Hearing aids are only helpful if they’re functioning properly, and occasionally they don’t. The most common problems are whistling (feedback) from the hearing aid or no sound at all. If your hearing aid isn’t functioning properly here are some tips on Troubleshooting Your Hearing Aid:
No sound coming from the hearing aid (You can check by cupping it in your hand next to your ear. It should whistle a bit when it’s functioning properly).
Start with the easiest thing to eliminate: Is the battery dead? Hearing aid batteries typically last a week to 10 days. When was the battery last changed? Try a new battery. If the aid comes back to life, wonderful! If the aid doesn’t come back to life then try something else. Don’t try more than one new battery; it’s probably not the issue.
Almost all hearing aids have a wax protection system in the receiver. The receiver is the end of the hearing aid where the sound comes out. The wax guard is usually a little white tip, but may be blue or red. The wax guard may be under the removable dome (ear piece) that goes into the ear canal.
If you have a replacement wax guard, try changing it. The replacement wax guards usually come in a pack with some sort of removal/replacement tool attached to a new wax guard. Push the tip of the removal tool into the current wax guard, it will make a subtle click, then pull it out. Push the new wax guard into the hole and pull the tool out. If this was the issue the hearing aid should function properly right away. (You can check by cupping it in your hand next to your ear. It should whistle a bit when it’s functioning properly).
Watch how to change a wax guard on a RITE style hearing aid (click on the link below):
Watch how to change a wax guard on a CIC style hearing aid (click on the link below):
Is the hearing aid whistling excessively?
It’s not abnormal for a hearing aid to whistle (feedback) occasionally for a very short duration. If the aid is constantly whistling there are a few things you can check:
If the aid is not in the ear all the way it allows the amplified sound to leak out and cause feedback. Make sure the aid is pushed far enough into the ear and facing the right way.
A little bit of wax in the ear won’t impact the performance of the hearing aid, but if there is excessive wax in the ear it can cause feedback. If this is the case, you may need to visit your family doctor to have the wax removed.
Did the hearing aid get wet?
Hearing aids are water-resistant so exposure to a little bit of rain or snow won’t hurt them. However, they are not waterproof, so if they have gotten wet from swimming or bathing it may cause the hearing to malfunction.
If none of these solutions solves the problem, you should contact your Audiologist and have your hearing aid checked. Many issues can be addressed by the Audiologist in the office, but in some cases the hearing aid may need to be sent to the manufacturer for repair.