You just changed the batteries, but your hearing aids still don’t sound the way they should. Things just sound off, like they’re a little bit dull and far away. It’s like you can’t hear the full sound you’re supposed to be getting. When you research the situation, a battery issue seems to be the most likely cause. And that’s irritating because you’re quite careful about putting your hearing aid on the charging station before you go to sleep every night.
And yet, here you are, fighting to hear your group of friends carry on a discussion near you. You got hearing aids to avoid this exact circumstance. Before you get too mad with your hearing aids, there’s one more cause for this weak sound you may want to check out: your own earwax.
You’re Hearing Aids Live in Your Ears
Your hearing aids reside in your ear, usually. Even when you wear an over-the-ear model, there’s at least contact with your ear canal. Other models are designed to be placed inside the ear canal for optimal efficiency. Earwax will be an ever-present neighbor no matter where your hearing aid is positioned.
A Guard Against Earwax
Now, earwax does lots of important things for the health of your ears ((numerous infection can actually be avoided because of the antibacterial and anti-fungal qualities of earwax, according to various studies). So earwax isn’t a bad thing.
But the interaction between hearing aids and earwax isn’t always so good–the standard operation of your hearing aid can be impeded by earwax, peculiarly the moisture. The good thing is, that earwax is predictable and manufacturers are well aware of it.
So a safety feature, known as wax guards, have been put in place so that the effective function of your device isn’t hampered by earwax. And those wax guards could be what’s causing the “weak” sound.
Wax Guard Etiquette
A wax guard is a small piece of technology that is integrated into your hearing aid. Wax can’t pass through but sound can. Wax guards are crucial for your hearing aid to continue working correctly. But there are some circumstances where the wax guard itself might cause some problems:
- Your hearing aid shell needs to be cleaned: When you’re switching your earwax guard, it’s essential that your hearing aid shell be properly cleaned as well. If earwax is clogging your hearing aid, it’s possible some of that wax could make its way into the interior of the device while you’re changing the guard (and this would obviously hamper the function of your hearing aids).
- Cleaning your earwax guard needs to be done once each month: it’s been too long since you’ve cleaned them. A wax guard filters out the wax but it can become clogged and as with any type of filter, it has to be cleaned. Every now and then, you’ll have to clean the guard or the wax stuck in it will begin to block sound waves and mess up your hearing.
- A professional check and clean is needed: At least once a year you should have your hearing aid professionally checked and cleaned to be certain it’s functioning correctly. And in order to make sure your hearing hasn’t changed at all, you also need to get your hearing tested regularly.
- It’s been too long since the wax guard has been changed: Just like any other filter, eventually, the wax guard will no longer be able to effectively perform its job. A wax guard can only be cleaned so many times. You may have to get a new wax guard when cleaning doesn’t (you can buy a special toolkit to make this process easier).
- When you got your new wax guards, you got the wrong one: Every model and maker has a different wax guard. If you get the wrong model for your specific hearing aid, your device’s functions might be diminished, and that may result in the hearing aid sounding “weak.”
Make sure you use the included instruction for best results with your wax guard.
After I Switch Out my Earwax Guard
Once you’ve changed over your earwax guard, your hearing aids should begin producing clearer sounds. Hearing and following discussions should get much easier. And if you’ve been coping with inferior sound from your hearing aids, this can be quite a relief.
There’s certainly a learning curve in regards to maintaining any specialized device such as hearing aids. So don’t forget: if your hearing aid sounds weak and your batteries are fully charged, it may be time to change your earwax guard.