Chances are you or someone you know has hearing loss. It affects over 37 million Americans over the age of 18 (not to mention the millions of children affected) in the United States. That’s approximately 20 percent of the population.
Of those millions, it is estimated that over 28 million could benefit from using hearing aids, even if a fraction do. For those who do use hearing aids, it can be a choice for both improved hearing and improved health. Research now points to many many potential benefits including reduced risk of depression and cognitive decline, reduced risk of falls and lower health care costs in the long run.
As with any technology, hearing aids require regular maintenance and troubleshooting to keep them functioning well and you hear well.
Maintaining your hearing aid
Daily maintenance of your hearing aid is the first step to prolonging its life and preventing common issues. This includes:
Thoroughly wiping down the hearing aid each day to remove dirt or wax.
Using a special brush or pick to clear away any ear wax caught in the openings.
Removing the battery each night and leaving the hearing aid open to allow moisture to escape (don’t forget to brush down the battery compartment too).
A couple of times a year, get professional cleaning and maintenance for your hearing aid from a hearing healthcare professional.
Troubleshooting your hearing aid issues
Even with regular maintenance, you may run into some common issues with your hearing aid. Even the most sophisticated devices may need a little extra love and care at times. These tips can help you troubleshoot the most common issues.
The volume is too low:
Start by looking the hearing aid over. Often, volume has been affected by a buildup of earwax or moisture. If your model of hearing aid uses tubing, check to make sure there are no cracks.
Adjust the volume up and down to verify you can hear the change in volume. This can be done either with your remote or app or manually with the dial on the device depending on your model of hearing aid. You may also want to check the program to make sure that hasn’t accidentally been switched.
If neither of these helps with the volume, it may be time to see your hearing healthcare provider. They can give your hearing aid a checkup and may recommend a hearing evaluation for you to determine if your hearing has changed and is affecting the volume of the hearing aid.
There’s no sound:
Start by looking over the hearing aid and removing any blockages of debris or earwax.
Verify the battery is working (it may need to be replaced) and is inserted properly, the battery door is closed, and the device is turned on.
Adjust the volume and programs using your remote, app or manual adjustments.
Whistling and feedback:
The first step when you’re experiencing a whistling sound or feedback from your hearing aid is to remove and reinsert the device. Often this can help reposition the device correctly.
Adjust the volume and note any effect it has on the whistling. If it goes away when the volume is turned down, it may be time to see your hearing healthcare provider for a hearing aid fitting adjustment. This is also a good time for your provider to check your ear canal for excessive wax that may be blocking the canal and causing the feedback.
The sound is distorted:
In many cases, the best place to start when hearing aid sound is distorted is with the battery and battery compartment. If the battery has begun to corrode, change it out and wipe down the compartment. Verify that the connection points are clean and in contact with the battery.
As with other issues, switching between programs and memory may also help resolve the problem. It’s common for programs to get accidentally switched causing a change in the volume or sound quality.
If you are experiencing problems with your hearing aid and unable to resolve them with these troubleshooting tips, contact your hearing healthcare provider to schedule an appointment. These trained professionals can get to the root of the problem and have you hearing well again in no time.