For regular users of hearing aids, they are an extension of the ears. Hearing aid repairs have to be done on priority as any hearing aid problem or breakdown can upset the daily routine of people with high hearing aid usage. Though authorized service centers are all over, what can one do during a prolonged shutdown? Or a lockdown similar to the one we had due to Coronavirus or the Covid-19 epidemic?
With no one to attend to the hearing aid repairs, it is better to know a little about hearing aids from a user’s perspective. How they function? The hearing aid problems and, how to fix the hearing aids at home in the absence of professional repair facilities.
Table of Contents
- Are Hearing Aid Repairs Possible At Home If They Are Dead?
- My Hearing Aids Have Low Output
- Why Are My Hearing Aids Whistling?
- Why Won’t My Hearing Aid Stay In My Ear?
- Why Does My Hearing Aid Keep Turning Off And On?
- What Causes The Hearing Aid To Squeal?
- Why Is My Hearing Aid Distorted?
The common problems and the useful tips to handle minor hearing aid repairs at home will come in handy during an emergency. However, repeated instances of hearing aid repairs are avoidable if one takes regular care of the hearing aids at home.
Below is a guide to troubleshooting hearing aid problems, let’s find out about the common hearing aid problems and how to fix the hearing aids at home.
Why Can’t I Hear Out Of My Hearing Aids?
A common comment but it has multiple reasons, hearing aids have many components and accessories, a problem in any one of them can be reason for the hearing aid to stop working. At times it is frustrating when you keep them safe at night, and the next morning they refuse to work.
Are Hearing Aid Repairs Possible At Home If They Are Dead?
There is a possibility that you can fix hearing aids at home if the hearing aid is not broken or physically damaged or the circuit is not faulty. Most of the problems are minor and can be attended to at home. The first thing we should do is to inspect the hearing aids visually. In case of breakage or cracks in the shell, only an authorized service professional can repair them.
If there are no signs of physical damage, then read further to diagnose the issue. You may be in a position to repair your hearing aids at home or set them right.
Is The Hearing Aid Battery Door Closed Properly?
Digital hearing aids do not have an On/Off switch; the hearing aid switches off by opening the battery door and switches on by closing the battery door. If the battery door is not closed properly, then the hearing will not function.
Solution: Close the battery door properly. Your hearing aid may start working again. Since the battery door was not closed properly, the battery was not in contact with the terminals.
Is The Battery Door Not Closing?
If the battery door is not closing comfortably, do not use excessive force, it will damage the hearing aid. The reason for the battery door not closing could be that you have not inserted the battery correctly.
Solution: Remove the battery, look for the positive and negative marking on the battery as well as the hearing aid, and reinsert.
Another reason for the battery door not closing could be due to a small particle stuck in the battery door. Examine the battery drawer carefully and remove the dirt particle if any, causing the obstruction.
Have You Checked Your Hearing Aid Battery?
When did you last replace your hearing aid battery? Is it overdue? Even if it is not due, at times, the battery consumption increases due to other reasons.
Solution: If you have a battery checker, check the battery. If you do not have a battery checker, insert a new battery to confirm, if the hearing aid still does not work, it’s not a battery issue.
If you are using a rechargeable battery, confirm the charge level with a battery tester. It may be possible that due to some reason, they have not charged. Hearing aid batteries should be handled carefully, read how to care for your hearing aid batteries.
Have You Checked The Hearing Aid Listening Program Setting?
Digital hearing aids have multi-listening programs or settings. These settings change by pressing the program button. If the program change button is unintentionally pressed, the listening program can change from “Speech” to the “Telephone” mode, in this setting the microphone will cut off. For the user, the hearing aid will be dead or not give out any sound.
Solution: Press the program change button and bring it back to your regular listening program. The hearing aid may start working.
Have You Checked The Volume Control Setting?
Though, this is a very simple suggestion as long time users of hearing aids are fully aware of the volume settings. But it is advisable to check.
Solution: Since most of the digital hearing aids have a press type button to increase or decrease the volume, it is difficult to know the volume setting by looking at the hearing aid. It is safer to reconfirm by pressing the volume up/down button to ensure that it’s in the right position.
My Hearing Aids Have Low Output
Your hearing aids are not dead, but your hearing aids are not loud enough to hear well. Check out the causes given below and how to fix your hearing aids.
As in the case of a dead hearing aid, first, you should examine them visually.
Check The Ear Molds And The Tubing
In case you are using a BTE (Behind the Ear) or a RIC/RITE (Receiver in Canal) type of hearing aid, observe closely for wax blockage in the ear mold opening.
Solution: If you see signs of wax accumulation in the ear mold, clean the ear mold with a cleaning tool for hearing aids, or if the dome has a wax guard, replace the wax guard.
Check for breakage in the silicone tubing if there are no signs of wax blockage in the BTE.
Solution: In case of breakage, replace the silicone tubing. BTE users should always keep spare tubing at home; it is part of the hearing aid repair kit.
For the In ITE type of hearing aids (ITC, CIC, IIC) Check the wax guard. At times, it is difficult to see the wax, as a precaution, replace the wax guard with a new one. Your hearing aid may start performing as before.
Check The Volume Control Setting
As mentioned above, check the press type volume control, take it to the minimum volume setting position and bring it back to the maximum position. This is possible for BTE’s and some RIC’s which have a volume button.
Check if the remote control is functioning if you are using a remote control with your hearing aids. Maybe the remote control needs a change of battery.
Check The Program Button Setting
Check the program setting by pressing the button and trying out other memory settings. The setting may have shifted to another program, which is compressing the sound.
