Within their tiny structures, hearing aids contain many advanced technological components susceptible to damage from the presence of dirt, wax, and moisture – all of which tend to come near our ears. To keep hearing aid problems and repairs to a minimum, it’s important to clean them on a regular basis, removing any debris or buildup and keeping them as dry as possible. Even so, there are times your hearing aid will malfunction. Following these simple troubleshooting tips can help you determine if a problem is something simple you can fix yourself, or something that will need to be handled by a hearing instrument specialist.

 Problem #1: Your hearing aid is creating a static, feedback or whistling sound

 There are a few possible causes for this common problem. First of all, examine the hearing aid for buildup, debris, wax or moisture that could be blocking the microphone or sound ports. Clean it carefully, make sure it’s dry, and see if the problem goes away naturally. If cleaning doesn’t solve the noise problems, if they fluctuate or gradually get worse, you may need to take the hearing aid to a hearing instrument specialist for repair.

 Secondly, extreme whistling or feedback in a new, clean hearing aid could be caused by a bad fit in the canal. Over time, the ear canal structure may change slightly and also result in a poor fit. Either way, you’ll need to visit the specialist and get the hearing aid adjusted, which should stop the feedback issues.

Problem #2: Your hearing aid isn’t working at all

In this case, you’ll need to work through a series of questions to determine what’s causing the failure:

  • Is it turned on?

It might seem like a silly question, but it must be asked – it’s easy to accidentally turn a hearing aid off without noticing.

  • Is the volume level turned up?

This is another obvious-sounding question, but checking it right away will save you some frustration or a visit to the office. If the volume adjustment is bumped easily, you may be dealing with a recurring problem and need to go with a different model.

  • Does it need new batteries or are they incorrectly inserted?

When was the last time you replaced the batteries? Check for any signs of corrosion or moisture. It’s also a good practice to remove your batteries to let them air out at night, storing them in a dry, clean place. Next, if the batteries are new and in good condition, are they inserted correctly? 

  • If the hearing aid is behind-the-ear (BTE) style, are there signs of wear in in the tubing?

The tubing on BTE hearing aid styles can wear out and get damaged, compromising their function. If you find signs of wear, you’ll need to visit a hearing instrument specialist, who should be able to repair or replace the tubing right in their office.

  • Are there any other cracks, holes, dislodged tubing or other damages you can see?

If you’ve tried all the previous steps and the hearing aid is still not working, inspect it for other signs of damage like cracks, holes or gaps – anything that could cause it to malfunction. Many of these simple issues can be fixed right in a hearing instrument specialist’s office, while other more serious problems may require manufacturer repair or replacement.

Taking good care of your hearing aid and following these easy troubleshooting tips can help you avoid unnecessary visits to the office and expensive repairs due to negligence or improper handling. Most of all, the faster and easier you can troubleshoot your own hearing aid, the sooner you’ll get it fixed and be back to hearing as well as ever.