When a hearing aid stops working, it is rarely broken. Here are some tips to get to the bottom of this frustrating problem.
Help! My hearing aid isn’t working. What should I do?
Check the battery
First, make sure that your hearing aid has a fresh battery installed or, if you have a rechargeable hearing aid, that it is properly charged. For hearing aid batteries, make sure the pack of batteries you’re using has not yet expired (yes, batteries have an expiration date and this can be located in small print on the back of the battery pack!). It is a good idea to use batteries that don’t expire for a few years.
For rechargeable hearing aids, make sure that your hearing aid is sitting properly in the charging dock and that your charger is plugged in. You will see an indicator light illuminated on your hearing aid or charger when it is in place and charging properly.
Once you have ensured that your hearing aid battery is fresh, or that your hearing aid has been properly charged, check to see if it is working again.
Clean your hearing aid and replace the wax guard
In order for a hearing aid to work properly, it has to be free of any debris build-up. Over time, ear wax can build up on the part of the hearing aid that sits in your ear canal, which can fully block sound or can cause unwanted squealing. The process of cleaning your hearing aid will differ slightly depending on which type of hearing aid you use. First, you want to change the wax guard - a small screen that traps wax and can become fully clogged. Changing the wax guard is achieved using a specific tool in your hearing aid kit. For custom hearing aids that have a vent in them (a small tube that runs the length of the in ear piece), ensure that the vent is fully cleared of any blockage by flossing the proper tool through it (also found in your hearing aid cleaning kit). For behind-the-ear hearing aids that are attached to tubing, check if there is a visible blockage or crack in the tubing (if so, this tube will need to be replaced by your audiologist).
Once you have checked your battery, cleaned your hearing aid, and properly replaced the wax guard, there is a very good chance that your hearing aid will be working again! If not, don’t panic. Contact your hearing aid clinic to book an in-person appointment. The clinic may have the tools necessary to deep-clean the hearing aid and/or replace any defective parts. If not, your audiologist can send your hearing aid in to the manufacturer to be repaired.
“The next time your hearing aid stops working, take a deep breath and remember these helpful tips. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to contact your hearing aid clinic for guidance and support. We are here to help you.”
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