Getting used to using hearing aids is never easy. In fact, without proper guidance and encouragement, it can be downright frustrating. Like new braces or new glasses, there is an adjustment period to hearing aids as well as a need for some general knowledge about how to troubleshoot various issues. I have put together the three most common hearing aid problems and how you can troubleshoot them.

There’s No Sound

The most common cause of this issue for new users is accidentally turning it off or turning it down too low. To fix the first problem, check to make sure that the unit is on. If it is on, then it is likely that the volume is too low to provide any sound amplification. Adjust the volume until you note that the sound of your own voice or others is at a comfortable level. A third possibility is a dead battery. Many modern hearing aids are rechargeable, which means that all you have to do is put the unit on its recharger. Some models require changing batteries. You can do this yourself if your fingers have the dexterity to accomplish this task, ask someone else to help, or bring it into the clinic and let one of our techs do it for you. Finally, the buildup of debris or earwax can block the transmitter. Cleaning and keeping your hearing aid clean can help prevent this from happening.

Uncomfortable Sounds

One of the first issues most people report within the first few days of wearing a hearing aid is loudness or discomfort from background noises or their own voice. Keep in mind that your ears receive the sounds, but your brain interprets them. Before you had your hearing aid, your brain heard all sounds at a muffled level and made adjustments to accommodate. With hearing aids, your brain continues to interpret as it was before, but your hearing aid amplifies sounds and its overcompensation becomes painful. With time, your brain will adjust. To facilitate adjustment and speed up the process, try reading aloud two or three times per day.

Whistling

This is a separate theme relating to uncomfortable sounds coming from your hearing aid, but these have to do with the unit, not your brain. A whistling hearing aid has the same issue as feedback from a sound system. There are four main problems to address:

  • Adjust the sound of the unit. Lowering the volume can get rid of this issue.
  • Make sure any clothing or hair is not brushing against the unit.
  • Keep the receiver and transmitter clean of earwax and other debris.
  • Check the positioning of the hearing aid in your ear. Use a mirror when you are putting on your hearing aid to make sure you are doing it correctly. If you have two hearing aids, make sure the left hearing aid (with the blue mark) is in the left ear and the right hearing aid (with the red mark) is in your right ear.

If none of these troubleshooting tips fix the problem, it could be a loose wire, crack, or other mechanical issue. Bring it in to one of our techs for repair.

Uncomfortable Fit

All new hearing aid wearers must go through a period of discomfort in the beginning. As lightweight and streamlined as modern hearing aids are, they are still strange to your body, and it will need some time to adjust. Within a week or so, the discomfort should go away. To help get used to your hearing aid, you can take it out for a few minutes, massage the area, and then put the device back in.

Knowing how to troubleshoot problems with your hearing aids is an important part of getting used to wearing them and getting the most benefit out of them. Although adapting has its frustrations, the benefits of greater independence and a better quality of life are plenty of motivation to continue wearing your device. The team and I at Coastal Hearing Center are available to help educate you on how to troubleshoot and care for your hearing aids or provide ongoing technical support and repair when you need some extra help.

Contact us for more information about troubleshooting your hearing aids, or set up an appointment by contacting Coastal Hearing Center in either Biloxi or Gulfport.


Dr. Karen Slater Audiologist

Dr. Karen Slater Audiologist

Dr. Karen Slater has been practicing on the coast since 1991 and is co-owner of Coastal Hearing Center. Dr. Slater received her bachelor of science and master of science from the University of Southern Mississippi and her doctorate of audiology from the University of Florida.