Quality Hearing Systems - Maplewood, MN

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

Your hearing aids don’t sound right despite the fact that you just changed the batteries. Things just sound off, like they’re a little muffled and distant. It seems like some of the sound is lacking. When you research the situation, a low battery appears to be the most likely cause. Which annoys you because you keep the batteries charged every night.

Even so, here you are, struggling to listen as your group of friends carry on a discussion near you. This is exactly the scenario you got hearing aids to avoid. Before you get too mad with your hearing aids, there’s one more reason for this diminished sound you might want to check out: your own earwax.

You’re Hearing Aids Reside in Your Ears

Your hearing aids live in your ear, in most cases. Even when you use an over-the-ear design, there’s at least contact with your ear canal. Other models are manufactured to be placed inside the ear canal for best results. Earwax will be an ever-present neighbor regardless of where your hearing aid is situated.

Earwax Guards

Now, earwax does a lot of great things for the health of your ears (numerous studies have demonstrated that earwax actually has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties that can help ward off various infections). So earwax isn’t a bad thing.

But the interaction between earwax and hearing aids isn’t always so good–earwax moisture, especially, can interfere with the normal operation of hearing aids. The good news is, that earwax is predictable and manufacturers are well mindful of it.

So a protective component, called wax guards, have been integrated so that the normal function of your device isn’t hampered by earwax. And those wax guards might be what’s causing the “weak” sound.

Things to Know About Wax Guards

There is a small piece of technology inside your hearing aid known as a wax guard. Wax can’t pass through but sound can. So that your hearing aid can keep working efficiently, a wax guard is essential. But there are some situations where the wax guard itself could cause some problems:

  • Cleaning your earwax guard should be done once every month: it’s been too long since you last cleaned them. As with any filter, a wax guard can eventually become clogged with the exact thing it’s been tasked with filtering out. Sound waves can be blocked if earwax is plugging up the wax guard and on occasion, you will want to clean it.
  • When you got your new wax guards, you got the wrong one: Each model and maker has a different wax guard. Sound that is “weak” can be the outcome if you get the wrong wax guard for your model.
  • It’s been too long since the wax guard has been changed: Wax guards need replacing like any other filter. There’s only so much cleaning you can do to a wax guard! When cleaning no longer does the trick, you might have to change your wax guard (you can get a special toolkit to make this process smoother).
  • Your hearing aid shell is dirty: And let’s not forget your hearing aid shell, which also has to be cleaned when you switch out your wax guard. If earwax is clogging your device, it’s possible some of that wax could find its way into the inside of the device while you’re swapping the guard (and this would clearly impede the efficiency of your hearing aids).
  • A professional clean and check is required: In order to be certain that your hearing aid is functioning correctly, it should be cleaned once per year. And in order to be certain that your hearing hasn’t changed at all, you should also have your hearing tested on a regular basis.

If you purchase a new hearing aid guard, it will most likely come with instructions, so it’s a good idea to follow those instructions to the best of your ability.

I Replaced my Wax Guard, What’s Next?

Once you’ve changed over your earwax guard, your hearing aids should begin producing clearer sounds. Hearing and following conversation should be much easier. And if you’ve been dealing with inferior sound quality from your hearing aids, this can be quite a relief.

There’s certainly a learning curve in regards to maintaining any complex device such as hearing aids. So just remember: It’s most likely time to change your wax guard if the sound quality of your hearing aid is weak even when the battery is fully charged.