The Most Common Reasons why Hearing Aids Stop Working and How You Can Fix It
For many of our patients, their hearing aids are critical to ensure that they hear correctly and comfortably. While typically very sturdy gadgets, hearing aids sometimes break-down or become faulty. When this happens, we often think that the worst-case scenario has occurred and that the device needs replacing. However, this is not always the case. Frequently, the hearing aid is not broken and in need of replacement, it may only require some minor maintenance.
While we love to see our patients as much as possible, many issues with hearing aids can be very easily resolved from at home, saving you the time and effort from coming in to see us. Here are the top three most common reasons why hearing aids malfunction, and what you can do to fix it in your own home.
SOMETHING IS BLOCKING THE SOUND
The number one most common cause of a hearing aid issue is that something is blocking the sound inlet, also known as the microphone. The sound inlet is the section of the device that is responsible for receiving sound from the outside world, to be amplified by the rest of the hearing aid. Anything that blocks the microphone will be preventing any noise from entering into your ear.
Depending on your hearing aid, the placement area, and the number of sound inlets may vary. Check all inlets on the hearing aid as it only takes one blocked microphone to negatively affect the audio output from the hearing aid.
How to check your hearing aids for sound blockages:
- Take the dome off of the hearing aid and inspect it for anything blocking the sound inlets. Clean the dome and custom pieces (if you have any), with the brush and metal pick you were provided when you received your hearing aids. If you cannot find your brush or metal pick, visit one of our clinics, and we will happily provide one for you.
- Check the filter located underneath the dome or end piece as it may also need to be changed. If the filter needs to be changed, please follow Dr. Scarff’s instructions in this video: “How to change the filter fo a Phonak Marvel hearing aid”
- Inspect all openings on the outer part of the hearing aid body (typically beige). Brush these openings off gently with the brush tool to remove anything that may be blocking the openings such as hairspray, dust, or debris.
BATTERY OR RECHARGEABLE ISSUE
Hearing aids require power to function correctly. Without a strong or stable power source, the hearing aid will likely see a drop-off in quality or stop working entirely.
If you have battery-operated hearing aids, ensure that you are using fresh and reliable hearing aids. Recently, we have had several patients face issues with batteries that they purchased at large chain stores. Sometimes, the batteries sold at these stores can be unreliable, and may not work properly even when the battery is brand new. If this is the case, first try a new brand of battery, if the problems continue, you can always come and visit one of our clinics and purchase your batteries directly from us. We have reliable and reasonably priced batteries available to you, in addition to our hearing expertise.
For those who use rechargeable hearing aids, you may need to clean the contacts between the hearing aid and the charging system. We recommend using a lint-free microfiber cloth to gently wipe the two silver dots on the bottom of the hearing aids. Use the same type of fabric to clean the contact points on the charger itself. This should remove any dust, debris, or other material that are blocking the charging point. If your hearing aid continues to have trouble charging after this, it may be an issue with the internal components which may require repair or replacement. Please contact us if this is the case.
On occasion, pushing the power button for too long can put the hearing aids into a deep sleep mode. The hearing aid will not start back up until you plug them into the charger for a brief moment. Contact us for our handout for the proper steps to restart your hearing aids if this occurs.
The most important way to protect your hearing aids is to ensure that they are kept away from as much moisture and debris as possible. Sometimes, however, it is unavoidable that your hearing aids may come into contact with some form of moisture. Activities such as significant exercise, sweat from being outdoors, spending time in a damp bathroom, or many other scenarios may cause how moisture has entered the device. If this is the case, a proven solution is to put the hearing aids into a Tupperware case or plastic bag filled with dry rice overnight. Then try to turn on the hearing aid the next morning with a fresh battery. This trick has been shown to work very well for cell phones that have been soaked in water. What is not commonly known is that this trick can work well for a number of different small electrical devices, including hearing aids.
While often quite effective, using dry rice does not always work. If it does not work for you, please contact us as we have an in-house UV dry-aid system that can absorb moisture directly from your hearing aids.
We hope these tips help you keep your hearing aids functioning as well as possible for as long as possible so that you can hear the things that are important to you.
Please remember to continue to consult our website for more blogs and videos to help you take care of your hearing and your hearing aids. Our expert audiologists here at Audiology Innovations are passionate about changing people’s lives through our innovative hearing services, and we would love to help you next. Schedule an appointment today, or contact us for more information about our services.