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Hearing aid troubleshooting


Hearing aid dead or not functioning

  Possible cause Solution
1. Battery is low or dead Replace battery with fresh one, ensuring tab is removed
2. Battery is inserted the wrong way around Replace battery correct way round
3. Battery door not fully closed Ensure battery is inserted correctly and door is completely closed
4. Dirty battery contacts Consult your Australian Hearing Centre
5. Volume is turned down Increase volume by turning up dial to correct volume setting
6. The hearing aid is on the wrong program Check the program switch/button is set to M
7. Wax accumulation in ear mould Remove wax from mould with cleaning tool and clean thoroughly
8. Wax in the tube Clear tube of any wax using thin line or air puffer
9. Blocked sound port/ear hook Remove tube and clear any debris from ear hook. Remove ear hook and gently clean receiver
10. Blocked microphone Clean carefully with a dry cloth
11. Moisture in tubing Use air puffer to blow out moisture or leave in a warm spot to dry
12. Non-functioning hearing aid Consult your Australian Hearing Centre

  1. Batteries have a limited life depending on age and usage. Ensuring hearing aid is turned off when not in use will prolong the life of the battery. If a new battery is required only remove the tab prior to inserting into hearing aid.
  2. Batteries are designed to be inserted only one way. An incorrectly inserted battery will not function and may damage the battery compartment. Ensure that the positive terminal (+) lines up with the positive mark (+) on the hearing aid. If the battery door does not close easily, do not force or you may cause damage – instead inspect that the battery is the correct way and attempt again.
  3. Ensure that the battery door has been completely closed so that the battery has contacted with the terminals inside. If the battery door does not close easily, do not force but check that the battery is inserted the correct way.
  4. Batteries can occasionally leak and moisture can enter the hearing aid, both causing corrosion of the battery terminals. If this is present, consult your Australian Hearing Centre as internal damage may be caused if cleaning is attempted.
  5. The volume dial of a hearing aid can increase and decrease the volume for listening comfort. Ensure that the volume is not set too low so as the aid appears not to be working. Alternatively, some hearing aids reset the volume to the centre when the battery door is opened and closed again.
  6. Ensure that the hearing aid is set to the microphone (M) program and has not been accidentally be set to off (O) or telecoil (T).
  7. Ear wax can accumulate in the end of the ear mould and the tube that runs through the mould. Remove the mould from the hearing aid and using a wax removal tool or cleaning brush, pick the wax out of the nib of the mould and push the remainder from the tube with a thin piece of line. The mould can then be washed as per instructions mentioned earlier. Ensure that the mould is completely dry before attaching it to the hearing aid.
  8. Visually inspect the tube for any wax or debris that may be present. If blockage present remove tubing and ear mould from hearing aid and thread thin line through until the blockage is removed. Alternatively, use an air puffer to blow debris out.
  9. To inspect the ear hook of any debris, remove tubing from hearing aid unscrew ear hook. Gently brush the receiver with the cleaning brush remove any accumulation from the ear hook.
  10. The microphones may become clogged with dirt or environmental debris. If any particles are present, gently brush away with cleaning brush or gently wipe with a dry cloth. If the filters are dirty or the dirt cannot be removed easily, consult with a hearing aid professional.
  11. Moisture can accumulate in the tubing of a hearing aid. This appears as water droplets and can cause issues with sound transmission. To remove the moisture, disconnect the tubing and the mould from the hearing aid and using an air puffer, blow the moisture out. Alternatively, the tubing can be placed in a warm place, away from direct sunlight and heat to dry.
  12. If all above examples fail, then a non-functioning hearing aid should be returned to your Australian Hearing Centre for expert evaluation.

Hearing aid whistling

  Possible causes Solution
1. Ear mould incorrectly inserted Insert ear mould correctly for snug fit
2. Loose or poorly fitting ear mould Contact your Australian Hearing Centre
3. Split tubing Contact your Australian Hearing Centre
4. Internal hearing aid issue Contact your Australian Hearing Centre
5. Ear wax in ear canal Contact your local doctor

Whistling or feedback occurs when the amplified sound that the hearing aid produces is picked up by the hearing aid microphone and re-amplified. This sound is then again picked up and amplified again. This continues and eventually the sound turns into a high pitched whistle. To alleviate the sound feeding back onto itself, the hearing aid microphone must not be able to pick up any amplified sound coming from the ear mould. Please note that due to the severity of some hearing losses, the person wearing the hearing aid may not notice that their hearing aid is whistling. It is, therefore, important to let them know and assist with the issue.

