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What are the Common Problems Hearing Aid Users Face?

an older woman holding a hearing aid

Like all electronic devices, hearing aids have limitations. That doesn’t mean that they are BAD, though; it just means that you need to manage their flaws so that you can get the most out of them. 

Here are some problems you need to look out for and what you can do about them. 

Wearing them at night

Aside from invisible, extended-wear varieties, your hearing aids will be removed at night while you are sleeping. This is not only because it helps keep your hearing aids safe in the event you toss and turn, but it saves battery and device life.

Make sure when you remove then at night that you wipe them off with a dry cloth and then place them in their designated storage container. Keep this container somewhere away from the reach of children or pets, as this can also make you susceptible to device damages.

Going swimming with them

Swimming is a popular sport for many people and provides excellent exercise. Unfortunately, hearing aids don’t respond very well to water – whether it’s a shower or the pool.

Like most electronics, hearing aids and water don’t mix. If the internal components are exposed to moisture – even the evaporative variety – it can cause a short circuit, and the device will fail. 

When hopping in the pool on a hot day, make sure to have your storage case to place your hearing aids in while you are enjoying the water. Don’t leave devices in your car as they can be exposed to excessive heat that can lead to damage or moisture you’re trying to prevent!

Earwax buildup

The cells on the walls of your ear canal produce a waxy substance commonly known as earwax. The purpose of this viscous fluid is to catch incoming particles like a fly trap and prevent them from causing infection in the inner ear. Without hearing aids, the wax attracts dust and bacteria. It then slowly moves the debris towards the outside, where it dries and flakes off harmlessly into the environment. 

With a hearing aid in your ear, though, that process doesn’t happen as quickly. Wax can’t move from the inside to the outside while the device is in the way. 

Sensing the blockage, the ear will also tend to produce more wax than it would typically, creating a buildup. 

For the vast majority of hearing aid wearers, this buildup is harmless. It eventually just flakes off. For others, though, it can lead to earwax impaction, which causes “head in a barrel” syndrome and hearing loss. 

If you wear hearing aids and find yourself with impacted wax, do not remove it with a cotton bud or bobby pin. You could impact it further and damage your ear at the same time. Instead, buy over-the-counter ear drop remedies from your pharmacist and follow the instructions. If you’re still having problems, visit your audiologist. 

Battery life

Some hearing aids use rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, but most do not. The reason for this is that lithium-ion is not the most energy-dense battery technology we know: alkaline is. And alkaline is not rechargeable. 

Alkaline technology makes a lot of sense in this application. You want hearing aids to be small and safe, and this battery technology caters to both. The downside is that you have to replace them regularly. 

Fortunately, replacing a battery on most assistive hearing devices is easy. You just open up the battery flap, lift the old cell out and then deposit the new one. The hard part is remembering to keep a stock of batteries ready to go.

Staying active

A lot of people who wear hearing aids lead active lives. Sports, hiking, mountain biking and jogging are all common hobbies. 

Hearing aid users, however, might worry that they will damage their devices if they are too active. Contact sports, for instance, might put hearing aids at risk. 

You don’t want hearing loss to make you less active – that’s not healthy. Ideally, you want the best of both worlds: to wear a hearing aid and take part in your favorite sports. 

Fortunately, manufacturers have come to the rescue. You no longer need to wear devices with external parts. Many brands now offer models that fit entirely within the ear, keeping them out of harm’s way. 

Would you like to learn more about how to deal with the common problems hearing aid users face? If so, then get in touch with Grace Hearing and Language Services. Call us at (770) 485-3522 to find out more.