Three Ways Hearing Aids Can Malfunction

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

Have you ever had your internet cut right as you’re almost to the best part of your favorite Netflix show? You sit and watch that spinning circle instead of learning about who won that cooking competition. And so you just wait. Perhaps it’s your modem, could be your router, possibly it’s the internet provider, or maybe it’ll just fix itself. It sort of stinks.

When technology breaks down, it can be very aggravating. The same is certainly true of your hearing aids. The majority of the time, your hearing aids will give you the means to remain connected to loved ones, have conversations with co-workers, and keep up with your neighbors.

But your symptoms of hearing loss can suddenly become very frustrating when your hearing aids stop working. You’ve been let down by the technology you count on. How do hearing aids just quit working? So how do you cope with that? Well, there are three prevalent ways that hearing aids can malfunction, here’s how you can start to identify and troubleshoot those problems.

Hearing aids can often have three common issues

Even though hearing aids are sophisticated technology, individuals may encounter three common problems with them. Let’s have a look at possible causes of these issues and potential fixes.

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. And so you think, “Why do I hear whistling in my hearing aids? This is strange”.

Here are three possible issues that could be causing this whistling and feedback:

  • For individuals who use behind-the-ear hearing aids, the tubing that connects your earmold with your hearing aid may have become compromised. Try to inspect this tubing as closely as you can and make certain nothing is loose and the tube doesn’t appear damaged.
  • The functionality of your hearing aid can be affected by earwax accumulation in your ear canal. This is a relatively common one. Whistling and feedback are frequently one outcome of this type of earwax buildup. If possible, you can try clearing some earwax out of your ear or talk to us about the best method to do that (don’t use a cotton swab).
  • Your hearing aids may not be sitting in your ears correctly. Try to remove them and re-seat them. You can also try turning the volume down (if this works, you might find some short-term relief, but it also likely means that the fit is indeed not quite right and you should talk to us about it).

If these problems are not easily resolvable, it’s worth speaking with us about correcting the fit or sending your device in for maintenance (depending on what we determine the underlying cause of that whistling or feedback might be).

Hearing aids not producing sound

The main objective of hearing aids is to produce sound. That’s their main function! So if you find yourself thinking, “I don’t hear any sound in my hearing aid,” well, then something is certainly wrong. So what could be the cause when hearing aids work but no sound comes through? Well, there are a couple of things:

  • Earwax buildup: Yup, earwax strikes again. Inspect your device for indications of earwax on the microphone or speakers or any sensitive parts. Keep your device very clean.
  • Batteries: If you have rechargeable batteries, make sure that they are fully charged. And whether your batteries are rechargeable or not, it might be worth swapping them out for new ones.
  • Power: Everybody forgets to turn their hearing aids on once in a while. Check for this first. This potential problem can then be eliminated..
  • Your settings: If you have them, cycle through your custom settings. It’s possible your hearing devices are on the wrong custom program (so maybe your hearing aids think you’re in a gymnasium instead of at the kitchen table). This balance could throw off the sound you’re hearing.

If these steps don’t help with your issues, we may have the solution. Whether repair, maintenance, or replacement is your next step, we will be able to help you figure that out.

Your ears hurt while you’re wearing your hearing aids

Maybe your hearing aids are fine functionally but they hurt when they’re in your ears. And you’re probably wondering why your hearing aids would hurt your ears. This sort of discomfort is not exactly conducive to wearing your hearing aids over the long term. So, why do they hurt?

  • Fit: The most evident problem can be the fit. Needless to say, when the fit is nice and snug, your hearing aids will work best. So when your hearing aids aren’t fitting very well, there can be some pain. Some hearing aid models can be fit to the distinct shape of your ears. The better the fit, the fewer issues you’ll have with pain over the long haul. If you come see us, we can help you get the best fit for your device.
  • Time: Sometimes, it just takes some time to get accustomed to your hearing aids. Each individual will have a different adjustment period. It’s worth talking about when you buy your hearing aids so you have a realistic idea of how long it may take you to become comfortable with your devices. If uncomfortable ears continue, talk to us about that too!

Bypass issues with a little test drive

One of the best ways to prevent possible problems with hearing aids is to take them for a bit of a test drive before you commit. Most of the time we will have loaner pairs for you to try out before you make a decision.

Selecting the correct hearing aids, adjusting them to fit your requirements, and helping with any ongoing problems you may have, are all things we will assist with. In other words, when your devices stop working, you’ll have a resource that can help!

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

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.