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Hearing aid troubleshooting checklist

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Hearing aid sound problems

Are your hearing aids not working? Here are several problems that could affect the sound functionality of your hearing aids, plus troubleshooting tips to fix these issues. 

Dr. Tom Tedeschi

This content was reviewed by:

Dr. Thomas Tedeschi, Au.D.

Chief Audiology Officer, Miracle-Ear

Your hearing aids are important tools that allow you to stay connected to the people and activities that matter most. However, as attentively as you might care for them, it’s still possible to experience technical difficulties with your hearing aids. Review this hearing aid troubleshooting checklist to address some of the common issues that can affect the functionality of your hearing aids.

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Did you put on your devices and notice your hearing aids are not working? Go through the following checklist as you examine your devices to determine what might be causing the issue:

  • Check for debris.  As you wear your hearing aids, earwax can accumulate on the microphone or other pieces of the device. If the device is not properly cleaned, the wax can muffle or even stop the sound from properly reaching your ears. Carefully clean off any excess wax or debris from your device to hear more clearly.
  • Check the volume settings. In the process of putting on or taking off your hearing aids, you may have accidentally turned the volume on your device down or off. Adjust the volume either manually or in your hearing aid app to make sure that it’s fully on.
  • Check your batteries. Your hearing aid battery type may be affecting whether or not your hearing aid is actually on. If you use a device with disposable batteries, check that the battery is inserted correctly and in the right direction, the battery door is closed and the hearing aid is activated. If you wear rechargeable hearing aids, ensure that the devices are fully charged. Your hearing aids may turn off when they are removed from the charger, so you may need to turn them on manually.
  • Check for damage. Inspect your devices for any visible damage to its parts, such as wires or microphones. If you don’t notice any damage, but your hearing aids still won’t produce any sound, take your devices into your local Miracle-Ear to be examined by a hearing care professional (HCP).

Similarly to both hearing aids not working, one hearing aid not working may be the result of excess debris on the device, improperly placed or insufficiently charged batteries, or damage to the structure of the hearing aid itself. Ensure that the device is fully on, charged, clean and fitted properly into your ear. If you continue to have problems with just one hearing aid, speak with or make an appointment with your hearing care professional to determine next steps. 

There could be several causes behind weak sound amplification or any hearing aid voice distortion. Below are some possible causes and solutions.

  • The battery compartment isn’t functioning properly: If your hearing aid uses disposable batteries, look closely at the battery contacts, or the small metal prongs that connect with the battery. They can become corroded over time, contributing to the distorted sound. Clean the battery compartment to remove any dust or debris that may have collected inside. You can also check the batteries themselves to ensure that the metal prongs are actually touching the batteries and activating the device.
  • The device has excess debris: Dirt, dust, debris and earwax can all distort sound. Use proper cleaning tools to wipe away and remove any unwanted substances from your devices.
  • Replace the wax trap on receiver in the ear hearing aids.
  • The hearing aid isn’t on the proper setting: Your hearing aid contains several programs to allow you to adjust to different sound environments. While most hearing aids will switch programs on their own, your hearing aid might have gotten stuck on a setting from a previous sound environment and need manual adjustment. Switch the program in your hearing aid app.
  • The hearing aid has gotten wet: Excess sweat or water can deteriorate the  components of your hearing aid and cause distortion. Check tubing for any visible moisture and check the battery compartment for signs of corrosion. Place your hearing aids in a hearing aid dryer or dehumidifier to help your hearing aids dry out safely before cleaning out any unwanted debris.
  • A piece is damaged: Damaged wiring can disrupt the flow of sound, causing it to sound distorted or weak. If you notice damage, take your device into your local Miracle-Ear for professional repair.

Hearing aid feedback occurs when sound waves that have already been amplified by the device escape the ear canal and are picked up again by the hearing aid microphone, causing the sound to be reamplified. Here are some possible causes and solutions for hearing aid feedback.

