Student Intern at Chicago Hearing Care
Has your hearing aid suddenly stopped working? Is it just not sounding as good as it once did? Or, are you wondering what you can do to help keep your hearing aid in good shape? Below are some easy steps you can take to troubleshoot and maintain your hearing aids from home. This could save you a trip to the audiologist.
Change the battery
If you think your hearing aid is not working, the first thing to do is change the battery. The battery could be drained from use, or you might have come across a bad battery. Remember to check the expiration date on the pack of batteries you are using. If the batteries are expired, they may not last as long, or they may not work at all. Sometimes, even if the expiration date has not passed, you may come across a bad pack of batteries. You can try using a battery from another pack. Before you put the new battery in the hearing aid, pull off the tab and let the battery sit for two minutes. This allows oxygen to enter, activate, and charge the battery.
If you have a rechargeable hearing aid, make sure your charger is plugged into the wall and the hearing aids are inserted correctly in the charger. You can also try a different outlet if your hearing aids do not seem to be charging. Hearing aids need to charge for a few hours to last a full day, but 20 minutes of charging should be enough for the hearing aids to turn on. Consult the user manual that came with your hearing aids for more information about charge time for your specific hearing aids.
Change your wax filter
Sometimes earwax blocks the speaker of the hearing aid and prevents sound from coming out. Luckily, hearing aids have little screens that prevent the wax from going inside the speaker and clogging it for good. These screens are called wax filters. The wax filter is a little white circle at the end of the speaker on your hearing aid. If your hearing aid has a plastic dome on the end, you will have to take that off to see the wax filter.
You can change your wax filter using the replacement wax filter tools that come with your hearing aid. They will come in a small flat box. The replacement wax filter tools have two ends: one empty end, and one end with a new wax filter. To change a wax filter, take the empty end of the wax filter tool and push it straight into the wax filter on your hearing aid. Pull it straight out to remove the old wax filter. Then, to put on the new one, insert the other end straight into the speaker of the hearing aid. The new wax filter should pop right into place. If you produce a lot of earwax, it is good practice to do this every few weeks as a preventative measure. If you do not produce a lot of earwax, you do not need to do this as often but should do it every couple of months.
Make sure your hearing aids are turned on
Hearing aids with disposable batteries will turn on as soon as you close the battery door. Rechargeable hearing aids, however, can sometimes be trickier. Not all rechargeable hearing aids turn on by themselves when you remove them from the charger. If you are unsure of how to turn on your hearing aids, you can look in the user manual that came with your hearing aids.
Other General Maintenance Tips
Clean the earpiece
Whether you have a hearing aid that goes entirely in your ear, a plastic dome, or a custom earmold at the end of your hearing aid, hearing aids of all styles get dirtied by wax. Visual inspection of your hearing aid can reveal if wax is building up. If you see wax on your hearing aid, you can wipe it off using a tissue.
Wipe off the microphones
The microphones are the part of the hearing aid that picks up the sound, so if dirt or debris accumulates on the microphones, the sound picked up by your hearing aids could be affected. If you have a behind-the-ear style hearing aid, the microphones are on the top and back of the piece that sits behind your ear. If you have an in-the-ear style hearing aid, the microphones are on the face of the hearing aid that faces away from your ear. The microphones can be cleaned by wiping them off with a tissue or the cloth that came with your hearing aids.
Keep your hearing aids in a safe space when they are not in your ears
It is always a good idea to keep your hearing aids in their case or in the charger when they are not in use. Choose a place where your hearing aids are protected when they are not in use and stick to it. A designated hearing aid spot prevents hearing aids from getting lost. A case that closes can help prevent any accidental damage from occurring. If you have hearing aids with disposable batteries, open the battery doors before putting them in the case.
If you have gone through all these steps and your hearing aids still do not sound right, it is a good idea to call your audiologist. These steps are meant as a starting point and are not an exhaustive list of all that can be done. It is also recommended to get your hearing aids cleaned and checked by an audiologist every 6 months to help check for any problems and best maintain your hearing aids.
If you have any questions about how to perform any of these steps, you can make an appointment by calling 312-643-0717. We can teach you how to do these tasks, so you can try them at home next time. We can also email video links to you. You can watch a quick video and use it as a guide.