You just changed the batteries, but your hearing aids still don’t sound right. Everything seems muffled, distant, and not right. It’s like some of the sound is missing. When you do some basic research, a low battery appears to be the probable cause. And that’s frustrating because you’re really careful about setting your hearing aid on the charging station before you go to bed each night.
Nevertheless, here you are, fighting to hear your group of friends carry on a conversation near you. This is exactly the scenario you got hearing aids to prevent. You might want to check out one more possibility before you become too aggravated about your hearing aids: earwax.
A Residence in Your Ears
Your hearing aids live in your ear, usually. Your ear canal is at least contacted even by an over the ear design. Other models are manufactured to be positioned in the ear canal for optimal results. Regardless of where your hearing aid is positioned, it will encounter an ever-present neighbor: earwax.
Now, earwax does some important things for the health of your ears (many studies have shown that earwax actually has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties that can help prevent various infections). So earwax is not a negative thing.
But the interaction between earwax and hearing aids isn’t always so good–the moisture in earwax, especially, can interfere with the standard operation of hearing aids. Fortunately, that earwax is predictable and manufacturers are well mindful of it.
So modern hearing aids have shields, known as wax guards, created to stop earwax from interfering with the general performance of your device. And those wax guards may be what’s causing the “weak” sound.
Wax Guard Etiquette
There is a little piece of technology in your hearing aid called a wax guard. Wax can’t pass through but sound can. Wax guards are crucial for your hearing aid to keep working properly. But there are some situations where the wax guard itself could cause some issues:
- You have an unclean hearing aid shell: And let’s not forget your hearing aid shell, which also needs to be cleaned when you switch out your wax guard. If earwax is clogging your device, it’s possible some of that wax may find its way into the inside of the device while you’re changing the guard (and this would obviously impede the function of your hearing aids).
- You need a professional check and clean: In order to be certain that your hearing aid is working correctly, it needs to be cleaned once every year. You should also think about getting your hearing tested regularly to make sure your hearing hasn’t changed at all.
- You haven’t changed your wax guard for a while: Wax guards need replacing like any other filter. There’s only so much cleaning that can be done to a wax guard! When cleaning no longer does the trick, you may have to replace your wax guard (you can get a specialized toolkit to make this process easier).
- When you purchased your new wax guards, you got the wrong one: Every model and maker has a different wax guard. If you get the wrong model for your particular hearing aid, your device’s functions could be diminished, and that may lead to the hearing aid sounding “weak.”
- It’s been too long since the wax guard has been cleaned: Cleaning your wax guard needs to be a monthly (or so) maintenance routine. A wax guard blocks the wax but it can become clogged and just like any kind of filter, it has to get cleaned. Sound waves can be blocked if earwax is clogging up the wax guard and every now and then, you will need to clean it.
Be certain you use the included instruction for best results with your wax guard.
I Changed my Wax Guard, What’s Next?
Once you’ve changed over your earwax guard, your hearing aids should begin producing clearer sounds. You’ll be able to hear (and follow along with) conversations again. And if you’ve been coping with poor sound quality from your hearing aids, this can be quite a relief.
Just like any specialized device, hearing aids do require some regular upkeep, and there’s undoubtedly a learning curve involved. So just keep in mind: if your hearing aid sounds weak and your batteries have a full charge, it might be time to change your earwax guard.