  • Improper fit: If your hearing aid doesn’t sit correctly in your ears, sound is more likely to escape and cause whistling. Remove and reinsert your hearing aids to adjust the placement of the device in your ear. If re-inserting the hearing aids doesn’t solve the problem, speak or make an appointment with your hearing care professional to discuss the fit of your device.
  • High volume: Turning up the volume of your device can actually exacerbate hearing aid whistling sounds rather than fixing them. Lower the volume to prevent sound from being reamplified.
  • Excess earwax: Too much earwax or debris in your ear canal can affect the fit of your hearing aids, and it can create a block that prevents sound from properly getting through. If you’re concerned about earwax buildup, talk to your doctor about safe and effective earwax removal. You can also visit your local Miracle-Ear location for a professional hearing aid cleaning that will remove any wax that may have built up on the devices.
  • Mechanical problems: Physical damage to your devices—such as damaged tubing or a damaged receiver —could also be the culprit behind feedback. Don’t try to repair damage at home;  make an appointment with your local Miracle-Ear hearing care professional , who will be able to find the cause of the feedback and repair the hearing aids.

If you find yourself struggling to hear sounds through your hearing aids, take the following steps to determine what might be at the root of the problem.

  • Inspect the hearing aid. Do you see earwax blocking the microphone or the amplifier? Do you notice any cracks, blockages, or moisture in the tubing of your hearing aids? Is there any visible damage on the filters, domes or other pieces of the device? Speak with your hearing care professional if you notice any damage—they will be able to replace or repair any malfunctioning features that are under warranty or deep clean your devices.
  • Change the settings. Your hearing aid may have accidentally switched to a different program that doesn’t suit the sound environment you’re in. Adjust your hearing aid program in your hearing aid app to an appropriate setting.
  • Adjust the volume.  A disruption to the volume control might be the simple reason for hearing aids not being loud enough. Adjust your volume either manually on the device or through your hearing aid app to ensure that you’re able to hear the device changing volume.
  • Get your hearing re-checked. Has it been a while since your last hearing check? Your hearing needs might have changed, meaning your hearing aids need to be adjusted. Schedule an appointment with your hearing care professional to reassess your hearing and adjust your hearing aids to accommodate any changes.

Filtering out background noise and focusing on just one conversation in the middle of a noisy space isn’t always the easiest task—especially if you have hearing loss. Most modern hearing aids have technology that helps filter out background noise, but if you notice that your hearing aids are picking up too much noise, take the following steps to troubleshoot the problem.

  • Adjust the programming for your environment. Hearing aid programs are designed to help you hear in specific sound environments, and will dampen the background noise of that space if needed. Your hearing aids might not be on the correct program for your environment, meaning extra background noise is sneaking in. Adjust your hearing aid program on your app to adapt to the situation. If you are unable to find a program that works for you, discuss reprogramming your hearing aids with your hearing care professional to better suit your needs.
  • Turn down the volume. Depending on your settings, turning up your hearing aid volume might also amplify the unwanted background noise as much as desired sounds. Adjust the volume either on your device or on the app to reduce background noise.
  • Reinsert your hearing aids. Similarly to whistling or feedback, improper fit can allow background noise to disrupt the normal transmission of sound in your ears. Remove and reinsert your hearing aids, adjusting as you wear them to fit better into your ears. If you continue to notice unwanted noise, meet with your hearing care professional to discuss refitting your hearing aids.

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Hearing aid battery problems

Your hearing aids’ batteries may also be at the root of a problem with your hearing aids. Review these common hearing aid battery problems and solutions to fix your hearing aids. 

Have you recently replaced your battery and your hearing aids still aren’t working? If your hearing aids use disposable batteries, make sure that the door to the battery compartment is fully closed and that the metal prongs of the compartment are actually making contact with the batteries. Check that the battery is activated and the sticker is removed. Once the sticker is removed to activate the fresh battery, wait a few minutes before inserting the battery back into your hearing aids.

If you continue to have problems with your hearing aids not working with new batteries, make an appointment with your hearing care professional. 

Over time, your hearing aid batteries will naturally wear out and need to be replaced. However, if you notice your hearing aid battery draining faster than normal, it may be time to check your devices. Whether you use disposable or rechargeable batteries, here are some causes of quickly draining hearing aid batteries.

