As an audiologist, every day I speak with patients in our hearing clinic about the difficulties that come with hearing loss. A gratifying part of my job is helping my patients address those challenges. When starting to use a hearing aid is part of the solution for a patient, my colleagues and I work diligently to make using a hearing aid for the first time a successful experience.

We educate our new users on the proper use and care of their hearing aids. Learning to use your hearing aid from a hearing specialist is one of the many benefits of getting your device from an audiologist. Another benefit is we’re able to provide a high level of aftercare to help you adjust to your hearing aids. These services aren’t available to people who purchase off-the-shelf hearing aids without the assistance of an audiologist.

Many of these troubleshooting tips are things we teach our patients that we thought would be helpful for new users outside of our practice. Here are four common hearing aid problems and what you can do to address them.

#1 There’s No Sound

When your hearing aid doesn’t seem to be working, we always recommend that new users check to see if the power is on and if the volume is set to the correct level. That may seem obvious, but it happens.

It takes time for a new user to get familiar with putting the device in or on the ear. Since the process is unfamiliar, it’s easy to accidentally turn the power off or the volume down. We suggest new users look at a mirror to put their devices on until the process becomes second nature.

A hearing aid battery may last for somewhere between a couple of days to a couple of weeks. It could be time to replace the battery.

Wax could be blocking the microphone or the receiver. Use the tools that came with your device to gently clean those components.

#2 Certain Sounds Are Uncomfortable

As a new hearing aid user, you may find your own voice and background noises are too loud. While those sounds may be uncomfortable now, your discomfort will ease as your brain adjusts to receiving sound through your new device. You can take steps to make the transition easier.

Since your brain is learning a new skill, it needs regular practice to be successful. That’s why it’s important to wear your hearing aid regularly. It’s okay to start by wearing your hearing aid for a few hours a day. Then, you can gradually increase how long you’re wearing it until you always wear it when you’re awake.

Try reading aloud. Often, it speeds up the process of getting used to hearing your voice through the hearing aid. Reading aloud also helps you learn to speak at a lower volume.

Until you get used to your hearing aid, you may want to turn it off when you’re in an environment with lots of background noise. Cocktail parties and busy restaurants probably are not the best places for testing out a new hearing aid.

Most hearing aids include noise reduction technology to help you filter out background noise. You may need to adjust the setting for noise reduction. If you’re using an app to control your hearing aid, you should be able to change the noise reduction settings with the app.

#3 The Hearing Aid Whistles

You’re experiencing acoustic feedback. You’ll hear a high-pitched squeal or whistle when sound that should have exited the hearing aid from the speaker re-enters the device’s microphone.

Typically, hearing feedback sounds means the hearing aid hasn’t been inserted properly or that something is too close to the microphone. Taking the hearing aid out and putting it back in frequently resolves feedback issues. Another thing that can be helpful is turning the volume down. Finally, you’ll want to make sure your scarf or hat isn’t touching the hearing aid.

#4 The Fit Is Uncomfortable

If you’ve ever had braces or eyeglasses, you know it takes time for your body to get used to them. In the same way, you can expect a period of adjustment to get used to having a device in or on your ear. Your slight discomfort should go away soon if you’re wearing your hearing aid regularly.

For users who have hearing aids for both ears, an uncomfortable fit could be the result of accidentally switching the devices to the wrong side. Removing the hearing aids and switching ears should solve this issue. To prevent mix-ups, most hearing aids meant for the right ear carry a red mark while devices for left ears usually have a blue mark.

Experiencing anything more than a slight discomfort is a reason to speak to your audiologist in Houston. To improve the fit, your hearing specialist may need to make small adjustments to your custom hearing aid.

Are You Still Having a Problem with Your Hearing Aids?

These troubleshooting tips should resolve most problems new users have with their hearing aids. If my tips didn’t provide a solution for your issue, contact our hearing clinic.

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Dr. Lacey Brooks, CCC-A, FAAA - Doctor of Audiology

Dr. Lacey Brooks, CCC-A, FAAA - Doctor of Audiology

Dr. Lacey Brooks received a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry in 2003, and earned her doctorate of audiology in 2009. She completed her clinical internships and residency at various facilities within Houston Medical Center. Dr. Brooks is a professional member of the American Tinnitus Association (ATA), a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology (AAA), a member of the Texas Academy of Audiology (TAA), and is certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). She is also the vice president of the Louisiana State University Houston Chapter Alumni Association.
    Staff at North Houston Hearing Solutions are amazing. They are always very attentive…

    “Staff at North Houston Hearing Solutions are amazing. They are always very attentive. Dr Lacey Robinson always takes the time to set my hearing aids exactly the way I want them. I have been a patient since 2008 and will continue to be for as long as they will have me”
    Brian Becvar

    I have been a patient of Dr Lacey’s for four years and she has been the best for me...

    “I have been a patient of Dr Lacey’s for four years and she has been the best for me. She always treats me with respect. I would not consider going anywhere else. She is friendly and always has my best interest in her mind. All the staff is exceptional aswell”
    Dan Payne

    I have been seeing Dr Lacey Robinson at North Houston Hearing Solutions since November 2014. I have been very happy with the service....

    “I have been seeing Dr Lacey Robinson at North Houston Hearing Solutions since November 2014. I have been very happy with the service she and her associates have provided me. She is always willing to help me out even on short notice. I am very happy to have her as my audiologist. She goes the extra mile to ensure I am hearing like I should. Thank you Lacey!”
    Daniel Feuerbach

    Very professional, very friendly, very concerned with your total quality of life…

    “Very professional, very friendly, very concerned with your total quality of life. The hearing aids have reduced the stress in my marriage. We can now agree on the volume on the tv”
    Dennis Agnelly

    The people in the office are very nice and helpful. I love Drs, they are ready to take care of yo…

    “The people in the office are very nice and helpful. I love Drs, they are ready to take care of you even if you don’t have an appointment. I would recommend for anyone who has hearing needs”
    Florangela Ceballos

    I felt that the audiologist and other staff were always on top of the service I receive...

    “I have been coming to North Houston Hearing Solutions since they moved into the new building. Over the years I have purchased several hearing aids. I have only had great service during all the times. I felt that the audiologist and other staff were always on top of the service I receive. From calling to remind me that it is time to check my hearing aid to helping wade through the insurance paperwork, they were always as nice as can be. I would go nowhere else for hearing aids and the service”
    Marla Lingle

    Dr Lacey has kept me in ears (hearing aids) allowing me to hear without anyone knowing I have hearing aids in place...

    “I’ve been coming to North Houston Hearing Solutions for 5 years now. Dr Lacey has kept me in ears (hearing aids) allowing me to hear without anyone knowing I have hearing aids in place. She has been great and the staff has exceeded my expectations”
    Robert Bush

    I love coming here for doctors visits. Dr Robinson is a great doctor and I enjoy our visits...

    “I love coming here for doctors visits. Dr Robinson is a great doctor and I enjoy our visits. As usual she takes good care of us. The hearing aid is great and we are always treated great”
    Ronald Novotny