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 getting to the best part of your favorite Netflix movie? You sit there and watch that spinning circle instead of finding out who won that cooking competition. All you can do is wait around for it to come back. Maybe it’s your modem, might be your router, possibly it’s the internet company, or possibly it’ll just fix itself. It kind of stinks.

When technology malfunctions, it can be really frustrating. Your hearing aids certainly fall into this category. The majority of the time, your hearing aids will provide you with the means to remain connected to loved ones, have conversations with co-workers, and keep up with your neighbors.

But when they quit working, your hearing loss symptoms can suddenly become much more frustrating. The technology you’re depending on has let you down. Why would your hearing aids just stop working? So how do you deal with that? Here are the three common ways your hearing aids can malfunction and how to troubleshoot and identify them.

Hearing aids can often have three common issues

Hearing aids are sophisticated devices. Even still, there are some common issues that people with hearing aids might experience. Let’s take a look at possible causes of these issues and potential fixes.

Whistling and feedback

Perhaps you suddenly begin to hear a terrible high-pitched whistling while you’re attempting to have a conversation with a friend or family member. Or perhaps you notice a bit of feedback. And so you think, “Why do I hear whistling in my hearing aids? This is odd”.

Whistling and feedback can be caused by these possible problems:

  • For people who use behind-the-ear hearing aids, the tubing that attaches your earmold with your hearing aid might have become compromised. Have a close look to see if the tube might have separated or might be damaged somehow.
  • You might not have your hearing aids seated properly in your ears. Try to remove them and re-seat them. You can also try turning the volume down (if this works, you might find some temporary relief, but it also likely means that the fit is indeed not quite right and you should talk to us about it).
  • The functionality of your hearing aid can be impacted by earwax buildup in your ear canal. This is a rather common one. Whistling and feedback are frequently one result of this sort of earwax accumulation. You can try to clear some of the earwax out (never use a cotton swab) and if that fails, you can get some help from us.

If these problems aren’t easily resolved, it’s worth consulting with us about adjusting the fit or sending your device in for maintenance (depending on what we determine the underlying cause of that whistling or feedback might be).

No sound coming from your hearing aids

The main objective of hearing aids is to produce sound. That’s their principal function! Something has certainly gone wrong if you don’t hear any sound coming out of your hearing aid. So what could be the cause when hearing aids work but no sound comes out? Well, there are a couple of things:

  • Power: Everyone forgets to turn their hearing aids on once in a while. Make certain that isn’t the problem. This possible issue can then be eliminated..
  • Earwax buildup: Yup, earwax strikes again. Take a close look to see if you come across any earwax on the speakers or microphone. Keep your device very clean.
  • Your settings: If you have them, cycle through your custom settings. It’s possible your hearing devices are on the wrong custom program (so perhaps your hearing aids think you’re in a concert hall instead of around the kitchen table). This balance could throw off the sound you’re hearing.
  • Batteries: If you have rechargeable batteries, be sure that they are fully charged. And whether your batteries are rechargeable or not, it may be worth swapping them out for fresh ones.

We’re here for you if these steps don’t clear your issues up. We’ll be able to help you determine the next steps, and whether maintenance, repair, or replacement is needed.

When you have your hearing aids in, your ears hurt

Perhaps your hearing aids are fine functionally but they hurt when they’re in your ears. And you’re most likely thinking: why do my ears ache when I wear my hearing aids? This kind of discomfort isn’t exactly conducive to using your hearing aids over the long term. So, why do they hurt?

  • Fit: The fit of the device is the most obvious problem. After all, the majority of hearing aids work best when the fit is nice and snug. So when your hearing aids aren’t fitting very well, there can be some pain. Some models of hearing aid can be fit to the particular shape of your ears. Over the long haul, you will have fewer problems if you have a snug fit. If you come see us, we can help you achieve the best fit for your device.
  • Time: Getting used to your hearing aids will take a little while. How long it takes will depend on the person. It’s worth talking about when you purchase your hearing aids so you have a reasonable idea of how long it might take you to become comfortable with your devices. If uncomfortable ears remain, talk to us about that as well!

Take your new hearing aid out for a test ride

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

Selecting the right hearing aids, adjusting them to fit your needs, and helping with any ongoing issues you might have, are all things we will help 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.