by Rynette R. Kjesbo, M.S., CCC-SLP
Why Are Daily Hearing Aid Checks Important?
A hearing aid is a device that makes sounds louder for a person who has hearing
loss. Dirty ear molds, moisture inside the ear molds or tubing, cracks in the hearing
aid’s case, loose parts, or other problems can affect a hearing aid’s ability to
perform at its best. When your child’s hearing aid is not working properly, it is
not giving your child the most help it is capable of providing. If you check your
child’s hearing aid(s) every day, you will be able to identify problems as soon
as they arise.
In addition to performing daily checks of your child’s hearing aid(s), you should
also schedule regular visits to your audiologist or hearing aid service provider
for routine maintenance. Your audiologist or hearing aid service provider will be
able to test your child’s hearing aid(s) using specialized equipment and check to
make sure your child’s ear mold(s) fits correctly. In addition he/she can show you
how to care for your child’s hearing aid(s) and answer any other questions.
What Should You Check?
Your audiologist or hearing aid service provider can show you how to check the specific
type of hearing aid that your child is using. Here are some general things, as adapted
from American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (2011), you should look for when
performing a daily check on your child’s hearing aid(s).
- Inspect the hearing aid for broken, missing, or dirty parts. The hearing aid should
not have any cracks or holes in it. The ear molds and tubing should attach securely
to the hearing aid unit. The ear molds should not be dirty or torn. If the hearing
aid is dirty, use a soft, dry cloth to clean it. If the hearing aid is broken, return
it to your audiologist or hearing aid service provider for repair.
- Look for moisture. Hearing aids are often worn in wet or humid places. Because of
this, moisture can collect in the hearing aid’s tubing, ear hooks, or ear molds.
Moisture buildup can block sound and make a hearing aid ineffective. Moisture can
be removed using an air blower or by placing the hearing aid into a specialized
- Check for wax buildup. Like moisture, earwax can build up in the hearing aid and
block sound. You may be able to remove earwax from some parts of a hearing aid (such
as the ear molds) using a specialized tool. Check with your audiologist or hearing
aid service provider to find out when you should try to remove the wax buildup or
when you should bring the unit in for repair.
- Test the battery. How long a battery lasts depends on many factors such as the type
of battery, the size of the hearing aid, and how often the hearing aid is used.
Use a battery tester to check the battery’s strength. Replace the battery if it
is not functioning at full strength.
- Listen for feedback. Feedback is the high-pitched squeal that is created when the
sound coming out of the hearing aid goes back into the hearing aid’s microphone.
Feedback can be caused by an ear mold that doesn’t fit properly, too much earwax
in the ear canal, cracked tubing, or several other factors. Reducing the hearing
aid’s volume can reduce feedback, however it will also reduce the hearing aid’s
effectiveness. If feedback is a constant problem, talk to your audiologist or hearing
aid service provider about what you can do to eliminate feedback.