Hearing aids have been shown to benefit your health in unexpected ways including improving cognitive abilities, reducing depression, and decreasing your chance of falling. Which is why when these devices seem like they malfunction, it’s so frustrating. When you start detecting screeching feedback, or when your hearing aids abruptly go silent, expedient solutions can make the difference between a pleasant family dinner or a miserable one.
Luckily, there are some practical troubleshooting steps you can take that could ease or address some typical hearing aid problems. The faster you ascertain what’s going on with your hearing aid, the sooner you can go back to what’s important.
Maybe The Batteries Need to be Changed
One of the most prevalent problems with hearing aids is a low battery. Rechargeable batteries come standard with some hearing aid models. Replaceable batteries are standard on other hearing aids. Here are some of the symptoms that might give you a clue that the batteries are the culprit when your device starts to malfunction:
- Hearing aids won’t turn on: If your hearing aid won’t turn on, or won’t stay on, there’s a good possibility the battery is the principal problem.
- Weak sounds: You feel like you are always straining to hear what’s going on around you.
- Dull sound quality: Voices sound dull like they are distant or underwater.
Here’s what you do about it:
- Ensure the batteries are completely charged. Let your rechargeable batteries charge overnight or for at least a few hours.
- If you have replaceable batteries, replace them on a regular basis. In certain situations, rechargeable batteries are sealed into the device, and if that’s the case, you might have to take the hearing aid to a specialist.
- Double-check to make sure the correct batteries are used. Your hearing aid can be damaged by the wrong battery. (Sometimes, the wrong type of battery can be purchased in the correct size, so double-checking is important.)
Try Cleaning Every Surface
Obviously, hearing aids log a lot of time inside your ears. And there’s a lot happening in there (your ears are like party rooms, only more hygienic). So it’s no surprise that your hearing aids may get a little dirty in the process of helping you hear. Most hearing aid models are manufactured to cope with a certain amount of earwax accumulation, but it’s a good idea to have a routine cleaning plan too. A few problems related to buildup and dirt might include:
- Muffled sound: If your hearing aid sounds like it’s lost behind something, it might just be. There may be earwax or other buildup getting in the way.
- Discomfort: If they feel like they’re suddenly too large for your ears, it could be because earwax buildup has started interfering with the fit. The plastic will sometimes need to be replaced if it starts to harden.
- Feedback: The feedback canceling function on your hearing aid can be interrupted by earwax buildup causing a whistling noise.
- Check the earwax filter to make sure it is clean; replace it if needed.
- Ensure you are sending your hearing aids to a professional for regular cleaning and maintenance.
- Double-check the tip of the hearing aid to make certain it is not covered or plugged by earwax or debris. The manufacturer will usually supply a cleaning tool which can be employed along with the manufacturer’s cleaning instruction.
- Clean your hearing aid carefully in the way that the manufacturer has instructed.
You May Simply Need a Little Time
The hearing aid itself isn’t necessarily the problem. When your brain isn’t used to hearing the outside world, it can take some time to adjust to your new hearing aids. As your mind adapts, you may notice that specific sounds are unpleasantly loud (the hum of the refrigerator, for instance). You may also notice that particular consonant sounds may seem overly pronounced.
These are all signs that your brain is racing to catch up to sound again and, before long, you’ll adapt.
But it’s important to get help with any issues before too much time goes by. Your hearing aids should make your life more enjoyable, so if things aren’t working the way they should be, or your hearing aids are uncomfortable, give us a call, we can help.