By Jeffrey L. Bayliff
From time to time, hearing aids will stop working. If that problem is a serious reason, it will need to be repaired. The discussion about repairs, in and out of warranty, versus the idea of buying new hearing aids is a bigger topic for a different article. I tell my patients when they are taking delivery of their hearing aids that there are three steps to getting their aids working again. Number one is to change the battery. Seems simple enough but some people forget to do it and have a good laugh at themselves when I find that out during a service call. By the way, when changing the batteries, it is a good idea to take out the old ones, discard them, or at least put them at a good distance reach away. Then put in the new batteries. Many patients, including me, learned the hard way about having the old dead batteries right in front of us with the new batteries and suddenly not remembering which were which? I have had patients bring me dead hearing aids claiming they just changed the batteries only to see the aids jump back to life with fresh batteries. They had put the dead batteries back in the aids instead of the new ones! So, number one is to change the batteries. If that does not work move to step number two, change the wax guard or maybe yours is called a wax filter. These small plastic parts keep wax in your ears from going down into the tiny speaker of the hearing aid. When that happens, no sound can get out, so the aid seems dead. Most hearing aids have some kind of wax protection. There are some older models that don’t. These older hearing aids and new one that owners went to change the wax guard and forgot to do so, can become plugged. You can pick some of the wax out with a tool that come with the hearing aid or even a toothpick, but to really open the aid back up for sound transmission the aid should be vacuumed out! I, and most dispensers have a strong but tiny vacuum with a needle attachment to clean out the opening of the hearing aid. Most of those speaker openings are 1/32nd to 1/64th of an inch wide. Typically, the head of the speaker is below the opening only about an 1/8th. The utmost care should be used when poking down into the hearing aid. It can be easily damaged. Unless the hearing aid needs significant repair, removing the wax from the speaker will make that little thing sing back to life. Let’s review. If your hearing aid is not working, number one change the battery. If that doesn’t work number two, change the wax guard which may be plugged or clean the wax out of the aid itself. If those two don’t work, move on to number three…call your professional to help.
They will quickly diagnosis if the aid needs a quick vacuum or if the aid has a serious repair need and discuss with you all the options pertaining to the age of the aid with repair or replacement costs.