Man having troubles with his hearing aids while trying to communicate with his friend.

Have you ever been watching your favorite Netflix movie when your internet abruptly cuts out? You sit and watch that spinning circle instead of learning about who won that cooking competition. And so you just wait. Is it your internet provider, modem, router, or maybe it will simply come back on its own? It’s not a great feeling.

When technology breaks down, it can be really frustrating. The same is certainly true of your hearing aids. Most of the time, your hearing aids will give you the means to stay connected to loved ones, have discussions with co-workers, and keep up with your neighbors.

But your symptoms of hearing loss can suddenly become very frustrating when your hearing aids quit working. The technology you’re depending on has let you down. How do hearing aids just quit working? So how do you cope with that? Here are the three common ways your hearing aids can malfunction and how to diagnose and identify them.

Three common issues with hearing aids (and some possible solutions)

Hearing aids are complex devices. Even still, there are some common issues that people with hearing aids may experience. Here’s what might be causing those issues (and what you can do to correct them).

Whistling and feedback

So, maybe you’re attempting to have a conversation with your family or watch your favorite television show and you start to hear a dreadful whistling noise. Or perhaps you notice some feedback. You start to think, “this is strange, what’s up with this whistling”?

Here are three potential problems that could be causing this feedback and whistling:

  • The tubing that attaches the hearing aid with the earmold, on behind-the-ear models, can sometimes become compromised. Try to inspect this tubing as well as you can and make certain nothing is loose and the tube does not appear damaged.
  • You might not have your hearing aids correctly positioned in your ears. Try to take them out and re-seat them. If the fit isn’t right you might need to come in so we can help you get a better fit.
  • The functionality of your hearing aid can be impacted by earwax accumulation in your ear canal. You’ll notice this comes up fairly regularly. Whistling and feedback are often one outcome of this type of earwax buildup. You can attempt to clear some of the earwax out (never use a cotton swab) and if that doesn’t work out, you can get some help from us.

Depending on the underlying cause of the feedback, we can help you deal with these problems if you can’t figure them out on your own.

Hearing aids not producing sound

Your hearing aids are supposed to make, well, sound. That’s their primary function! So if you find yourself thinking, “I can’t hear any sound coming from my hearing aid,” well, then something is certainly wrong. So what could be the explanation when hearing aids work but no sound comes through? Well, there are a few things:

  • Earwax buildup: Yup, earwax strikes again. Inspect your device for signs of earwax on the microphone or speakers or any sensitive bits. Keep your device very clean.
  • Power: Look, we’ve all disregarded turning the hearing aids on before. Check for this first. Then you can eliminate that as potential issues.
  • Your settings: If you have them, cycle through your custom settings. It’s feasible your hearing devices are on the wrong custom setting (so maybe your hearing aids think you’re in a gymnasium instead of around the kitchen table). This incorrect setting could throw off the sound you’re hearing.
  • Batteries: If you have rechargeable batteries, be sure that they’re completely charged. And even rechargeable batteries should be swapped out once in a while.

If these steps don’t address your problems, we might have the solution. We’ll be able to help you identify the next steps, and whether maintenance, repair, or replacement is needed.

When you have your hearing aids in, you feel pain in your ears

Perhaps your hearing aids are fine functionally but they hurt when they’re in your ears. And you’re most likely wondering why your hearing aids would make your ears hurt. You’re not as likely to use your hearing aids every day if they hurt your ears. So, why do they ache?

  • Fit: The fit of the device is the most obvious issue. Naturally, when the fit is nice and tight, your hearing aids will work best. Which means that there can sometimes be pain involved in a poor fit. Some hearing aid models can be fit to the specific shape of your ears. Over the long run, you will have fewer issues if you have a good fit. If you come in for a consultation, we can help you achieve the best fit for your device.
  • Time: Sometimes, it just takes a little while to get used to your hearing aids. Each person will have a different adjustment period. It’s worth talking about when you buy your hearing aids so you have a realistic concept of how long it may take you to become comfortable with your devices. If uncomfortable ears continue, speak with us about that as well!

Avoid issues with a little test drive

Before you decide on a set of hearing aids, it’s a smart plan to try them out for a while. Most of the time we will have loaner pairs for you to try out before you make a decision.

In fact, we can help you determine the best type of hearing aid for your requirements, adjust the fit to match your ears, and help you handle any ongoing issues you may have with your devices. In other words, when your devices quit working, you’ll have a resource that can help!

And that’s a lot more than you will get from an over-the-counter hearing aid!

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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