Hearing Aids Can Malfunction in These Three Ways

Man having troubles with his hearing aids while trying to communicate with his friend.

Have you ever been watching your favorite Netflix movie when your internet suddenly disappears? You sit and watch that spinning circle instead of finding out who won that cooking competition. And so you just wait. Is it your internet provider, modem, router, or perhaps it will simply come back on its own? It sort of stinks.

When technology malfunctions, it can be very aggravating. The same is certainly true of your hearing aids. The majority of the time, your hearing aids will give you the means to stay connected to loved ones, have conversations with co-workers, and keep up with your neighbors.

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

Hearing aids can often have three common issues

Even though hearing aids are complex technology, people might encounter three common issues with them. Here’s what could be causing those issues (and what you can do to fix them).

Whistling and feedback

Perhaps you suddenly start 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 some feedback. And so you think, “Why do I hear whistling in my hearing aids? This is strange”.

Here are three potential issues that could be causing this feedback and whistling:

  • Earwax buildup in your ear canal can compromise the way your hearing aid functions. You’ll notice this comes up fairly regularly. Whistling and feedback are often one outcome of this type of earwax accumulation. If possible, you can attempt to clean some earwax out of your ear or consult with us about the best method to do that (don’t use a cotton swab).
  • 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 may find some short-term relief, but it also likely means that the fit isn’t quite right and you should consult us about it).
  • For those who wear behind-the-ear hearing aids, the tubing that connects your earmold with your hearing aid might have become compromised. Try to examine this tubing as closely as possible and make certain nothing is loose and the tube doesn’t appear damaged.

If these issues aren’t easily resolved, it’s worth talking to us about correcting the fit or sending your device in for maintenance (depending on what we think the root cause of that whistling or feedback may be).

Hearing aids not generating sound

Your hearing aids should make, well, sound. That’s what they’re made to do! So if you find yourself thinking, “I don’t hear any sound in my hearing aid,” well, then something is definitely not right. So what could cause hearing aids to lose all sound? Well, there are a few things:

  • Your settings: If you have them, cycle through your personalized settings. It’s feasible your hearing devices are not on the right custom setting (so perhaps your hearing aids think you’re in a gymnasium instead of at the kitchen table). This incorrect setting could throw off the sound you’re hearing.
  • Batteries: Be sure your batteries are fully charged. And whether your batteries are rechargeable or not, it might be worth swapping them out for new ones.
  • Power: Look, we’ve all disregarded turning the hearing aids on before. Check for this first. This possible issue can then be eliminated..
  • Earwax buildup: Here we go again with the earwax! Take a close look to see if you come across any earwax on the microphone or speakers. Keep your device very clean.

If these steps don’t help with your issues, we may have the answers. Whether repair, maintenance, or replacement is your next step, we will be able to help you figure that out.

Painful ears while you’re wearing your hearing aids

What if your hearing aids are working fine, but every time you put them in your ears, your ears begin aching? And you’re probably thinking: why do my ears ache when I wear my hearing aids? You’re not as likely to use your hearing aids every day if they hurt your ears. So, why do they ache?

  • Fit: The fit of the device is the most obvious issue. 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. Many hearing aids can be tailored to your specific ears. Over the long run, you will have fewer problems if you have a good 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 some time. How long it takes will depend on the person. It’s worth talking about when you buy your hearing aids so you have a reasonable idea of how long it might take you to get comfortable with your devices. If uncomfortable ears remain, speak with us about that too!

Take your new hearing aid out for a test ride

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

As a matter of fact, we can help you ascertain the best type of hearing aid for your needs, adjust the fit to match your ears, and help you handle any extended issues you might have with your devices. We will be your resource for any help you need.

And that’s a lot more than you will get from 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.