Caring for your hearing aids properly is an important part of owning the devices. Protecting your investment in not only your hearing health, but also the technology assisting you can ensure that your devices can stand the test of time.
Outlined here are care and troubleshooting tips for hearing aids. Ask your audiologist how you can obtain a few items to get started: a listening tube, battery tester, a forced air blower, and a drying container.
Perform daily hearing checks. Listening to the hearing aids performance every day is a great way to make sure you are hearing clear sound. Listen to the hearing aids through the listening tube to make sure the sound is not weak or scratchy. Your audiologist can teach you how to check for internal feedback and intermittency with your device.
Check your batteries. Hearing aid batteries typically last about a week or two. Having a battery tester can keep you from being caught off guard in case your batteries are becoming weaker. It is also a great idea to always have spare batteries with you, kept in a cool, dry place. When changing batteries, handle them carefully, as they are toxic, and dispose of them properly. Many electronic stores offer battery recycling or disposal services.
Before using new batteries, make sure to remove the tab before inserting it into your hearing aid. Be sure to line place the positive (+) in the proper position according to the manufacturer. These tips may seem like no-brainers, but simple oversight can sometimes lead to frustration later on.
Keep your hearing aids clean. Using a soft, dry cloth, remove dirt and debris from your hearing aids and earmolds. Earmolds can be removed for cleaning, just be sure they are dry before joining them to the device again. Additionally, you can use a dry cloth or get a special cleaning tool from your hearing doctor if you have a dome-shaped ear piece.
Protect hearing aids from moisture. Keeping your hearing aids dry is important to them functioning at their best. Hearing aid drying containers are available to help protect your devices from moisture, thereby extending the life of your investment. Be sure to remove the batteries before placing them into the storage case. If you are out in the elements, you can use a water-resistant sleeve or pouch to protect your hearing aids from water and dirt, as well.
Avoid Feedback. If you hear feedback in your hearing aids, a few things could be happening. Feedback is often a high-pitched whistling sound resulting from amplified sound escaping the earmold and reentering the microphone. If the hearing aid is securely fitted in your ear, you should not hear feedback. Feedback can also occur if the earmold is too small or if there is a buildup of earwax in the ear canal.
If you experience feedback after troubleshooting the above scenarios, you can check that the volume is not excessively high and ensure that the microphone is not obstructed by anything—clothing, accessories, et cetera. These tips can often be solutions, but in the event you are still left with the electronic whine, contact your audiologist for help.
There is rarely a convenient time for your hearing aid to begin to fail, but if it should happen you can have some information on hand to work toward a solution.
First, make sure the device has not been accidentally switched off. Similarly, check the volume, whether it is controlled by a physical dial on your hearing aid or digitally on your phone. A mistake could have reduced the volume in either instance.
Next, double check that the batteries are installed properly. If so, use a battery tester to make sure they are still functioning at their best. If it has been between one or two weeks, it could be time for replacements.
You can also check that any tubing is not bent or twisted and that it is connected properly. Make sure to clear any receiver or vent openings of debris or wax. The microphone should be similarly clear of wax and debris.
In the event of distorted or intermittent sound, check the tubing for cracks or holes. Perform a similar check if you use a hearing assistive device. This issue should be resolved by a hearing health care professional.