Patients with hearing loss notice a significant decline in their quality of life. Hearing aids have the capacity to restore quality of life, but a Journal of the American Geriatrics Society study demonstrates even greater benefits in a lower the risk of new onset Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, depression or anxiety, and fall-related injuries in comparison to patients who chose not to wear them. Consequently, putting some work into adjusting and maintaining your hearing aids rather than tossing them in your junk drawer is well worth the effort.
My Louisiana practice not only focuses on providing hearing aids to my patients with hearing loss, but encouraging them to take advantage of the provided benefits. My focus includes help for troubleshooting common hearing aid problems, so I have developed a shortlist of some of the most common issues and their simple solutions.
Problem #1 No Sound Coming from My Hearing Aid
You have placed the hearing aid into your ear and do not hear any sound amplification. Without sound amplification there is no point in wearing it.
This is a common problem with the easiest possible solutions. You will probably laugh because they are so simple.
- Some hearing aids have a manual switch to turn it on and off. Check to see that the switch is in the “on” position.
- After confirming that the unit is on, check the volume to make sure it is not set on its lowest setting. Improper volume can cause distortion, whistling and feedback and you might have turned it down too far fixing those issues.
- Once you have confirmed that it is on, the volume is properly set and you still hear no amplification, the solution is likely due to a dead battery. Replacing the battery should fix the problem (do it yourself or let us help you).
Problem #2 Some Sounds from My Hearing Aid Are Uncomfortable
You hear distortion from your hearing aid in different situations, like talking on the phone, conversations in a crowded room, or listening to radio or television. These distortions make wearing my hearing aids uncomfortable.
Some distortion is normal with new hearing aids due to the natural sound your brain is used to, and the variation of the new sounds it is processing. There is an adjustment period and things should improve with time.
- Take your hearing aids out and allow them to rest periodically.
- Older model hearing aids require setting and volume adjustments for different situations.
- Check for moisture, battery corrosion, or wax and other debris blocking the microphone.
- Digital technology has eliminated many of these issues. Consider replacing your older model with a digital upgrade.
Problem #3 My Hearing Aid Has Whistling and Feedback
When you put on your hearing aids you hear a high-pitched whistling or whining and feedback similar to a bad sound system. This is a specific form of distortion with distinct causes and solutions.
Most whistling and feedback issues relate to improper placement of the device in your ear or damage to its enclosure or wiring.
- Remove your hearing aid and replace it in your ear. If you cannot get the device to sit properly in your ear, then you might need a different type, shape or size of hearing aid (refer to the solution for Problem #4).
- If whistling or feedback persists in spite of proper placement, it might be “overloaded” with sound (like a squealing microphone), which you correct by turning down the volume on the device.
- Check for cracks in the tubing and earhook and have them replaced as necessary.
Problem #4 My Hearing Aid Is Uncomfortable to Wear
A hearing aid that is uncomfortable to wear is more likely to end up in the junk drawer along with your other unused gadgets. After all, nobody enjoys the ache brought on by the clumsy weight of an oddly shaped device in his or her ear.
You can prevent this problem by ignoring special promotions for cheap, generic hearing aids. Audiologists have the right tools and expertise to provide you with hearings aids that fit the exact contours of your ears. This helps to distribute the minimal weight of the device over the entire surface, eliminating pressure point pain caused by clumsy, generic shaped hearing aids.
Most common hearing aid problems are a result of device quality, improper fitting, maintenance failures, or misinformation and poor guidance through the adjustment period associated with new hearing aids. Unlike buying a hearing aid off the shelf or over the counter, proper education, communication, maintenance and follow up are an essential element at Acadian Hearing Services. We want you to enjoy all the quality of life benefits provided by your hearing aids, so we go the extra mile to give you the best possible hearing care experience.
Contact us if you need more help troubleshooting problems with your hearing aid or need someone at Acadian Hearing Services to provide a checkup and maintenance on your device.
Dr. Heidi J. Sorrells obtained her doctorate degree from Salus University in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania and master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Minot State University in Minot, North Dakota. She is a certified Audiologist by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and she holds a Louisiana and a Texas Audiology License. Dr. Sorrells enjoys all aspects of working in a private practice audiology clinic but especially loves the challenges of vestibular (balance) assessment and rehabilitation.