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What To Do If Your Hearing Aid Stops Working

Just like any electronic or mechanical device, hearing aids can suffer from glitches and stop working. There are many reasons for this and they may include dirt, wax, a dead battery (or no battery at all), a bad speaker or amplifier or even moisture. If your hearing aid stops working there are several steps that you can take before coming to our office.

The first step is to determine if the hearing aid is actually working. You can do this by cupping the device in your hands and listening for a faint whistle. If you hear the whistle, the hearing aid is still working. If you happen to be the hearing aid user, you may want to have someone with “normal” hearing perform this test since your hearing loss may prevent you from actually hearing the whistle.

If the hearing aid fails to make a sound, your next step is to change the battery. If you change the battery and it still doesn’t come to life, don’t try a third or fourth battery.

Your next step will be dependent upon the style of your hearing aid.

Custom Hearing Aids (In-The-Ear or Completely-In-The-Ear) The biggest culprit with any hearing aid is a build-up of wax or debris preventing the sound from exiting the hearing aid itself. To solve this simply brush off the part of the hearing aid that goes into your ear. (If you don’t have a hearing aid brush, contact your Audiologist who can sell one to you for about one dollar.) If this doesn’t bring your device back to life, try removing the wax filter as it may be filled with wax.

Another very common problem with this type of hearing aid is clogged up microphones. Microphones on custom devices are usually found right next to the battery door. Use your brush to gently remove the dirt or wax.

Behind-The-Ear (BTE) Hearing Aids In such hearing aids your first step is to clean the ear mold to ensure there isn’t any wax or debris blocking the sound from exiting the mold. You can do this with a soft tissue or your hearing aid brush.

After checking the mold, you should check the tubing to make sure it isn’t full of wax or moisture and that it doesn’t have any cracks which would allow the sound to escape before it even gets to your ear. Over time tubing can become hard and brittle or even begin to shrink. All of these problems will prevent the sound from properly flowing through the sound tubes. At The Hearing Professionals we recommend changing your tubing every three to four months.

Receiver-In-The-Ear (RITE) Hearing Aids The biggest difference between the receiver in the ear type of hearing aid and behind the ear hearing aid is that the former has its speaker at the end of the tubing and a dome to keep the speaker in place while inside of your ear.

If your receiver in the ear hearing aid stops working, your first step is to make sure the dome is free from wax and debris. If this fails to remedy the situation, remove the dome and brush off or replace the wax filter. If this still fails to solve your problem, you may have a broken speaker which means a trip back to our office.

Because the oils in your skin and the wax in your ear may break down the domes for a receiver in the ear hearing aid, at The Hearing Professionals we recommend changing your domes every 30 to 60 days.

If you take all of the steps described above, chances are you will be able to fix the hearing aid yourself. However, if you take the steps and your device still doesn’t work or if it sounds weak, you will need to make an appointment to have one of the Audiologists at The Hearing Professionals do a more thorough cleaning and examination of your hearing aid.

About Adam Bernstein

Adam Bernstein is the owner of The Hearing Professionals, Milwaukee's premier hearing healthcare facility. As the owner of The Hearing Professionals, Mr. Bernstein has over 20 years of experience in the hearing healthcare industry. He began his career in 1995 at GN Danavox, one of the largest hearing aid manufacturers in the world. After leaving Danavox, Mr. Bernstein opened two hearing healthcare offices in Chicago, IL. In 2001 he moved to Milwaukee, WI and opened The Hearing Professionals. In 2008 he added a second Wisconsin office in the town of Brookfield. Today The Hearing Professionals is the largest private audiology practice in SE Wisconsin. Mr. Bernstein has written numerous articles on hearing healthcare which has appeared in newspapers throughout the country and has been interviewed by news programs regarding advances in the hearing industry. Mr. Bernstein a member of Unitron’s Customer Advisory Board and a graduate of The University of Minnesota. You can email him at and you can visit The Hearing Professionals at

3 responses »

  1. Thank you so much for your excellent information. You enabled my husband to fix his hearing aid immediately after assuming it was totally broken!


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