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Help!! What's Wrong with My Hearing Aid?

Do you know what to do if your hearing aid stops working? Before calling your audiologist - Try some at home tips or look on our website for How-To Video Tutorials.




Hi, I'm Jim Cuddy. And this is Ask The Hearing Doctors and I'm joined today by Dr. Travis Stehouwer, doctor of audiology with Hearing Doctors. The Washington DC area's highest-rated audiology practice with over 1,500, five-star reviews. Travis, great to see you. Thank you, you too. Well thank you.


So, I'm having terrible time with my hearing aids. I don't know what to do. They've stopped working. Do I need to call my audiologist or are there things that I can do before I call my audiologist?


There's certainly some things you can try. So first just don't panic. It'll all be fine. No one will die. Uh it's probably just clogged with wax, or you know maybe needs a new battery. And there are some very easy troubleshooting steps that you can try before giving us a call. And of course, if that doesn't work, we'd love to see you and we'll make sure it gets working. 


Yeah. Sorry so let's talk about some of those things. Let's talk I guess cleaning them would be one? Yeah. What's the proper way to go about clearing or cleaning your hearing aids?


Yes, so we do recommend some regular maintenance. The more often you follow the directions of your audiologist to clean them, I usually recommend a few times a week. It does depend a little bit on your hearing aid and how much wax you make and a few things like that. But it can be very helpful to just give them some brushing um and the exact parts your audiologist should maybe go over you know the speaker and the microphone to clean them up. But you should have a brush to clean them. A soft dry cloth can be helpful to wipe them off if they're getting a little oily or waxy. You don't necessarily want to use a tissue because the little fibers can kind of come apart and clog up the hearing aid. So, you should just just a soft dry cloth. You don't want to use any water or any alcohol wipes to clean them because that can actually do some damage to the hearing aids. So, there are some wipes that are made specifically for hearing aids, Audio Wipes, that you can get from your audiologist to clean them. But sometimes just brushing is enough. But it depends.


Now I know my my my hearing aids are charged but I'm not quite sure if I'm hearing properly or not. Is there anything I can kind of test real, quickly before I make that phone call?


Yeah, so usually the easiest way I think is to just do a little scratch on the microphone. So, whether your microphone is on top or in the ear just a little bit of scratching and you should be able to hear a pretty distinct, clear sound out of it. And if you're not hearing that then you know something's not working right.


And then it's time to make the phone call, right? Sure.


Um, how important is it to really understand the different parts of your hearing aid?


Yeah, it's definitely helpful and that's why you always want to ask questions whenever you're you're there for the fitting or the follow-up or the six-month check-up that we do. Uh just ask you know if you're not entirely sure what parts you should be cleaning or um you don't quite remember. You know there's a lot that we go over at the fitting and the follow-up so if you don't remember every last detail uh I'm not entirely surprised. But that's what we're here for to to review how to clean that because we want your hearing aids to last as long as possible and to have you have to come in or send them in for repair as infrequently as possible.


You know and I think it is important to point out that you you do go over this with with with patients you know before they walk out so you're not just sending them off out on their own.  Good luck. Yeah right. None of that here. But it is a lot to remember and there's a lot to to try and and take in certainly um and obviously this doesn't happen very often where they just completely go out on you and that kind of thing. 


Um what are some other things you can do I mean it's got to be like I guess as basic as checking your batteries?


Yes, there have been a few times and I won't name names. The patients have come in and said my hearing aids aren't working and it turns out all that was wrong was the battery was dead. So, it is possible that even if you put one in recently that maybe that particular one is a dud, and it just didn't last as long or might even be dead right in the packaging. It is you do want to look at the packaging especially if you get them somewhere other than us. They can sit for a long time on the supermarket shelf. So it could be that if you got the hearing aid somewhere or the the batteries from somewhere other than us it might already be close to the expiration date or past it and then it's a lot more likely that those those batteries aren't working.


And I've done all of these things. I've taken all of these at home steps I'm still not hearing anything.


It could be your wax guard. So, depending on how much wax you make we might give a recommendation about exactly how often to change the wax guard. But if the hearing aid's not working, I would suggest trying that. You know maybe it's clogged especially if you can see it. If you look at it and you can see there seems to be some wax in there. That it could just be that. The hearing aid actually is on it's just that it's not making any sound because the wax is totally clogging the speaker. 


So once I've done everything that we've talked about here today, I still don't have any luck. I've even done the the wax guard, now it's time to make that phone call?


Yeah. We'd love to see you and we'll make sure it gets working. 


Sounds good Travis. Thanks again for being with us. You're welcome. 


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