This is Why Your Hearing Aids Stop Working!

Understanding the Common Reasons Behind Hearing Aid Malfunctions

Hearing aids are invaluable tools for millions, enhancing auditory experiences and improving overall life quality. Yet, these intricate devices can sometimes falter, leaving users in a lurch. Recognizing the common reasons behind these malfunctions is not just about troubleshooting; it’s about ensuring the longevity and effectiveness of your hearing aids. This blog delves into six key reasons why hearing aids might malfunction, providing insights and solutions for each issue.

Moisture: The Silent Enemy of Hearing Aids

Moisture is detrimental to hearing aids. The sodium and chloride ions in water can create unwanted electrical connections, especially dangerous when the device is on. Immediate action, like turning off the device and removing it from the moisture source, is crucial. For rechargeable devices, manual power down is necessary, while for battery-operated ones, simply opening the battery compartment suffices. Utilizing a dehydrator, like the PerfectDry Lux or Zephyr by Dry & Store, can be effective in drawing out moisture. In severe cases, professional assistance is recommended to ensure all moisture is thoroughly removed.

Battery Problems: A Common Culprit

Batteries, the lifeline of hearing aids, can often be the root of issues. For traditional battery-powered hearing aids, replacing a dead battery can resolve the problem. In the case of rechargeable models, issues might stem from the lithium battery or the charger. Cleaning charging ports and trying different power outlets can sometimes fix the issue. In some models, the battery can be replaced easily by an audiologist, offering a quick solution.

Clogged Microphones: Blocking the Path of Sound

Hearing aids rely on microphones to capture sound, which can become clogged with debris. This clogging can prevent sound from entering the device, rendering it ineffective. Regular cleaning of microphone ports is essential. If simple cleaning doesn’t work, a detailed professional cleaning might be necessary to restore functionality.

Damaged Microphones: The Source of Static

Damage to the microphones, often revealed by a static sound, is a more severe issue. Physical intrusion or water impact can damage these delicate components, requiring intervention from the manufacturer for repair or replacement.

Receiver Wire Issues: A Delicate Balance

In receiver-in-canal style devices, the receiver wire is crucial for transmitting sound. If this wire is damaged or frayed, it can disrupt sound transmission. Proper handling and removal of the hearing aid can prevent such damage. Most audiologists can replace a damaged receiver wire, often under warranty.

Wax Traps: Small but Significant

Wax traps, located at the tip of the receiver, can easily become clogged with earwax, blocking sound transmission. Regular inspection and replacement of these traps are essential to maintain the hearing aid's effectiveness. Various manufacturers have different styles and sizes of wax traps, so consulting with a hearing care professional for the appropriate type is recommended.

In instances where your hearing aids stop functioning, these six areas should be your first checkpoints. However, if troubleshooting doesn’t resolve the issue, seeking professional advice is crucial. Sometimes, the problem might not be with the hearing aid itself, but rather with changes in your hearing or physical blockages in the ear canal.

The HearingUp Network

For expert guidance and support, the HearingUp network offers a solution. Comprising independent hearing care professionals committed to the best practices in hearing aid fittings and personally vetted, the HearingUp network ensures you receive top-notch care and maintenance for your hearing aids. Find a local hearing professional at HearingUp Network.

Proactive care, regular maintenance, and professional support are key to maximizing the effectiveness and longevity of your hearing aids, helping you stay connected to the sounds that enrich your life.

Video transcript

Video transcript

"You know what? I bet you 10 grand that one of these reasons is why your hearing aids stopped working. As great as hearing aids are, there are a bunch of things that can go wrong that can reduce your performance with your devices or make them stop working entirely, and the longer you go without professional care and maintenance, the more likely you are to experience problems with your devices. Sometimes there can be a simple fix and sometimes the fix is a lot more complicated, but let's go into the six common reasons why your hearing aids will malfunction and what you can do to get them working again. The first thing that can cause your hearing aids to malfunction is moisture. Water is the enemy of electronics, and if even a little bit of moisture works its way into your hearing aids, it could kill your devices completely.


