Hearing Aid Troubleshooting
People who use hearing aids in San Francisco, Sacramento, and throughout Northern California sometimes need help with the care or function of their devices. These simple tips are provided to help you keep your hearing aid working properly and solve many common issues.
Maintenance & Care
Get the most from your hearing aid with our tips for proper storage, cleaning, and use of your device.
The hearing aid doesn’t produce clear sound.
If your hearing aid isn’t producing any sound, or if the sounds are distorted or reduced, try these:
- Check if the speaker is clogged with wax. If your hearing aid uses wax filters, change the wax filters that came with your devices. Click here for a video on how to change wax filters.
- Make sure the volume is turned up.
- If you use rechargeable batteries, make sure you have the correct battery inserted in the hearing aids.
- Ensure the battery is working. To do this, cup the hearing aid in the palm of your hand. If it squeals, the battery is working. Your audiologist can also provide you with a battery testing device for a more accurate reading
- Check that the battery is inserted properly. The positive (+) side of the battery should match that of the hearing aid. The battery should fit into place easily. If it requires force, it is either the incorrect size or is placed upside down.
- Inspect the openings of the hearing aid and earmold for debris, including wax. Clean according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Check the hearing aid or earmold and tubing for moisture buildup. If accumulated moisture is an ongoing concern, your audiologist can provide you with a desiccant kit to help keep your device dry. If you have a BTE device, check the tubing for cracks, slits, or holes and replace if necessary. Note that the tubing on BTE devices typically needs to be replaced at least once per year.
- Check that the T-coil program, which is intended for use with the telephone, is not activated. Depending on the model of your hearing aid, you may activate the T-coil by pushing the button to the “T” position. On other styles, this feature is activated by pressing the small program button. A series of beeps indicates which program the hearing aid is in.
The hearing aid whistles or creates feedback.
Feedback, which often sounds like a high-pitched whistling, happens when sound “leaks” from the receiver back to the microphone. To prevent this, try these tips:
- Turn the volume down; it may be set too high.
- Ensure you’re not wearing any clothing or accessories, such as a scarf, that cover the hearing aid.
- Check to see that no hair is trapped between the device and your ear canal.
- Make sure the hearing aid or earmold is inserted snugly and correctly. Over time, the hearing aid or earmold may lose its fit due to normal fluctuations in the shape or size of your ears. You may need to purchase a new earmold or have your hearing aid remade. This may incur a fee.
- Chewing, yawning, and other jaw movements can occasionally cause feedback. Excessive ear wax in your ear canal can also cause feedback. If you suspect this contributes to your hearing aid feedback, visit your physician regularly for wax removal.
The hearing aid doesn’t work with the telephone.
- If applicable, make sure the aid is in the “T” position or program.
- If you have a BTE aid, place the telephone receiver up and over your ear so that the sound enters the hearing aid microphone as opposed to the earmold.
- If your hearing aid does not have a telephone setting, don’t allow the telephone to touch the hearing aid. Instead, hold the telephone a few inches away from your hearing aid.
- Your audiologist may be able to adjust the hearing aid and/or add a phone setting. Please see your audiologist to discuss if this is an available option with your hearing aid.
The battery life seems short.
- When you’re not wearing your hearing aid, store it with the battery door open. A closed door continues to drain the battery, even when it’s not in use.
- Store new batteries in a cool, dry place. Do not keep them in the refrigerator, since moisture and condensation can diminish battery life.
- An uncorrected feedback problem can cause battery drain. Please see the feedback tips for reducing feedback.
- Check expiration date on battery packaging.
Caring for Your Hearing Aid
Properly caring for your hearing aid can prevent many problems from developing. Avoid:
- High temperatures. Prolonged exposure to heat, including leaving your hearing aid in the sun, can damage some components and cause decreased battery life.
- Moisture. Take care to keep your hearing aid dry and protected.
- Dropping or bumping. This can cause damage to your hearing aid.
Storage & Repair
Get into the habit of switching your hearing aid to “OFF” whenever you remove it. This can significantly prolong battery life. If the aid does not have an “OFF” setting, store your hearing aid with the battery compartment open.
If you suspect your hearing aid is broken or damaged, do not attempt to repair it yourself. Consult your audiologist or hearing aid dealer for assistance.
The Dri-Aid Kit absorbs moisture from your hearing aid, prolonging its lifetime and increasing its sound quality.
Tubed or Corded Devices
For the BTE type hearing aids, the tubing should be replaced when it becomes dry, brittle, and yellow. It is recommended that the tubing be replaced at least once a year.
- Keep the earmold clean. It can be gently cleaned with a pipe cleaner if wax buildup occurs.
- The mold should regularly be detached from the hearing aid and washed with mild soap and water. Do not use alcohol, as this can cause the material to deteriorate.
- After washing, be sure the earmold is completely dry before connecting the earmold back to the hearing aid.
- Keep several spare batteries on hand at all times. If a battery comes with a sticker on it, it will not begin to drain until the sticker is removed.
- Store batteries in a cool, dry place, wrapped in plastic.
- Keep in mind that removing the battery when you’re not wearing your hearing aid will not prolong the battery life.
- If the battery contacts in the aid become corroded, they should be cleaned by the hearing aid dealer or dispenser. Poor contacts can contribute to a loss of power and may result in a “frying” sound in the hearing aid.
- If you notice a sudden decrease in battery life, have the aid checked by the dealer or dispenser.
- Remove dead batteries from the aid immediately. When you replace a battery, be sure the contacts match the markings on the battery compartment.
- After removing the sticker from the battery, wait 2-5 minutes before placing it in the hearing aid.