The following are example of what to do if whistling or feedback occurs.

  1. An ear mould not inserted correctly into the ear may allow sound to leak from around the edges of the mould. This sound can then be picked up by the hearing aid microphone and amplified again and again causing whistling. A correctly positioned and tight fitting ear mould does not allow the sound to escape, therefore stopping the whistling. If a tight seal cannot be achieved a water-based lubricant may be applied to the hearing aid mould to assist with sealing.
  2. A loosely fitting ear mould allows the amplified sound to escape and picked up by the hearing aid microphone. This sound is then re-amplified again and again causing a high pitched whistle. If the ear mould is too small or does not fit the ear shape, a new mould will need to be made. Please your Australian Hearing Centre for this.
  3. If there is a split in the tubing of the hearing aid then the amplified sound can escape and be picked up by the hearing aid microphone. This sound is then re-amplified again and again causing a high pitched whistle. If this has occurred please contact your Australian Hearing Centre for the hearing aid to be re-tubed.
  4. If the hearing aid is whistling when not in the ear, remove the tubing and earmould from the ear hook. Press your finger over the open end of the ear hook. If the hearing aid continues to whistle please your Australian Hearing Centre for the hearing aid to be examined as there may be an internal issue present.
  5. If excess wax is present in the ear canal, this can block the path of the amplified sound and cause the hearing aid to pick up the sound instead. This sound is then re-amplified again and again causing a high pitched whistle. If there is no obvious reason as to why the hearing aid is feeding back, please contact your local doctor or physician to have the ears examined and cleaned, if necessary.

Hearing aid is too quiet

  Possible causes Solution
1. Battery is low or dead Replace battery with fresh one, ensuring the tab is removed
2. Volume is turned down Increase volume by turning up dial
3. Wax accumulation in ear mould Remove wax from mould with cleaning took and clean thoroughly
4. Moisture in tubing Use air puffer to blow out moisture or leave in warm spot to dry
5. Ear wax in ear canal Contact your local doctor
6. Change in hearing Contact your Australian Hearing Centre

  1. Batteries have a limited life depending on age and usage. Ensuring the hearing aid is turned off when not in use will prolong the life of the battery. If a new battery is required only remove the tab prior to inserting into hearing aid.
  2. The volume dial of a hearing aid can increase and decrease the volume for listening comfort. Ensure that the volume is not set too low so as the aid appears not to be working. Alternatively, some hearing aids reset the volume to the centre when the battery door is opened and closed again.
  3. Ear wax can accumulate in the end of the ear mould and the tube that runs through the mould. Remove the mould from the hearing aid and using a wax removal tool or cleaning brush, pick the wax out of the nib of the mould and push the remainder from the tube with a thin piece of line. The mould should be removed from the hearing aid and washed in warm soapy water. Ensure that the mould is completely dry before reattaching it to the hearing aid.
  4.  Moisture can accumulate in the tubing of a hearing aid. This appears as water droplets and can cause issues with sound transmission. To remove the moisture, disconnect the tubing and the mould from the hearing aid and using an air puffer, blow the moisture out. Alternatively, the tubing can be placed in a warm place, away from direct sunlight and heat to dry.
  5. If excess wax is present in the ear canal, this can block the path of the amplified sound and cause the sound to be quiet. If there is excess wax in the ear canal, please contact your local doctor or physician to have the ears examined and cleaned, if necessary.
  6. Hearing can change depending on the type of loss. If a noticeable change occurs with the hearing, it is recommended that an appointment be made with your audiologist.