Technically speaking, it is the sodium and chloride ions that are inside of water that create connections where no connections should be. So if an electronic device is in the on position and it comes into contact with these different ions, it can increase the current significantly, which can ultimately kill the circuit. If you sweat profusely on your hearing aids or you happen to jump in the shower or the pool when wearing your hearing aids, the first thing that you need to do is turn off your devices. The water will only damage your hearing aids if you leave your hearing aids turned on. So if you have rechargeable hearing aids, you want to power them down manually. Do not put them inside of the charger because that still keeps the current running. And if you have disposable battery hearing aids, just open up your battery doors. If you happen to have an at-home dehydrator like the PerfectDry Lux or the Zephyr by Dry & Store, just pop your hearing aids inside of one of those dryers and start it for an entire cycle to pull out as much moisture as possible.


If you do not have an at-home dehydrator, I will have both of those linked in the description below. If you're still worried about the moisture killing your hearing aids, make sure that you take your hearing aids into your hearing care professional and if they have an industrial Redux dehydrator, they'll be able to pull out all of that moisture without any issues. The second thing that can cause your hearing aids to malfunction is a bad battery. If you have a disposable battery hearing aid, it is possible that you just missed the low battery warning and you just need to change out the battery. If you wanna be 100% sure that it was the battery causing the issue, you can use a simple at-home battery tester to see if that battery was truly dead, but since most hearing aids sold today are rechargeable, chances are if you're having an issue with your hearing aids, it could be related to the lithium rechargeable battery inside of it.


Most hearing aid manufacturers say that the rechargeable battery hearing aids are more durable than the disposable battery hearing aids, but I'm not buying it. A dead giveaway that there's an issue with the rechargeable battery inside of your hearing aid is that if you stick your hearing aids back into the charger and don't see anything light up. If you put both of your hearing aids into the charger and neither one of them light up, it is extremely rare to have both lithium batteries go out at the same time. So it's probably not the batteries, it's probably the charger that's having the issue. I would first carefully clean your charging ports using a cotton swab soaked in alcohol, and you wanna be really careful while you're doing this, but sometimes there can be some that works its way down inside of the charger that you need to get out.


If that doesn't fix the issue, you want to unplug your charger and plug it into a different outlet or change the charging cable if it's a removable charging cable. If none of those things work, chances are you need to go see your hearing care professional to have them give you a different charger. If only one of your hearing aids is not charging appropriately, I recommend that you stick that one into the charging port of the hearing aid that is still working, and if that doesn't wake up the hearing aid, then you know that the hearing aid is what has the issue. Now, if you have a rechargeable battery hearing aid that has a removable lithium battery like an Oticon hearing aid, your hearing care professional can easily swap that inside of their clinic, and it's a very quick fix. If you don't have a removable rechargeable battery, those hearing aids need to go into the manufacturer for repair.


And don't worry, most high-end hearing aid clinics will send you home with a loaner set of devices so you're not spending a week or two without your hearing aids. All right, we still have a lot more to cover, but if you're enjoying the video so far, make sure that you hit that like button. It really helps out the channel, and if you are not yet subscribed to the channel with notifications turned on, go ahead and do that as well. That makes sure that you never miss one of my newly released videos and I release a bunch of new videos every single week. That being said, I really appreciate it and let's go ahead and get back to the video. The third thing that can cause your hearing aids to stop working is clogged microphones. This can occur if you don't brush your hearing aid microphones out regularly at home or if you skip your professional care and maintenance visits.


If sound cannot get into your hearing aids because the microphones are clogged, it has nothing to amplify for you and one of the dead giveaways to identify if it's a clogged microphone is if you can still hear the startup jingle of your hearing aid when you first turn it on, or if you can still stream audio from your smart device and through your hearing aids. That's because both of those sounds are internally generated from the hearing aid and doesn't require any sound to go through the mics. If you identify this, you are going to want to take your brush and brush out those microphone ports the best that you possibly can, so sound can once again enter the hearing aid. If that doesn't bring the sound back, you'll likely need your hearing care professional to do a much more detailed cleaning of the microphones and sometimes even have to disassemble the entire hearing aid to pull all that gunk out.


