HEARING TIPS

Woman holding ear because her hearing aid isn't working.

Your hearing aids aren’t sounding right even though you recently changed the batteries. Things just sound off, like they’re a little bit dull and far away. It seems like some of the sound is lacking. When you research the situation, a battery issue seems to be the probable cause. And that’s irritating because you’re really diligent about placing your hearing aid on the charging platform before you go to bed every night.

But here you are with some friends and you can’t really hear their conversation. This is precisely the scenario you bought hearing aids to avoid. Before you get too upset with your hearing aids, there’s one more cause for this weak sound you might want to check out: your own earwax.

A Residence in Your Ears

Your hearing aids live in your ear, usually. Even when you wear an over-the-ear design, there’s at least contact with your ear canal. And for ideal efficiency, other versions have been designed to be positioned directly in the ear canal. Wherever your hearing aid is situated, it will be close to an ever-present neighbor: earwax.

Earwax Guards

Now, earwax does a lot of important things for the health of your ears (many studies have shown that earwax actually has anti-fungal and antibacterial qualities that can help prevent many infections). So earwax can actually be a good thing.

But earwax and hearing aids don’t always work together quite as well–the moisture in earwax, in particular, can impact the normal operation of hearing aids. The good thing is, that earwax is predictable and manufacturers are well aware of it.

So modern hearing aids have shields, referred to as wax guards, created to keep earwax from interfering with the normal function of your device. And those wax guards could be what’s causing the “weak” sound.

Things to Know About Wax Guards

A wax guard is a small piece of technology that is incorporated into your hearing aid. Wax can’t go through but sound can. Wax guards are important for your hearing aid to continue working properly. But issues can be created by the wax guard itself in some situations:

  • It’s time for a professional clean and check: In order to be certain that your hearing aid is functioning properly, it needs to be cleaned once per year. You should also consider getting your hearing examined on a regular basis to make sure your hearing hasn’t changed at all.
  • You’ve replaced your wax guard with the wrong model: Every model and maker has a different wax guard. If you get the wrong model for your particular hearing aid, your device’s functions might be impaired, and that may result in the hearing aid sounding “weak.”
  • It’s been too long since the wax guard has been changed: Wax guards need replacing like any other filter. A wax guard can only be cleaned so much. You might have to get a new wax guard if cleaning no longer works (you can purchase a special toolkit to make this process smoother).
  • It’s been too long since the wax guard has been cleaned: Cleaning your wax guard should be a monthly (or so) maintenance routine. A wax guard filters out the wax but sometimes it gets clogged and like any type of filter, it has to be cleaned. Sound waves can be blocked if earwax is clogging up the wax guard and on occasion, you will need to clean it.
  • You have a dirty hearing aid shell: When you’re switching your earwax guard, it’s essential that your hearing aid shell be correctly cleaned as well. If earwax is covering your hearing aid, it’s feasible, while you’re swapping out the wax guard, some of the earwax gets into the interior of the hearing aid (and this would obviously hamper the efficiency of your hearing aids).

If you buy a new hearing aid guard, it will likely come with instructions, so it’s a good idea to follow those instructions the best you can.

I Changed my Wax Guard, What’s Next?

You should observe much better sound quality after you change your wax guard. Hearing and following discussions should be much easier. And if you’ve been coping with inferior sound quality from your hearing aids, this can be quite a relief.

There’s undoubtedly a learning curve with regards to maintaining any specialized device like hearing aids. So just remember: It’s probably time to replace your wax guard if the sound quality of your hearing aid is weak even when the battery is fully charged.

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