Your hearing aids don’t sound the way they should despite the fact that you just changed the batteries. Things just don’t sound right, like they’re a little bit dull and distant. It’s like you can’t hear the full sound you’re supposed to be receiving. When you research the situation, a battery issue appears to be the most likely reason. And that’s aggravating because you’re quite diligent about putting your hearing aid on the charging station before you go to sleep every night.
Nevertheless, here you are, struggling to listen as your bunch of friends have a conversation near you. This is exactly the situation you got hearing aids to prevent. Before you get too upset with your hearing aids, there’s one more cause for this diminished sound you may want to check out: your own earwax.
A Home in Your Ears
Your ears are the place where your hearing aids reside under normal circumstances. 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 placed directly in the ear canal. Earwax will be an ever-present neighbor no matter where your hearing aid is positioned.
Now, earwax does lots of great things for the health of your ears ((various infection can actually be avoided because of the antibacterial and anti-fungal qualities of earwax, according to numerous studies). So earwax isn’t a bad thing.
But the relationship between earwax and hearing aids is not always helpful–the moisture in earwax, especially, can hinder the standard operation of hearing aids. Luckily, this isn’t exactly a surprise to hearing aid manufacturers and earwax doesn’t often move in unpredictable ways.
So a safety component, called wax guards, have been put in place so that the normal function of your device isn’t hampered by earwax. And the “weak” sound could be brought about by these wax guards.
Wax Guard Etiquette
There is a small piece of technology inside your hearing aid called a wax guard. Wax can’t get through but sound can. In order for your hearing aid to keep working effectively, a wax guard is essential. But there are some instances where the wax guard itself could cause some troubles:
- You’ve replaced your wax guard with the wrong model: Every model and maker has a different wax guard. Sound that is “weak” can be the outcome if you purchase the wrong wax guard for your model.
- Cleaning your earwax guard needs to be done once a month: it’s been too long since you’ve cleaned them. A wax guard filters out the wax but sometimes it gets clogged and just like any kind of filter, it has to get cleaned. Sound waves can be blocked if earwax is plugging up the wax guard and every once in a while, you will have to clean it.
- It’s been too long since the wax guard has been changed: Wax guards wear out like any other filter. A wax guard can only be cleaned so much. You might have to get a new wax guard if cleaning doesn’t (so that you can make this smoother, you can buy a toolkit made specifically for this).
- You need a professional clean and check: At least once a year you should get your hearing aid professionally cleaned and checked to be sure it’s working correctly. And in order to be certain that your hearing hasn’t changed at all, you should also get your hearing tested regularly.
- Your hearing aid shell needs to be cleaned: When you’re changing your earwax guard, it’s important that your hearing aid shell be properly cleaned as well. If earwax is covering your device, it’s possible, while you’re swapping out the wax guard, some of the earwax gets into the inside of the hearing aid (and, naturally, this would hamper the function of the hearing aid).
If you purchase a new hearing aid guard, it will most likely come with instructions, so it’s a good plan to follow those instructions the best you can.
After I Change my Earwax Guard
You should observe substantially improved sound quality after you change your wax guard. Hearing and following discussions should get much better. And if you’ve been dealing with inferior sound from your hearing aids, this can be a real relief.
There’s definitely a learning curve when it comes to maintaining any complex device such as hearing aids. So don’t forget: It’s likely time to change your wax guard if the sound quality of your hearing aid is poor even when the battery is fully charged.