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What Are the Common Problems Hearing Aid Users Face?

an older woman being fitted for hearing aids

A hearing aid can be a tremendous boon for those affected by hearing loss. With the help of a hearing instrument specialist (HIS), a hearing aid can bring clarity back to conversations, even those that take place in busy locations. It can prevent friends and work colleagues from needing to repeat themselves and give those with hearing loss increased confidence. 

Often, those with hearing loss don’t realize how pronounced it has become until they wear their hearing aid for the first time. This is because of the slow degenerative nature of hearing loss. It occurs incrementally, sneaking up on us over years or even decades. Still, while hearing aids can be tremendously helpful, especially when they’re calibrated to the specifics of your unique hearing and calibrated to give you amplification when and where you need it most, it’s common to experience problems with your hearing aid. Especially in those crucial early weeks when you and your new hearing aid instrument are just getting to know each other.

Here we’ll look at some of the most commonly encountered problems faced by hearing aid users and how you can avoid them to get the most out of your new instrument.

Distorted sound

For many with hearing loss, the brain has gone years or perhaps decades without information coming from the ears. As such, it may take a while for it to process what’s coming from the hearing aid as normal sound. Many who first get their hearing aids fitted by their HIS report that the quality of the sound has changed. Many feel that it sounds tinny or artificial. Commonly, people compare it to listening to a dictaphone recording. What’s more, new hearing aid users are often surprised by how loud their own voice sounds

The good news is that this tends to clear up after a week or two of regular use. The brain slowly begins to accept the sound that’s coming from the hearing aid as normal. And when they remove their hearing aid or turn it off, this is when the difference is most noticeable.

Ringing / feedback

Those who are unaccustomed to hearing aids may experience ringing or feedback when using them. This high-pitched noise can be very distracting and downright irritating. However, it is easily remedied. The most important way to avoid feedback is to ensure a great fit. Your Hearing Instrument Specialist will be able to advise on the best ear plugs to use for with your hearing aid for peak conductivity with none of the looseness that can result in feedback. In some cases, a hearing instrument will need to be custom molded to your ears. Feedback is most commonly experienced when those with hearing loss buy hearing aids off the shelf without consulting a HIS first. 

If your hearing aid is turned up too high, on the wrong setting or clogged with earwax this can also generate feedback so be sure to inspect yours regularly and carry out regular maintenance on the tubing.  

Too loud or not loud enough

When you’re still getting used to your hearing aid, it can be hard to get the balance right. Some hearing instruments adjust their settings automatically depending on your surroundings while others use preset programs for different occasions. If you find that your hearing aid is too loud or not loud enough, even after you’ve cycled through your settings or tried manually adjusting the volume, try the following:

  • Check that there are no cracks, blockages or beads of moisture in your hearing aid tubing.
  • Listen for distorted sound. This may be an indicator that you have switched to a wireless setting intended for an assistive listening device.
  • Inspect the batteries. If they are corroded, replace them.
  • Make an appointment with your HIS. They will be able to inspect and if necessary, recalibrate your hearing aid for you. 

Batteries dying too fast

New hearing aid users can come to rely heavily on their hearing aids and when the batteries give up the ghost, it can be a source of great anxiety. Make sure you always carry spares in your wallet or purse. Make sure you leave the batteries out of your hearing aids when storing them overnight and leave new batteries for a few minutes before activating your hearing aid. If you’re worried about going through batteries too fast, your HIS may be able to recommend a model with a rechargeable lithium ion battery.

How we can help

At the Niagara Hearing and Speech Clinic, we’re passionate about helping our clients get the most out of their hearing aids. We’ll work with you to advise on the right model for your needs as well as advising on care and use so that you get an easy and frictionless experience. Want to know more? Call us today at 905-938-1661.