A new hearing aid holds the promise of a drastic improvement in quality of life. That is why it is so frustrating when your hearing device is not functioning properly. Like any therapeutic accessory (glasses, braces, etc.) it may take some time and adjustment to ensure that your hearing aid is working and giving you the best possible ability to hear. Additionally, as time goes on your hearing aid may need maintenance or repair. As an audiologist I have extensive experience in helping people to make adjustments until their hearing aid is comfortable and effective. Below we will highlight some common problems that may occur with your device, what you can do about them, and how your audiologist can help.
We can all agree, your hearing aid is pretty useless if it isn’t amplifying sound. There are a few reasons this may happen. The solutions for these problems can range from very simple to more complicated.
Is it Turned On?
This may sound like a no-brainer but you would be surprised how often the problem is that the device is turned off. Hearing aids that manually turn on and off can often be switched without you knowing it. Though it may seem silly, the first thing to check when there is no sound coming from your hearing aid is the power switch.
Check the Volume
This is another simple one, but the problem can also be that the volume is set to low. On many models, it can be easy to turn the volume down without realizing. After you are sure that the power is on, you should always check the volume next.
The receiver tube is a tube through which sound is delivered to the ear in certain types of hearing aids. Through normal use, this can become clogged. If you can see a blockage in this tube, chances are that this is the problem. Regular cleaning can prevent this from happening often.
Just as the tubes can get dirty, the microphone can as well. Wax and dirt often congregate and cause a blockage to the microphone. Cleaning it may restore sound to your hearing aid.
Once you have checked everything else the next possibility is a dead battery. If you get to this step and you still have no sound replace the battery and ensure that you install it correctly.
Uncomfortable Sounds – How to Adjust
Sometimes the sound coming from your hearing aid is too low, too loud or just uncomfortable. If this happens, check all of the things mentioned above, make sure all of the components are clean and the battery is charged and installed properly, because these can affect the sound quality. Also, your environment may be causing these issues. Excessively noisy environments or places where there is a lot of echo can cause these issues. As you get used to your hearing aid be sure to note what works for you and what doesn’t work in different environments. Eventually, you will understand how to adjust the different settings to optimize your hearing in any environment.
If you just can’t seem to get it right, you may need to have your hearing evaluated as your needs may have changed.
Whistling & Feedback Issues
Whistling or feedback from your hearing aid may have several causes. The first thing to do if you experience these issues is to take the device off and put it back on. These issues may stem from it not being aligned correctly on your ear. Cracks in the tubing can also cause these issues. If the tubing is cracked or worn, you will have to replace it. Another cause could be a blockage in your ear canal. If this is the case you will need to have your ears cleaned and flushed out by an Audiologist.
A poor fitting hearing aid will make you not want to wear it, many people would rather deal with not hearing than deal with the discomfort of a badly fit device. This isn’t a good choice, but it is true for many and it is why a properly fitting hearing aid is so important. You probably will not feel comfortable with your hearing aid right away and many people complain of headaches caused by their new hearing aid.
You will need some time to get used to your new device. You will also need to learn how to properly insert it into your ear and how to properly remove it. If your discomfort persists, come see an audiologist. We know how to identify the things that can cause discomfort and adjust your device accordingly.
How an Audiologist Can Help
Hearing aids are complicated pieces of machinery that perform complicated functions. There are many things to consider when trying to find one that fits your needs, as the Mayo clinic outlines here. If your hearing aid isn’t working correctly you should try the above tips, but sometimes you won’t be able to fix it yourself. Often, stores that sell hearing aids have sales staff with little actual training and they can not always resolve the problems that arise.
That is why coming to a licensed Audiologist for your hearing health needs is a good choice. We are educated and have experience in treating hearing health from every angle. Our staff knows how to evaluate and treat your body and we know the ins and outs of the technology that can help you. We develop a relationship so that we can understand your individual needs and walk with you through every step of the process. We do not just sell hearing aids, we treat your hearing health.
If you feel like you would like a partner through your Audiologic healthcare journey, contact us to see how we can help you. The first step to better hearing health is admitting you need help. The second step is finding people to walk you through the process. We would love to help.
Dr. Kalyn Bradford is the Director of Hearing Aid Services here at Physician’s Hearing Care. She completed her externship with Physician’s Hearing Care in 2013 and subsequently joined the practice in 2014 after graduating with her doctoral degree in audiology from Louisiana Tech University. She joined PHC as a Clinical Audiologist where she performed comprehensive audiological exams and specialized in helping patients to hear better using the latest hearing aid technology available. She has carried that experience into her current role as Director of Hearing Aid Services, where she does an excellent job managing the Audiologists to ensure that all patients are treated with the best hearing care possible.