rely on a brand you trust or that your hearing aid professional recommends. If you suspect a possible defective battery, either test it on a battery tester or switch out the battery for a fresh one to compare its charge. Decent batteries should last between 1-2 weeks of consistent daytime use.
- Is it the hearing aid? Rarely, excessive draw on batteries can turn out to be the result of a defect in the hearing aid itself. If you have gone through several different brands of batteries, and are careful to open the battery door when not wearing the hearing aids, you should contact your hearing aid dispenser to schedule a time for them to check your hearing aids for defects.