If you fancy yourself a handyperson and know the difference between socket, adjustable, and Allen wrenches, you might be tempted to tinker with your hearing aids should they suddenly quit working. While a DIY mentality is admirable, your Las Vegas audiologist doesn’t recommend attempting to repair hearing aids yourself; they are sophisticated instruments with complex internal circuitry and doing so could void the warranty. October is National Audiology Awareness Month, and we’d like to take the opportunity to let you know there are a number of troubleshooting techniques you can try that might resolve any issues you are having without the need to send your hearing aids in for repair.
There’s no getting around the fact that hearing aids are a major investment. For those with hearing loss, it’s money well spent; hearing aids help the majority of people with impaired hearing communicate more effectively and enjoy a better quality of life. While they are designed to last for a long time – 5-7 years is typical – hearing aids are exposed to harsh conditions on a daily basis. Heat, moisture, earwax, and dirt all take their toll, making it likely that at some point you’ll encounter a situation where they no longer perform as optimally as before. Routine maintenance procedures will go a long way toward extending the life of your hearing aids.
The best preventive strategy involves a little elbow grease. You’ll want to clean your hearing aids every day using a soft, dry cloth. Avoid water, solvents, cleaning fluids, and alcohol, unless you’re toasting to a job well done afterward, because moisture is the enemy. Your Las Vegas audiologist can provide you with a multi-tool, a sort of Swiss Army Knife for your hearing aids that can help you clean those hard-to-reach places. It includes a wire loop, magnet, and brush (but sadly, no miniature pair of scissors or toothpick), and is useful for removing wax and dirt from nooks and crannies. Even your best efforts won’t yield perfect results, so we recommend you schedule a clean-and-check appointment with your audiologist in Nevada at least once a year.
Keeping your hearing aids clean will help, but occasionally you’ll still encounter problems. Some of the more common ones – and solutions you can try at home for resolving them – include:
- Feedback/whistling. If you experience a high-pitched whining when inserting your hearing aids, and you can rule out a child in the general vicinity, you might have simply inserted the devices incorrectly. Try taking them out and putting them back in again. If this doesn’t do the trick, earwax might be clogging the ports. Clean them thoroughly and see if that helps.
- Distortion/muffled sound. If the sound coming through your hearing aids is distorted or unclear, your battery or contacts might be dirty or corroded. Often, simply opening and reclosing the battery compartment door resolves the problem. If not, try cleaning the battery surfaces and/or replacing the battery. Also make sure you haven’t inadvertently turned on your hearing aids’ telecoil (T-coil) mode.
- No sound. We hate to sound like Captain Obvious here, but please make sure your battery hasn’t died. If not, check to see if the microphone or a sound outlet is clogged, and try changing the wax filter.
Many times, these simple steps will clear up your problem. If not, PUT AWAY THE TOOLBOX and call your Las Vegas audiologist instead. They’ll either be able to repair your hearing aids in the office or send them away to the manufacturer. The cost will depend on the extent of damage, parts and labor, and any warranty coverage.
For more information on hearing aid maintenance and repair, or to learn more about National Audiology Awareness Month, contact your audiologist today!