Senior Assistant Technical Officer
If you are a user of hearing aids or a hearing device, at some point you may experience that your hearing aid stops working, becomes faulty or even broken. If the device is not able to perform as well as it should then the user is once again not hearing as well as he/she was with working hearing aids. This, in turn, interferes with the hearing loss and, at times, can aggravate existing hearing problems.
Despite their small size, hearing devices contain a lot of sophisticated parts that perform an advanced function. If you suspect your hearing aids need to be repaired, there are certain steps you can take or things to look for before calling your hearing healthcare professional.
However, despite your best efforts, you may still need a hearing aid repair at some point but learning methods to be able to spot issues and maintain your hearing aids are extremely useful.
There are many different types of hearing aids available, in this blog we will be discussing ways to keep your hearing device in top shape to avoid issues
Firstly, check to ensure the hearing aid is turned on, this may seem simple, but check anyway, especially if you are a new user still getting used to wearing and operating your hearing aids.
Also, check the battery: If you use disposable batteries, make sure your batteries are correctly positioned in the hearing aids. Check the batteries are right type/size. Test your batteries or try fresh ones to make sure the problem isn't with the batteries. If your hearing aid batteries suddenly don't last very long, it can indicate you need a repair.
If you have volume control, make sure the hearing aids volume is at the appropriate level and wasn’t accidentally turned down or altered.
If you have BTE (behind-the-ear) hearing aid model, inspect the tubing: BTE tubing can sometimes become damaged or worn over time. Transparent flexible tubing connects from the plastic ear hook/elbow, sound is then transmitted from the processor to a custom plastic ear mould to the ear canal. If the hearing aid tubing shows any signs of wear and tear or breakage, the tubing needs to be completely replaced. The hearing aid tubing can harden, become brittle and inflexible if not changed regularly.
Other Behind the ear hearing aids have slim tubes; a thin plastic tube with a dome. These can be unscrewed and separated from device and cleaned using a thin plastic cleaning wire.
RIC (receiver-in-ear) hearing aids have a wire that is covered with flexible plastic. Inside the tip, there is a small speaker on the wire and small domes inserted into the ear. The most common issue users have is the receiver becoming blocked. The small speaker has a wax trap/guard that can be changed if blocked. These small domes can be removed and cleaned.
Both Behind The Ear and Receiver-In-ear hearing aids have microphones usually located on top of the device which receives the sound. These microphones can become blocked resulting in low output, the mics need to be carefully cleaned using a small, bristled brush or dry wiped.
Other issues, patients/users experience is feedback or high-pitched whistling when wearing the aid. This is usually an indication that the ears have become clogged with excess ear wax.
Like any electronic device, a hearing aid requires careful handling and regular servicing. Taking care of your device daily, can help maximize the performance and longevity of the hearing aid.
Of course, over time the hearing aid performance can deteriorate. Various effects can appear that interfere with the normal use of the device. For example, the output of the device is low, or the volume level is insufficient. If these problems arise, it is recommended the hearing aid is repaired or serviced by your hearing aid provider.
Hearing aid problems can directly exacerbate ongoing hearing issues whilst also stopping the user from hearing as well as they could whilst using high performing hearing devices. To avoid this, learning methods to be able to clean and maintain the hearing aids are extremely useful.
The parts that need cleaning within a hearing aid will depend on the type and model of your hearing device, however we have listed below some of the more common cleaning methods.
Most common hearing aids are behind-the-ear. This hearing aid device sits over the top of the outer ear and rests behind the ear. Transparent flexible tubing connects from the plastic ear hook/elbow, sound is then transmitted from the processor to a custom plastic ear mould to the ear canal.
The mould can be cleaned on a daily or regular basis using anti-bacterial, skin friendly wipes or a dry, clean cloth or tissue. Hearing aid cleaning spray or wipes can be bought. Using water to clean or soak the mould/tubing is not advisable as this can lead to condensation in the tubing that can affect the sound. Patients and users can re-tube the mould themselves if needed.
RIC (receiver-in-ear) hearing aids have a wire that is covered with flexible plastic. Inside the tip, there is a small speaker on the wire and small domes inserted into the ear. The most common issue users have is the receiver becoming blocked. The small speaker has a wax trap/guard that can be changed if blocked. The domes can be removed and cleaned.
Both BTE and RIC aids have microphones usually located on the top the device which pick up sound. These can become blocked resulting in low output, the mics need to be carefully cleaned using a small, bristled brush or dry wiped.
If you are experiencing hearing aid issues or think that your hearing device might be broken, please do not hesitate to contact us!