  • Moisture: Moisture buildup in the battery compartment is one of the most common causes for fast-draining batteries. Moisture, which can come from humidity, sweat or water, can short-circuit your hearing aids’ batteries and cause the batteries to drain faster than normal. Leave the battery door open to allow the battery compartment to air out, place your hearing aids in a dehumidifier or a drying jar during your nightly cleaning routine to allow your devices to dry out and avoid corrosion. Some charging cases for rechargeable hearing aids also have drying or dehumidifying functions. Remember, when ever placing your hearing aids in a dehumidifying device to always remove the battery prior to placing the hearing aid in the dryer.
  • Temperature: Batteries are sensitive to extreme hot and cold temperatures. Store your batteries in a cool, dry place overnight or when they’re not in use to keep your batteries running longer. Avoid storing batteries in direct sunlight or near extreme heat sources.
  • Type: Your hearing aid requires a specific kind of battery to run at its best. Using an improper battery, especially one that might not be strong enough for your hearing aid, may cause the battery to drain faster as it tries to keep up with the power your device requires. Be sure to choose the right size and type of battery for your device and buy high-quality batteries from a reputable source.
  • Connectivity: If you regularly stream audio through Bluetooth®-connected devices, you may notice that your hearing aid batteries don’t last as long as non-Bluetooth devices. Turn off your hearing aids’ Bluetooth capabilities when not connecting to another device to save battery life.

Rechargeable hearing aids offer flexibility and convenience for many hearing aid users, but it’s still possible to run into some issues. If you notice your hearing aids not charging, check to make sure that they are sitting correctly in the charging dock. Use a dry cloth to gently wipe away any additional dust, dirt or debris in the dock.

Check that the charger itself is fully charged or properly plugged into a power source to keep your charging dock running smoothly. If you continue to have problems with your device, discuss your concerns with your hearing care professional.

How to troubleshoot hearing aids problems

How to troubleshoot hearing aid problems

Hearing aid connection problems

If you notice your hearing aids aren’t properly syncing via Bluetooth or to other devices, try these troubleshooting tips to connect hearing aids once again. 

Specific devices may have different instructions for connecting to Bluetooth, but if you’re struggling to connect your hearing aids, take the following steps to determine a solution:

  • Confirm your hearing aids have Bluetooth. The age and style of your hearing aids may determine whether or not your device actually has Bluetooth capabilities. Ask your hearing care professional or review care manuals for your specific devices to find out if you can connect using your hearing
  • Turn on/activate Bluetooth. Once you’ve confirmed that you’re able to connect with Bluetooth, turn your hearing aids off and on again near the device you’re trying to connect to, to allow your hearing aids to register with your device. Make sure that your hearing aids’ Bluetooth signal is turned on—and make sure it’s turned on for the device you want to connect to as well.
  • Pair your device. Select your hearing aids on your device’s Bluetooth menu to pair the two and make the Bluetooth connection.

If you’re still unable to connect your hearing aids to a Bluetooth-compatible device, try turning off the device’s Bluetooth signals or the hearing aids themselves and attempt to pair again. If the problem persists, speak to your hearing care professional.

Connecting your phone via Bluetooth allows you to listen to stream audio from your phone more clearly and effectively—whether for phone calls, listening to music or watching videos. If you’re running into difficulties connecting your hearing aids to your phone, check out our tips for connecting your hearing aids to your Apple or Android smartphone. You can also review the hearing aid app troubleshooting steps below to ensure your device is fully connected to your hearing aids.

  • Open the Miracle-Ear app and turn on the hearing aids. Wait until the app locates your hearing aids and lists them as available Bluetooth devices.
  • Select the hearing aids. Depending on the type of smartphone you use, you may see a video with instructions on how to pair the hearing aids in the smartphone settings.
  • Wait for the pairing process to complete. You will receive a notification when the pairing is successful.
  • Return to the app’s homepage when the pairing is complete.

When to ask a professional

Sometimes, you may run into issues with hearing aids that can’t be solved with quick troubleshooting. If you notice significant moisture damage, problems with the hearing aid’s structure or equipment, or you’re just unsure of how best to address questions with your hearing aids, talk with a licensed hearing care professional at your local Miracle-Ear hearing aid center. They will be able to look over your devices and provide next steps to solving any problems with your hearing aids.

Need support with your hearing aid concern?

Book an appointment today with one of our licensed hearing care professionals at a Miracle-Ear hearing aid center near you.

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