A hearing aid is one of the best tools for giving yourself greater independence and an enriched and rewarding quality of life. However, you can only enjoy these benefits when you are wearing them, and they are performing correctly, which can be a frustrating challenge for some of my patients in Lubbock and all across the South Plains. To help ease frustrations and provide some extra encouragement, here is a quick guide to some common hearing aid problems and easy troubleshooting tips.

Some Sounds Hurt My Ears

Your brain has become used to processing muffled sounds. So, it is quite a shock for your brain to hear the amplified sounds coming through your hearing aid. For many, the sound of your own voice, chewing and swallowing, or breathing as well as background noises, such as street noise, the hum of the refrigerator motor, or the telephone ringing, may cause discomfort. Take periodic breaks from your hearing aids during the first several weeks to help facilitate adjusting to them, and consider reading aloud to get used to the volume and clarity of your voice. 

Stop the Whistling Sound!

One of the most uncomfortable sounds produced by some hearing aids is whistling and squealing.  These sounds are the same as the acoustic feedback heard with poorly adjusted sound equipment and relate to a variety of problems, including:

  • Improper Positioning in the Ear. Readjust or reposition the unit in your ear. Use a mirror to ensure proper insertion until it becomes second nature.
  • Volume Too High. If repositioning does not solve the problem, slightly decrease the volume.
  • Interference. Hair, a scarf, a hat, or some other item touching the microphone can touch off feedback as well, so readjust accordingly.
  • Case Damage/Loose Wires. Inspect your device periodically and bring it in if you note damage or loose wires.

I’m Not Getting Any Sound

This is a common problem for those adjusting to new hearing aids. It usually comes from any of several problems, including:

  • Unit Turned Off. Although embarrassing to admit, this is a common problem when adjusting to new hearing aids.
  • Volume Too Low. When turning down the volume due to uncomfortable sounds, you might have turned it down too far to receive any sound.
  • Wax or Debris Blockage. Daily cleaning helps head off this issue, keeping the speaker and/or microphone clear and functioning as designed.
  • Dead Battery. Replace the battery or recharge the unit (some models).

My Hearing Aids Are Uncomfortable to Wear

Just like with eyeglasses and dental appliances, hearing aids require some getting used to. The added weight and pressure (though minimal) of a hearing aid affects blood vessels, skin, and muscles in and around your outer ear, causing discomfort. Help your body to adjust by wearing your hearing aids as long as you can support them each day, but take periodic breaks to let your body rest. If discomfort continues for an extended period, you might need to bring your hearing aids in to see if they are damaged or improperly formed to the contour of your ear. Additionally, those who wear two hearing aids should check to see that the hearing aid for the left ear (blue mark) is in the left ear, and the one for the right ear (red mark) is in the right ear.

Cornerstone Hearing Is Eager to Help

I want you to get the most out of life and experience the very best possible advantages provided by your hearing aids. Make use of these troubleshooting tips to keep your instrument performing as designed, but feel free to take advantage of the Cornerstone Hearing team and me for additional troubleshooting support. Contact us for more troubleshooting tips and technical support or make an appointment to have one of our technicians take a look at your hearing aids.

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Dr. Christina Au.D., CCC-A Doctor of Audiology, ABA Board Certified Audiologist

Dr. Christina Au.D., CCC-A Doctor of Audiology, ABA Board Certified Audiologist

A West Texas native, Dr. Corrales strives to improve the quality of her patients’ lives through better hearing. She received her bachelor of science degree in speech, language, and hearing sciences, as well as her doctorate of audiology from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC). Dr. Corrales is board certified through the American Board of Audiology and is a member of the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).