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5 Common Hearing Aid Problems and How To Fix It

Published On: 25th May 2018
Last Updated On: 26th May 2018

5 Common Hearing Aid Problems and How To Fix It

You know that feeling when you open the water tap, and there’s no water, or the power goes out for no reason? What happened? What’s wrong? It worked just a few seconds ago… How am I going to…That surprised, helplessness, not knowing what caused this crisis, is how someone with hearing loss feels when there is a problem with the sound amplified through the hearing aids.

When there’s a sudden change in how the hearing aids work, the experience is worse than standing under the shower covered with soap and no running water. It’s like receiving this wonderful gift, and after using it for a while, a thief comes and grabs it from you, and you’re without it. You experience this terrible loss, and you’d like the gift back because life was so much better with it.

In the same way that the power can come back on or you can finish your shower without needing a plumber or electrician, you can easily fix certain hearing aids problems. It may feel like a major crisis, but the hearing aids don’t always need to be sent for repairs. Often it is a simple adjustment you can do at home to fix the problem.

Next time, before you send the hearing aid for repairs, try these simple steps and see if it solves the issue.

There are five common hearing aid problems. These issues are common because it happens to almost every hearing aid wearer and will happen to you too…and more than once. In the same manner that you check your car’s fuel and oil, have the windscreen washed, and pump the tires, your hearing aids have signs that you can watch out for and quick fix.

The first time you experience these hearing aid problems, you may be caught by surprise. By following the checklists below, you can watch out for these signs. Next time, when one of these issues occur, you won’t be caught unawares; you’ll be ready with your checklist. You’ll know what to do, how to fix the problem.

No Sound! Hearing Aid is Dead

You shampooed your hair, and there’s no water coming out of the tap…

You’re cooking dinner. You ready to put the roast in the oven but the oven is dead, it’s not switching on…

Imagine your hearing aids not emitting a sound…

One of the first things you do in the morning is to insert your hearing aids so you can become part of the world of sounds. To hear the day breaking, your spouse’s voice, the kettle boiling, all the sounds that says it’s a new day.

One of the worst sensations is to have no sound after a soundless night. You switch on the hearing aids and…there’s nothing…no sound…the hearing aid is dead…

A million thoughts go through your head and your emotions roller coaster. Wait, take a deep breath, there are simple reasons why this is happening. You can fix the problem immediately, and be in time to hear the kettle boiling.

There are possible causes for the sudden lack of sound coming through the hearing aids. Follow the checklist below to fix the problem.

Hearing Aids are Dead Checklist

  • Check the battery. The most common cause of a dead hearing aid is a dead battery. Replace the battery with a fresh battery. If the fresh battery doesn’t work either, make sure you have the right type of battery for your specific hearing aids.
  • Battery inserted incorrectly. You were in a hurry and accidentally inserted the battery incorrectly. The battery won’t connect if inserted the wrong way around. Change the battery around and test your hearing aid.
  • On/Off Switch. The hearing aids may be switched off. Yes, it happens. Without realizing it, you switched the hearing aids off while inserting the hearing aids. Check the on/off switch and switch the hearing aid on if switched off.

There’s Sound But Not Enough

Water is trickling from the tap. You can brush your teeth, but it’s not enough water to rinse your shampooed head.

There is sound coming from the hearing aid. You’re not completely isolated from the world of sound, but it’s not enough for you to communicate with loved ones. Yes, you can lip read but not without your glasses. Besides, lip reading only works when the person is facing you directly. It’s not going to help if you can’t hear what your spouse is saying from the bathroom or why your child is crying. And sometimes you just want to simply hear, without having to work at it.

Fixing the volume can be as simple as adjusting the volume. The reason for the low sound may surprise you.

Sound Isn’t Loud Enough Checklist

  • Volume Control. In the same way, you accidentally switched your hearing aid off; you could’ve unknowingly changed the volume. Place your finger on your volume control and slowly increase the volume to the level you desire.
  • Battery Weak. Batteries don’t last forever. The battery may weaken as it comes to the end of its lifespan. A weakened battery may be the cause of low sound volume. By replacing the battery, the sound returns immediately.
  • Blocked or Dirty Microphone. If the microphone is dirty or blocked, it hinders the sound from coming through correctly. Clean the microphone with the cleaning tool.
  • Moisture in Tubing. Surprisingly slight moisture in the earmold tubing will affect the sound volume. Remove the earmold tubing from the hearing aid casing. Blow air through the tube clearing all moisture that’s blocking the sound.

Hearing Aids Sounds Irregular

If the water was switched off and turned on again, there are air bubbles in the pipes. The air causes the water to splutter and spurt sporadically until all the air is out of the pipes. Then the water runs cleanly and regularly to rinse your shampooed hair.

Sometimes a hearing aid will splutter and spurt the sound. The sound comes through with irregular bursts making it impossible to follow a conversation.

