You just swapped out the batteries, but your hearing aids just don’t sound right. Everything seems dull, distant, and just a little off. It’s like you can’t hear the full sound you’re supposed to be receiving. When you do some basic research, a low battery appears to be the probable cause. And that’s aggravating because you’re really careful about setting your hearing aid on the charging platform before you go to sleep every night.
Nevertheless, here you are, fighting to listen as your group of friends have a conversation near you. You bought hearing aids to avoid this exact circumstance. Before you get too upset with your hearing aids, there’s one more cause for this weak sound you might want to check out: your own earwax.
A Home in Your Ears
Your ears are the place where your hearing aids reside under typical circumstances. Your ear canal is at least contacted even by an over the ear design. And for optimal performance, other designs have been created to be placed directly in the ear canal. No matter where your hearing aid is situated, it will encounter an ever-present neighbor: earwax.
Now, earwax does lots of great things for the health of your ears ((many infection can actually be avoided because of the antibacterial and anti-fungal qualities of earwax, according to various studies). So earwax can actually be a positive thing.
But hearing aids and earwax don’t always get along quite as well–the normal functionality of your hearing aid can be impeded by earwax, peculiarly the moisture. The good news is, that earwax is predictable and manufacturers are well aware of it.
So a safety component, called wax guards, have been integrated so that the normal function of your device isn’t impeded by earwax. And the “weak” sound could be brought about by these wax guards.
Things to Know About Wax Guards
A wax guard is a small piece of technology that is incorporated into your hearing aid. Wax can’t go through but sound can. Wax guards are important for your hearing aid to keep working correctly. But there are some situations where the wax guard itself could cause some problems:
- Cleaning your earwax guard should be done once each month: it’s been too long since you last cleaned them. As with any filter, a wax guard can ultimately become clogged with the very thing it’s been tasked with eliminating. Every once in a while, you’ll have to clean the guard or the wax stuck in it will begin to block sound waves and mess up your hearing.
- When you got your new wax guards, you got the wrong one: Most hearing aid providers have their own unique wax guard design. If you purchase the wrong model for your particular hearing aid, your device’s functions could be impaired, and that may lead to the hearing aid sounding “weak.”
- You need a professional check and clean: In order to be sure that your hearing aid is functioning correctly, it needs to be cleaned once a year. And in order to make sure your hearing hasn’t changed at all, you should also have your hearing tested routinely.
- Your hearing aid shell is dirty: When you’re switching your earwax guard, it’s essential that your hearing aid shell be properly cleaned as well. If your device shell is covered with earwax, it’s feasible, while you’re swapping out the wax guard, some of the earwax gets into the interior of the hearing aid (and, naturally, this would hinder the function of the hearing aid).
- It’s been too long since the wax guard has been replaced: Just like any other filter, sooner or later the wax guard will no longer be able to effectively perform its job. There’s only so much cleaning that can be done to a wax guard! You might need to get a new wax guard if cleaning doesn’t (you can purchase a specialized toolkit to make this process easier).
If you buy a new hearing aid guard, it will probably come with instructions, so it’s a good plan to follow those instructions the best you can.
I Changed my Wax Guard, What’s Next?
Once you’ve changed over your earwax guard, your hearing aids should start producing clearer sounds. Hearing and following conversation should get much easier. And if you’ve been coping with poor sound quality from your hearing aids, this can be a real relief.
Just like any complex device, hearing aids do call for some regular maintenance, and there’s undoubtedly a learning curve involved. So don’t forget: It’s probably time to replace your wax guard if the sound quality of your hearing aid is poor even with a fully charged battery.