Hearing Aid Repairs: What You Should and Shouldn't Do Yourself
When a hearing aid malfunctions, it’s a huge inconvenience – especially if happens after hours or on the weekend when a hearing healthcare professional is unavailable. If you have any experience repairing other types of electronics, it might be tempting to try to repair it yourself, but that’s usually not a good idea. While there are some things you can do to troubleshoot a hearing aid or at least determine the source of the malfunction, trying to repair it without the proper training and tools could end up costing much more than a simple trip to the office. Here are a few guidelines of what you should – and shouldn’t – do in the attempt to fix a dysfunctional hearing aid.
Check the electronics
If your hearing aid isn’t working at all, check the obvious things first: make sure the battery, power or volume switch aren’t to blame. Switch out the batteries and check the connections. Are they corroded? Are they wet? Gently clean and dry the battery compartment and connections and see if that does the trick. Test all the controls to make sure you didn’t accidentally change the volume or program setting.
If the hearing aid is working but giving feedback, static or inconsistent sound, it could be any number of problems. Electrically, it could be a bad connection somewhere. Make sure everything is tightly connected. Beyond these simple steps, a professional should deal with suspected electronic problems.
Signs of damage
The hearing aid could also be malfunctioning due to visible exterior damage, wear, or obstructions due to moisture, dirt or wax. If you see signs of wear on a piece you can replace and have extras of – such as a tubes or microphone shields (cerumen filters) – do so. Other types of damage such as cracked or broken cases will need to be repaired in-office. In other words, don’t try to use any type of adhesive or bonding agent on your hearing aid.
One of the most common reasons for hearing aids to stop working is residue buildup from earwax and body oil. If you can see that yours is dirty, get out the cleaning kit and give it a thorough cleaning. Even after cleaning it with the proper tools, there could still be particles or dirt you can’t see lodged into crevices or inside the hearing aid’s case. As tempting as it might be, don’t try to take it apart any further than what you’d normally do for cleaning purposes. A hearing healthcare professional will have the right tools to give your hearing aid a deep cleaning, so take it in.
Other factors to hearing aid repair
If the hearing aid is working but also whistling, producing static, or providing inconsistent sound, there could be other issues, such as a poor fit (the hearing aid fits loosely in your ear), earwax buildup in your ears, or physical objects like scarves or hats interfering with the receiver. Deal with anything that could be contributing to the problem (for instance, you could try an at-home remedy for safe earwax removal), but make sure you see a hearing healthcare professional for severe earwax buildup and issues with fit.
Lastly, never rule out the possibility that your hearing needs may have changed. Visit a hearing healthcare professional to have both your hearing aid and hearing needs re-assessed. Simple fixes are fine, but it’s best to leave the rest to a professional with the right tools and training.