Hearing aids are sophisticated pieces of kit. Modern varieties are capable of a fabulous array of functions designed to make the user experience more enjoyable and seamless. However, these devices are not perfect, and things can and do sometimes go wrong.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at all the various ways that you can troubleshoot your device from home and when to bring it to an audiologist for repairs.
The most frequent hearing aid issues
Before diving into how to fix problems with your hearing aids, it’s a good idea to take a look at some of the most common hearing aid issues. During the course of wearing a hearing aid you may experience:
- Feedback: Whistling or whining sounds which seem to emanate from the hearing aid itself. (Not to be confused with tinnitus which is generated by the body’s auditory system).
- Distorted sounds: When the noise coming from the hearing aid is distorted, things don’t sound right. Yes, you can make out what’s being said, but everything seems a little “funny.”
- Too quiet: You need your hearing aids to deliver high-volume output to your ears so that you can hear what’s going on around you. Sometimes, though, hearing aids fail to provide sufficient amplification.
- No sound : Finally, hearing aids can produce no sound at all.
Take a look at some of these troubleshooting steps below to see if they fix the problem.
Feedback is an annoying sound that is produced when the microphone of the hearing aid picks up sound from the speaker. Under normal circumstances, this shouldn’t happen, but there are factors which make it more likely.
- The first thing to do is to test whether it’s a feedback issue at all. Turn down the volume of the hearing aids and then see whether you notice any sounds which seem like feedback. If the noises go away after you’ve turned it down, then there’s a good chance that you are indeed dealing with a feedback issue.
- You can either keep the volume turned down or look for additional reasons causes of feedback. Earwax buildup can sometimes cause feedback, so check your ears for blockages. Feedback may also result from a device that has been infiltrated with dirt or wax, thus cleaning your hearing aids can help too.
- Finally, the shape of your ear canal may have changed (if, for example, you’ve lost a lot of weight) and the mold may no longer be in contact with the internal surface of your ear canal. This could allow sounds from the speaker to be picked up by the receiver. If you notice your hearing aids are loose, then go to your audiologist for a new mold.
Troubleshooting distorted sounds
A range of factors could cause distorted sounds.
- First, it could be a software issue. Make sure that you are using the settings and programs initially calibrated by your audiologist. They could have been changed accidentally.
- Next, make sure that the battery is in proper contact with the terminals inside the hearing aid, and check for corrosion. Poor connections can sometimes explain strange, distorted output.
- Finally, check for external signs of damage. Damage to the speaker can result in distorted sounds. If the problem isn’t apparent or you notice damage, then you’ll need to speak with your audiologist about repair.
Troubleshooting hearing aids that are quiet
- First, try adjusting the volume to make sure that you have the proper range of sound. You may notice that the hearing aids appear to get “stuck” at a specific volume and won’t go any higher.
- Also, check that you haven’t switched to a different program. Sometimes this can limit the range of amplification.
- Finally, inspect the device. If you wear a behind-the-ear device, then make sure that the tubing is not damaged, as this may affect sound output.
Troubleshooting hearing aids which do not produce any sound
Sometimes hearing aids can go completely dead and not make any sound at all.
- First, check that the battery isn’t flat. Pull the battery out and replace it with a new one.
- Second, make sure that the battery is in contact with both positive and negative terminals and that it is not loose. A loose battery cannot supply electricity to the device.
- Third, check the volume control.
- Fourth, check that nothing is blocking the speaker or the microphone. Blockages of either will result in a lack of sound.
Finally, if none of the above work, it’s time to bring your hearing aids to us. At Northgate Hearing Services, we can help resolve your hearing aid issues. Call us on (206) 367-1345 for advice.