The fourth thing that can cause your hearing aids to malfunction still has to do with the microphones, but it's not because they're clogged, it's because they're damaged. There are anywhere between one and four microphone ports on any given hearing aid that allows sound to hit one or two microphones inside of the device. You can often identify if one of the microphones is actually damaged because you'll hear static noise that sounds a lot like sizzling bacon. This often occurs if you stick an object inside of the microphone port to rupture the microphones or if you get a jet stream of water hitting the microphone in exactly the wrong way, like if you were to jump in the shower. Unfortunately, if this occurs, those hearing aids have to go into the hearing aid manufacturer because your hearing care professional will not be able to swap out the microphones.


The fifth thing that can cause your hearing aids to stop working is a broken receiver wire. Since most hearing aids dispensed today are receiver in canal style devices, there is a high likelihood that if your hearing aids are malfunctioning, it's because of the receiver wires, especially if your devices are several years old. The receiver wire is what takes processed sound from the hearing aid that's behind your ears and sends it to the speaker or receiver that's inside of your ear canal. Technically, there are multiple wires that are coiled together inside of that wire casing, and if one of those wires becomes frayed, it prevents the hearing aid from transferring sound through the wire to the receiver. Damage will often occur if you try to remove your hearing aid just by pulling it off the back of your ear because it puts a lot of tension on the wire.


Instead, you want to try to remove that as close to your ear canal as possible and then lift it up off the top of your ear so you don't bend the wire too much. The receiver also can be damaged if moisture gets into the tip of the receiver, like if you have a draining ear canal or if you happen to get some water inside your ears and then put the hearing aid in on top of that. If you suspect that the receiver wire is the issue, you can always swap the receiver wires from the functioning device to the non-functioning device, and if that makes the non-functioning device work again, you know that it's the receiver wire and then you can often get the receiver wire replaced inside of warranty at no charge by your hearing care professional. If you swap out the receiver wires and it does not fix the issue, then you know that it's a hearing aid malfunction and you have to have your hearing care professional take a look at it. If your hearing aids are out of warranty and you need a replacement receiver wire, those can range anywhere between a hundred and $200. And the sixth and possibly the most common reason why your hearing aids will stop working is a clogged wax trap. Hearing aid wax traps cover the tips of your receiver. You can see it right there, that little white tip, if that gets plugged up with earwax, it ends up blocking the sound trying to make its way into your ear. These wax traps are needed because it prevents earwax from getting into the electronic components inside of the receiver. The problem is, is that these get clogged all the time, and chances are if your hearing aid stops working, this is the first thing that you should be looking for. A few things might give this away. First and foremost, if you look in the tip of your wax trap and you're like, oh, there's a bunch of wax in there, chances are that's the problem.


But also if you turn on your hearing aid and you can see that it's connecting to your smartphone app and it says that it's on and it has a lot of battery and all of that, but you're not hearing any sound from it, chances are that wax trap is plugged as well. If you have waxy ears, and it's been a while since your hearing care professional actually removed that ear wax, that is going to allow these wax traps to get plugged up more often. For some people, these wax traps fill up very quickly. The good news is, is it's very easy to change the wax trap. All you have to do is take your wax trap tool, remove the old wax trap, and then put in a brand new wax trap and you're good to go. Now, different hearing aid manufacturers do have different styles and sizes of wax traps, so you need to make sure that you get with your hearing care professional to identify the proper ones that you can use at home. In some rare circumstances, when you perceive that your hearing aid is not working, it's not the hearing aid at all, it's that you've had a significant change in your hearing or you're having some kind of physical blockage of sound inside of your ear canal, and you really need to get that checked out by your hearing care professional if you can't identify the issue. However, chances are that if your hearing aids stop working, it's one of these six common fixes that you will find, and if it's not one of them, you need to make sure you have a really good hearing care professional because they're gonna have to solve the problem for you."

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