Troubleshooting Hearing Aids


Hearing aids are electronic devices that are worn in or right next to the body, so they are bound to have issues crop up from time to time.  Here are some quick, easy, do-it-yourself troubleshooting tips for the most common hearing aid problems.

Problem: Feedback or Whistling that is new or more severe than before


1) Check the insertion of the hearing aid to be sure that it is fitting correctly and has been fully inserted.  If the instrument is not correctly

2)  If your instrument has a volume control on it, check it to see if it is where it is normally set or if it has been turned on to full volume.  If it has been accidentally cranked up, it will be more likely to feedback and squeal at you.  Return volume control to normal spot.

3)  If you are wearing a behind-the-ear (BTE) instrument that is connected to an earmold and tubing, check the tubing on the earmold as well as the hook where the earmold joins the hearing aid for any holes or tears, as this will cause feedback.

BTE with Earmold

4)  Have your ENT doctor or your PCP doctor check your ears for excess wax.  Having wax occluding your ears can cause feedback.

Problem:  Hearing Aid is Dead


1)  Check your battery to be sure it is not dead.  You can try it in your other hearing aid or purchase a battery tester.  If you put the battery in the other hearing aid and it works, the problem is your hearing aid.  If you put the battery in the other hearing aid and it does NOT work, the problem is most likely the battery.

2)  Does your hearing aid have an on/off switch?  If so, be sure that the aid is actually switched to the ON position.  For some people, that means just putting the battery in the battery door and closing it…wait 10-15 seconds in case there is a start up delay and hold the hearing aid in your hand to see if it will squeal when you cup it in your hand.

3) Look at the part of your hearing aid where the sound comes out in your ear canal; this is called the receiver.  Can you see inside of it, or do you notice that it is clogged with dirt or debris or wax?  If sound cannot come out because the receiver is blocked, the hearing aid will appear to be dead.  Your Hearing Healthcare Professional has most likely given you a cleaning tool to help remove the wax.  If not, go on into the office and have them take a look at it…you want to be very careful when removing wax so as not to damage the receiver.


Problem:  Hearing Aid is Weak


1) Check the receiver for wax to see if it is partially blocked.  If you see wax in the receiver, try to remove it or see your HHP for them to clean and service your hearing aid.

2)  If your hearing aid is a BTE or Open Fit style, check the tube.  Do you see any droplets of moisture or debris?  If so, that is probably causing the problem.  Does the tubing feel soft and compliant or stiff/hard?  It should be soft; if the tubes are hardened then they need to be changed out.

3)  Look at the microphone port on the hearing aid…does it look 100% open and clear?  Dust, debris, hairspray, oils from our hands and fingers can get into the microphones on the hearing aid and make it more difficult (or impossible!) for sounds to get in…and if sound can’t get in, then sound can’t get out.  Your HHP has probably provided you with a brush tool; use the brush on the microphone ports but turn the hearing aid upside down so that if your brushing loosens the debris, it doesn’t fall INTO the microphone which can make things worse.

Problem:  Battery Life is Decreased


1) Is the problem in one ear or both ears?  If the problem is only occurring on one hearing aid, the problem is likely the hearing aid.  If the problem is occurring on both sides, the issues is likely the batteries you are using and you will probably want to try a new package of batteries.
2)  Open your battery doors at night, or remove the batteries completely from the hearing aids
3)  If the problem persists, see your HHP for assistance.

Until next time,

Dr. Kristin