Irregular and fading sounds are often caused by the same issues that cause a low sound or a dead hearing aid. It is also as easy to fix.

Irregular and Fading Sound from Hearing Aids Checklist

  • Weak Battery. A battery that is weak or almost at the end of its lifespan may be the cause why the sound is coming through sporadically or fading. The battery isn’t functioning as it should. Replace the battery with a new one.
  • Moisture in Tubing. It’s surprising how a tiny drop of moisture can change the world of sound upside down. The slightest moisture has a drastic effect on the hearing aids’ sound. Remove the moisture by blowing air through the tubing after you’ve detached it from the casing.
  • Dirty Microphone. A dirty microphone will change the way sound is relayed through the hearing aids. Clean the microphone by removing all debris.
  • Crimped Tubing. Earmold tubing crimp after a while. The weather and different seasons affect the tubing as well. When the tubing hardens, it cracks affecting the quality of sound. If you have a spare tubing and know how then replace the tubing at home. Alternatively, visit your audiologist to replace the tubing for you.

Hearing Aids Makes Whistling Noises

At last, you rinsed your shampooed hair and finished your morning ritual. Coming out of the bedroom, your spouse whistles when he sees you. In his eyes, you are the most beautiful woman. Smiling, you’re distracted by another whistle, the boiling kettle.

Whistling while working in the garden is a pleasant sound, but a wolf whistle from a stranger isn’t.

When hearing aids whistle, it’s disturbing because it means something isn’t functioning correctly. Instead of the sound moving forward, something blocks the sound, and it feeds backs creating a whistling noise.

Here is a checklist to find out what the cause is and how to fix the whistling hearing aid.

Checklist for Hearing Aid Whistling Sounds

  • Earmold Position. If the earmold isn’t positioned correctly, it causes feedback. Remove the earmold and reinsert it. Reposition the earmold until the earmold fits firmly.
  • High Volume. When the volume is set too high, it will cause whistling feedback. Slightly adjust the volume control until the whistling disappears. Don’t decrease the volume too much because then you won’t hear the sounds.
  • Earwax Blockage. Wax in the ear blocks the sound and can cause feedback. Remove wax in the ear canal. If the wax is difficult to remove, rather be safe and consult with your doctor or ear specialist to remove the wax for you.
  • Break In The Ear Hook. A break in the ear hook or earmold tubing will cause a whistling feedback noise. Even a small crack may be the reason for the whistling. Replace the earmold tubing.

Hearing Aids Cause Buzzing Sound

The buzzing sound of a mosquito around your ears are extremely annoying. Mosquitoes tend to wait until you’re snuggly cuddled up in bed before it starts irritating you.

If the mosquito’s buzzing irritates you, imagine the buzzing sound inside your ear caused by the hearing aid. The buzzing problem from your hearing aids, however, is easier to resolve than that annoying mosquito.

Buzzing Sound From Hearing Aids Checklist

  • Low Battery. When a battery is low and almost dead, it causes a buzzing noise. With some hearing aids when the battery is weakening it gives warning beeps. Other hearings aids don’t, and you hear the buzzing when the battery is low. Replacing the battery will remove the buzzing sound.
  • T and M Position. Hearing aids with T coils makes it easier to use a telephone while wearing a hearing aid. If your hearing aid is still switched to the “T” position, you will hear a buzzing sound. Switch back to the “M” for microphone and the buzzing will go away.

Hearing Aids Problems You Can’t Fix

As mentioned above, wax in the ears causes sound distortions. If you can’t soften the wax and remove it with home remedies or over the counter wax removing kit, then consult your doctor. Wax that completely blocks the ear should be removed by your ear nose and throat specialist.

Earmolds that don’t fit properly will cause you not to hear properly. Too small earmolds can cause irritation that leads to inflammation as well as whistling noises. Visit your audiologist to replace the earmold with a custom fitting earmold.

Although the tubing is inexpensive to replace, many hearing aid wearers prefer the audiologist to replace it. You can purchase a spare tubing from the audiologist to replace it when necessary. The tubing is glued to the earmold, and the glue deteriorates with time. A loose tubing will affect how you hear drastically.

If none of the above solves the sound problems, then visit your audiologist. Remember, if you forgot to send in your hearing aids for a service, it could be the cause of your sound problems.

To Summarize

If your hearing aids aren’t working or the sound is too low, fades, is sporadic or distorted, the cause may be one of the reasons mentioned in the checklists above. Start by checking the battery. Is the battery low, dead or inserted incorrectly? Check the different controls. Did you forget to switch your hearing aids on or accidentally changed the volume level? Did you switch from T back to M after your telephone conversation? Moisture in the earmold tubing is often the cause of the bad sound. Earmolds don’t last forever. If your earmold is not fitting snugly, then it’s probably time to replace the earmold and solve that nasty feedback you’re hearing.

If you’re slightly in doubt, rather visit your audiologist to fix your sound issues. Remember, regular maintenance is important in taking care of your hearing aids.

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