What to do when your hearing aids break: Common faults

As the most common treatment for hearing loss, hearing aids are a lifeline for many. Small yet powerful, hearing aids have the ability to help sufferers hear clearly again, and dramatically improve their quality of life as a result.

Whilst hearing aids are designed to be incredibly robust and last for years, issues can happen. If you’re a hearing loss sufferer who relies on hearing aids and you’re experiencing problems with your device, we’re here to help.

We understand that you would be lost without your hearing aid, so in this article, we will discuss some of the most common faults and what you can do to fix them.

Identifying the problem quickly is the first step to troubleshooting and getting your device fixed up. So, if any of these issues resonate with you then we hope that this advice helps.

cleaning a hearing aid

I got my hearing aid wet

Hearing aids are designed to be water-resistant, but not waterproof. If you’ve accidentally left your device in whilst showering or submerged it in water then don’t worry – these things happen, and you’re not the only one.

The good news is, in most cases, a wet hearing aid can be saved quite quickly with just a few simple steps:

  1. Remove the battery from the device as soon as possible
  2. Dry the hearing aid with a clean towel or tissue
  3. Leave the hearing aid to dry out for a day or two, leaving the battery tray open
  4. Once the hearing aid has dried, insert a new battery

Of course, this advice only applies to those with disposable batteries. If your hearing aid has a fixed battery or is rechargeable, we recommend getting in touch with your audiologist as soon as possible and they should be able to help with a repair or replacement.

My hearing aid is producing feedback

Sounds like your hearing aid is whistling? If your device has started to give more feedback than usual, then this isn’t always a sign of a faulty hearing aid.

In many cases, it could be that it’s not sitting in your ear properly. Try taking it out and re-inserting it comfortably.

If this doesn’t rectify the problem, try adjusting the volume. If you find that your correctly fitting hearing aid stops whistling once the volume has been turned down, it’s likely that the mould doesn’t fit properly and you’re experiencing a sound leak. In this case, it’s worth visiting your audiologist for a re-fit.

Finally, it’s always worth doing a visual inspection to check if the hearing aid is damaged, cracked or loose, and that it’s on the correct setting.

If it appears that your hearing aid is in working order but you’re still experiencing whistling, you may have a build-up of excess earwax. Too much ear wax can prevent sound from travelling to your ear and cause this type of feedback. In any of these cases, seeking the help of your audiologist for an earwax removal treatment is recommended.

I can’t hear anything through my hearing aid

If your hearing aid has stopped producing sound, there are a few things you can check:

  • Ensure the hearing aid is turned on and fully charged if you have a rechargeable device. If your device operates with disposable batteries, ensure they are positioned correctly and the battery opening is closed.
  • Visually examine the device for any earwax blocking the microphone or sound outlet. If there are any signs of debris, carefully clean the hearing aid and try it again.
  • Try turning up the volume, either directly from the device itself or using the app. Also try adjusting the programme settings to see if you detect any sounds.

If you have followed the steps above but your hearing aid still doesn’t appear to be producing sound and it isn’t visibly damaged, contact your audiologist who will be able to troubleshoot and possibly repair the device.

My hearing aid doesn’t fit properly

If you feel like your hearing aid isn’t fitting comfortably anymore or has started to fall out of your ear, the first step to take is making sure that you are fitting the hearing aid correctly and securely in or behind the ear.

If you haven’t changed the way you position the device but something doesn’t feel quite right, visually inspect your hearing aid for any damages or loose connections.

External factors such as losing a lot of weight can affect the way your hearing aid sits in your ear. It’s important that your device fits securely and comfortably, so we recommend getting in touch with your hearing care provider as soon as possible, as this problem may be easily rectified with new ear moulds.


When to get your hearing aid repaired

Above is a generic list of hearing aid problems, and each issue will be individual to your device. If you have tried troubleshooting your hearing aid and ensured it’s properly cleaned but you’re still experiencing issues, it may be time to call on the help of your audiologist.

An audiologist should be able to identify the issue and possibly fix any problems. In some cases, a factory repair may be needed which can take a while longer, but you may be able to request a replacement device in the meantime.

The most important thing to do is act quickly so that you’re not without a fully functioning hearing aid for longer than you need to be.

If you’re looking for a reputable, professional audiologist in South London, get in touch with The Hearing Specialist. We have hearing care clinics in Wimbledon, Teddington, Wallington and Cheam, offering hearing tests, earwax removal and hearing aid fitting services.