Hearing aids are life-changing for those who use them, but like any device that is used regularly, they can experience problems that have to be repaired. Below, we’ve highlighted the most common reasons hearing aids need to undergo repairs, as well as how you can reduce the chances of needing a repair in the future.

Microphone damage

Microphone issues can develop for a variety of different reasons, ranging from moisture buildup to physical damage. The extensiveness of the repair will depend on the level of damage that has been sustained; in some cases, it may be possible to repair the existing microphone and restore the device to full functionality. In others, the microphone (or microphones) may need to be completely replaced.

Misshapen earmolds

Earmolds are usually custom-designed for each specific user in order to ensure maximum comfort, and these usually work very well. However, with extensive everyday use over a prolonged period of time, earmolds can sometimes become misshapen. If this occurs, your hearing aids may be uncomfortable to wear, or can feel a little insecure in your ears. Usually, this issue is best remedied by replacing the earmold entirely.

Wax removal

Due to their close proximity to the ear canal, hearing aids can develop issues related to earwax buildup on the device – sometimes to the point that earwax causes the device to cease functioning entirely. While minor earwax buildup can be removed at home, in some instances, stubborn buildup may need to be professionally removed and any affected components replaced.

Damaged tubes

For those who use behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids, issues with the tube that connects the receiver to the microphone are one of the most common reasons a repair is sought. There are multiple problems that can develop with the tube; cracking, damage, and discoloration are not uncommon, and the inside of the tube can also become clogged with earwax or other debris. A hearing instrument specialist can either mend the tube or, if necessary, replace it completely.

Battery chamber issues

When moisture enters the battery chamber of your hearing aids, it can cause the battery to corrode, which in turn can lead to permanent damage to the battery chamber itself. If this happens, then the chamber may need to be repaired.

Is it possible to prevent against the need for hearing aid repairs?

It is unfortunately not possible to completely eliminate the need for your hearing aid to be repaired at some point. However, there are a few good usage tips that can help reduce the likelihood of breakdowns:

  • Remove hearing aid batteries when your device is not in use: Store the batteries in a safe place and leave the battery chamber doors open in order to encourage any moisture to evaporate. As you removed the batteries, you can also inspect them and make sure there are no obvious signs of corrosion. 
  • Store your hearing aids safely: Ideally, hearing aids should be stored in a secure, robust container. As an extra benefit, you could consider a storage option that offers moisture-wicking properties, or a hearing aid dryer – also known as a hearing aid dehumidifier – to store your device.
  • Keep hearing aids as dry as possible: All hearing aids can be susceptible to issues with moisture, so making sure you keep your device as dry as possible will help keep such problems at bay. Always remove your hearing aids prior to showering or bathing and ensure they are completely dried off if you have been exercising or out in the rain. 
  • Clean your hearing aid after each use: Wiping down your hearing aids (always using a dry cloth) after each use can help prevent against problems such as earwax buildup and moisture-related damage. 
  • Inspect (and change if necessary) the wax filter regularly: The wax filter on a hearing aid is designed to prevent wax and debris from building up and affecting the way the device performs. Check the filter regularly and, if necessary, change it; your hearing instrument specialist will be able to advise you on how this should be done.
  • Rectify problems as soon as possible: Minor hearing aid faults can potentially worsen if left for a long period of time, so have your hearing aid repaired as soon as you become aware of an issue developing. 
  • Seek professional assistance for any problems you encounter: If your hearing aid is not functioning as it should, and basic maintenance techniques do not seem to fix the problem, then it’s best to avoid attempting a more extensive repair yourself. Instead, take your device to your hearing instrument specialist so the problem can be diagnosed and successfully rectified.