Have Your Ears Checked For Wax
It is easy to blame the hearing device, but it is advisable to check if earwax is blocking your ear canal.
Solution: Keep your ears clean, check out these home ear cleaning tips.
Why Are My Hearing Aids Whistling?
You must be wondering, “What causes a hearing aid to squeal?”
Hearing aid whistling or hearing aid squealing is technically known as hearing aid feedback or acoustic feedback.
Digital hearing aids have an anti-feedback feature; the hearing aid automatically detects the feedback and suppresses it or reduces it.
If your hearing aid still emits feedback, read on to know how to stop the hearing aid squealing.
What Causes The Hearing Aid To Squeal?
The hearing aids amplify the sound picked up by the microphone; this amplified sound reaches our ear canal. If this sound leaks out of our ear, it is picked up by the same microphone and amplified again by the hearing aid, this forms a loop that we hear as hearing aid feedback.
How Do I Stop My Hearing Aid From Whistling Or How Do You Fix Hearing Aid Feedback?
There are multiple reasons which cause a hearing aid to squeal. Let’s look at some of them.
You Have Not Worn Your Hearing Aids Properly.
Whether it’s a BTE, a RIC or a CIC, any style or type of hearing aid has to fit well into the ears. If the ear mould or the CIC fits loosely, the sound will leak out and result in whistling or squealing due to hearing aid feedback.
Solution: Push the ear moulds or the ITC/CIC hearing aid into the ear canal. At times, we need to twist the hearing aid a little or pull the earlobes a little to make room for the hearing aids to get into the right fit and position.
Watch this informative video to understand better. Coutesy: Beltone (Please click on CC to enable captions)
How Far Into the Ear Canal Should a Hearing Aid Go?
The ear mold or the shell is made according to the size and shape of the ear canal, insert till the fitting is tight but comfortable.
Why Won’t My Hearing Aid Stay In My Ear?
There could be more than one reason for this:
The ear molds do not fit well; it may be slightly large or small; in this case, make a new mold.
In the case of BTE or RIC, the tube is either long or short.
Are the Ear Molds Hurting You?
Solution: The ear mold or the dome has to be the right size and comfortable, if it’s an ITE type, the hearing aid has to be inserted into the ear canal properly. If the ear molds or the ITC/CIC is slightly big and hurts the ear, the user will not insert it properly which will cause hearing aid feedback.
Is The Hearing Aid Volume Set Too High?
If the volume setting has been unknowingly disturbed, the high volume will cause hearing aid whistling.
Solution: Gradually reduce the volume to the point where the feedback stops. Check if you can hear properly at this volume setting.
Earwax accumulation can also cause hearing aid feedback as the sound bounces out without reaching the eardrum.
Solution: Clean your ears regularly, check out these home ear cleaning tips
Why Does My Hearing Aid Keep Turning Off And On?
You put on your hearing aids; they work fine for some time, and then they suddenly cut out. Do you wonder why my hearing aid keeps cutting out? The reason could be water or moisture.
Are Your Hearing Aids Exposed To Sweat And Moisture?
Electronics and moisture do not get along; water can spoil a hearing aid unless your hearing aid is water-resistant. This can happen if the humidity levels are high; you were caught in the rain or forget to take off your hearing aids before a shower.
Solution: Use a stay dry box or an electric dehumidifier. Leave the hearing aid in the chamber for a few hours, do not forget to remove the battery and leave the battery compartment open. It is very important to keep hearing aids dry.
Have You Checked The Batteries?
Most people do not associate intermittent hearing aids with batteries. A hearing aid with a weak or dying battery will function for some time and shut off. If the same cell is removed and reinserted after a few minutes, it will work for a short while.
Solution: replace the old battery with a new one. Always keep adequate stock of batteries. If you use rechargeable batteries, confirm that the batteries are sufficiently charged.
Why Is My Hearing Aid Distorted?
My hearing aids sound muffled, or my hearing aids sound funny or distorted are common hearing aid complaints. Hearing aid voice distortion can be a muffled sound or a crackling sound.
Solution: Check battery terminals for rust or dirt accumulation. You will notice two shiny strips inside the battery compartment; these are the positive and negative terminals which carry the current from the battery to the circuit. If any of them is rusted or has dust coating, it will not send the current efficiently giving rise to distortion. Take a cotton bud or a Q tip and clean the battery terminals.
Low batteries are also one of the reasons; please refer to the procedure given above for checking batteries.
Moisture in a hearing aid can cause distortion; humidity interferes with the working of the electronic circuit and can distort the speech.
How Do You Fix A Muffled Hearing Aid?
In case of muffled sound, check for dirt or earwax blocking the outlet of the ear mold or change the wax guard and test again.
In the case of BTE, check the tubing, dirt or moisture beads in the tube can cause a muffled sound.
With hearing aid usage of 8 to 10 hours a day, hearing aid problems are unavoidable. Cleaning a hearing aid every night before you retire can reduce hearing aid repairs to a large extent. Use hearing aid disinfectant wipes to clean the outer shell of the hearing aid before you retire for the night. If possible, keep a cleaning kit for hearing aids at home. Check out the cleaning tools for hearing aids which are available with most hearing aid dispensers.
Amrik Singh Arora is the founder of EarGuru – the Ear Health Blog. An Engineer by qualification, he has over 20 years of experience in the field of Hearing loss and manufacturing and sale of Hearing aids, Audiometers and Assistive listening devices. He was the Secretary of the Hearing Association of India from 2013 to 2017 and was last Associated with Starkey India as a Director-Business Development.