Hearing aids are high-tech instruments that enable those with hearing loss to communicate. As with any other sophisticated technology used on a daily basis in a harsh environment, their electronic components can sometimes go awry – not surprising considering their constant exposure to moisture, heat, earwax, dirt and other irritants. Because they are such an essential part of your daily routine, you’ll want to make sure your hearing aids are running at peak performance levels at all times. This can be accomplished through regular servicing and maintenance, both of which will extend their life and keep them running optimally.
There are steps you can take at home to prolong the life of your hearing aids, as well. Clean them often using a soft, dry cloth. Avoid water, alcohol, solvents or cleaning fluids, any of which might cause damage. Store them in a protective case when not in use. Your audiologist offers routine checkups to ensure your devices are running as they should, and will check for power loss, dirty contact points and plugged events.
Despite your best efforts, at some point repairs may be necessary. Before taking them in for servicing, you may be able to do the work yourself at home. Common problems and solutions include:
- Feedback or whistling when inserted. Most often the result of earwax, or an incorrectly inserted instrument. Try taking it out and reinserting it yourself. If this doesn’t fix the problem, your doctor can check your ear canals and remove excess wax.
- Weak or no sound. If the sound coming through your hearing aids is weak or nonexistent, the cause may be a dead battery, clogged microphone, or clogged sound outlet. Try replacing the battery and, if that doesn’t work, cleaning the sound outlet, changing the wax filter, or cleaning the microphone with a brush.
- Sound is distorted or unclear. If the sound is distorted or unclear, you may have a dirty or corroded battery (or battery contacts). Use a dry cloth to clean the surfaces of the battery. If that doesn’t resolve matters, you can try opening and closing the battery compartment (and replacing the battery). If that still doesn’t work, check to see if the telecoil has been switched on. If so, switch it back to microphone.
If you are unable to resolve a problem at home, by all means bring it in to a certified professional for servicing. Cost will depend on the extent of damage, the cost of parts and whether or not it is still under warranty. If your instruments are no longer under warranty, it may make sense to upgrade them.