Common hearing aid problems and maintenance to increase firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the most important aspects for longevity of your hearing instruments, which often gets ignored or put low on the priority list, is maintenance of the instruments. Read on to find out more about common problems with hearing aids and how to avoid them or understand the issues before they arise.
A little about hearing aids first…While many hearing aids today are made to a certain IP standard (IP stands for International Protection) to withstand dust and moisture, there are certain areas of the hearing aid which are more at risk. For example, the piece where the amplified sound comes from, the receiver or speaker, cannot have any complete coverings over it otherwise you wouldn’t hear anything. The receiver/speaker is generally deep inside of your ear, which can be very moist, has ear-wax, etc… This fact makes this part the single most troublesome area of the hearing aid. We see far more failed receivers from wax or moisture than any other problem. We also find that there are some people whose receivers fail more often, due to the conditions of their ear (regardless of hearing aid manufacturer) while others never have an issue.
Additionally, hearing aids which are worn behind the ear, are constantly being affected by sweat, hair spray, dust, heavy rains, etc… Most people who have constant issues with the piece behind their ear typically sweat more, work in dirty/dusty environments, etc… Ear Gear, a fabric covering for the hearing aid, is a good way to prevent issues with this part. Back to the IP rating – many of the behind the ear or receiver in the ear style hearing aids while they are rated against intrusion by sweat, dust, etc… will eventually fail due to moisture and/or material. Sweat, especially, can be very corrosive and damaging over time. So, even if your hearing aid is rated against moisture and debris, over time materials break down so it is important to try and reduce damaging effects.
Now for maintenance…
Now that you know a little bit about the common failure points on hearing aids, how do you go about preventing problems? If you are the type that experience frequent problems due to wax or moisture the best thing you can do is utilize ear gear on your instruments (if a BTE or RIC) and place your instruments in a drying unit, such as one like THIS, made by Ear Technology. Additionally, be sure to wipe off the openings of the hearing aid(s) as shown in this video. Do this in the morning before using them as wax and material has had a chance to dry and will flake off easier.
Many hearing aids now have a wax protection system often referred to as no wax, which is a small replaceable white cup that collects wax and can help prevent it from damaging the receiver/speaker. Check out our video on how to change it here. It is important to note that as with all other problems, the frequency at which you need to replace this piece will vary significantly. We recommend replacing this piece once a month as preventative maintenance.
Finally, it is important to realize that very small hearing aids have very small openings and can be affected by a surprisingly small amount of ear wax or similar debris. You may put your hearing aid in today and a piece of wax sitting just inside your ear canal can plug up the receiver immediately rendering the hearing aid useless. Remember these steps when your hearing aids stops working:
- Make sure you have a verified good battery in the hearing aid. If you have two hearing aids, switch the batteries and see if that helps.
- If you are sure there is a good battery, change the no wax (or remove it if you don’t have a replacement) and see if the hearing aid starts working.
- Other things to check would be blockage at the ear mold, silicone dome (if applicable), and microphone openings (where the sound enters the hearing aid.)
- Finally, it is possible the hearing aid does have something wrong with it. In which case it is time to visit us!