Intermittent, noisy or distorted sound

  Possible causes Solution
1. Battery is low or dead Replace battery with fresh one, ensuring tab is removed
2. Loose or poorly fitting ear mould Contact your Australian Hearing Centre
3. Dirty program/volume switches Contact your Australian Hearing Centre
4. Moisture in hearing aid Contact your Australian Hearing Centre
5. Damaged Contact your Australian Hearing Centre

  1. Batteries have a limited life depending on age and usage. Ensuring the hearing aid is turned off when not in use will prolong the life of the battery. If a new battery is required only remove the tab prior to inserting into hearing aid.
  2. A loosely fitting ear mould allows the amplified sound to escape and not be heard correctly. If the ear mould is too small or does not fit the ear shape, a new mould will need to be made. Please contact your Australian Hearing Centre for this.
  3. Environmental dirt and dust, plus moisture can enter the hearing aid. This can cause issues with the program switches and buttons and also the volume wheel (if applicable). If scratchy or noisy switches are present, change the switch position a few times, this may dislodge the dirt. If this fails, please contact your Australian Hearing Centre to have the hearing aid examined.
  4. Batteries can occasionally leak or moisture can enter the hearing aid, causing corrosion of the battery terminals. If this is present, it can interrupt the internal workings of the hearing aid. If there is dirty or corroded terminals, please contact your Australian Hearing Centre as internal damage may be caused if cleaning is attempted.
  5. Moisture, such as perspiration and light rain may enter the hearing aid. This may cause corrosion of internal components of the hearing aid. If this occurs, open the battery door and remove the battery. Place the hearing aid in a drying kit or warm place, away from direct sunlight and heat to dry. If this fails, please contact your Australian Hearing Centre to have the hearing aid examined. DO NOT attempt to dry hearing aids in the oven or microwave.
  6. If the hearing aid body is damaged for some reason, do not attempt to fix it. Take the hearing aid to your Australian Hearing Centre to have it examined.

Other issues

  Possible causes Solution
1. Hearing aid gets wet Place in dry aid kit or dry in a warm place away from direct sunlight and heat. Contact your Australian Hearing Centre
2. Blocked vent in ear mould Clean with thin line or cleaning brush
3. Tubing is removed from ear mould Contact your Australian Hearing Centre
4. Tubing is unattached from ear hook Reattach by twisting over the end of the ear hook
5. Ear hook does not attach Contact your Australian Hearing Centre
6. Ear mould breakage or cracking Contact your Australian Hearing Centre
7. Hardened or brittle tubing Contact your Australian Hearing Centre
8. Cracked casing Contact your Australian Hearing Centre

  1. If the hearing aid gets wet (for example in the shower, or a swimming pool), open the battery door and remove the battery. Place the hearing aid in a drying kit or warm place, away from direct sunlight and heat to dry. Do not attempt to use the hearing aid until completely dry. If the hearing aid fails to operate after this, please contact your Australian Hearing Centre to have the hearing aid examined. DO NOT attempt to dry hearing aids in the oven or microwave.
  2. If a person complains that their hearing aid sounds more ‘bassy’, has too much low frequency or their voice sounds funny, the hearing aid mould vent may be blocked (if one is present). The vent is a small hole underneath where the tubing attached to the hearing aid mould. If this is blocked, excess low frequency sound is unable to escape. To unblock, push a thin line through the vent to clear any blockage that may be present.
  3. Occasionally the tubing may become unattached from the hearing aid mould. If this occurs, please contact your Australian Hearing Centre to have the tube re-glued in the correct position.
  4. If the tubing becomes unattached from the ear hook, carefully push the tube over the end of the ear hook a few millimeters. If the tube fails to stay securely in place, please contact your Australian Hearing Centre.
  5. If a ear hook fails to attach securely to the body of a hearing aid, it may have been over-tightened and the thread has been stripped. If this has occurred, please contact your Australian Hearing Centre.
  6. If the hearing aid mould is damaged for some reason , do not force into the ear. Contact your Australian Hearing Centre to have a new ear mould made.
  7. If the hearing aid tube becomes hard or brittle it may split. If there is a split in the tubing of the hearing aid then the amplified sound can escape from there and be picked up by the hearing aid microphone. This sound is then re-amplified again and again causing a high pitched whistle. If this has occurred please contact your Australian Hearing Centre for the hearing aid to be re-tubed.
  8. If the hearing aid body is cracked for some reason, do not attempt to fix it. Take the hearing aid to your Australian Hearing Centre to have it examined.

Information provided by Jason Fenton
Audiologist
BA (Linguistics), MClinAud, MAudSA.
Reproduced with permission.

08-Dec-2015 6:01 AM (AEST)