Hearing aid users often need help with their experience with their devices. We see it all the time: hearing aids have a bad rap, but why do consumers complain so much about hearing aids? The answer is simple, and it’s different from what you think. 

In this article, we will cover common hearing aid complaints and guide you to solve these issues quickly to experience better sound quality tailored to your need.

Battery life

Some of the most common hearing aid complaints we hear from customers are hearing aid rustling sound, hearing aid stopped working, hearing aid squealing, and hearing aid battery life is shorter than expected. In many cases, these complaints are due to poor maintenance and a lack of understanding about how hearing aids work. Not necessarily because they don’t work or because they are too expensive.

The first and most common hearing aid complaint is poor battery life.

common hearing aid complaints

If hearing aids are your primary source of hearing, you want to ensure the battery lasts a long time. The hearing aid battery life can depend on the model; some can last up to a few weeks, while others can last only a few days. 

It is best to store hearing aids at room temperature, which optimizes the battery performance and keeps away extreme temperatures that could damage the device. It is also essential to turn hearing aids off when not being used to conserve battery energy. 

If your hearing aid stopped working during use, try replacing it with a fresh pair of batteries as soon as possible. However, when preserving hearing aid battery life, you should always seek assistance from an audiologist for further advice and guidance.

Moisture Concerns

common hearing aid complaints

Water damage is one of the most common issues hearing aid users face and can cause your hearing aid to stop working entirely. Wearing hearing aids around moisture can be disastrous if you’re not careful. However, there are a few ways to help protect hearing aids from humidity and moisture:

  1. Avoid direct contact with water by removing hearing aids before showering or swimming.
  2. Purchase a hearing aid dehumidifier to help draw out any trapped moisture inside hearing aids so they remain dry and functioning correctly.
  3. Ensure hearing aid earmolds fit snugly and securely in the ear so no outside moisture can work into the hearing aid’s shell.

Contact an audiologist immediately if you think your hearing aid might have been damaged due to excessive moisture exposure. Your provider can detect and repair moisture problems to restore your equipment. If you have an active lifestyle, make sure to check out water-resistant & sweat-resistant hearing aids such as the Ergo 7.

General Equipment Damage

common hearing aid complaints

Damage is another reason hearing aids can stop working. Physical damage to hearing aids can range from a device being crushed, dropped, bent too much, or something else resulting in long-term damage. 

If your hearing aid stops working due to damage, you should turn it off and safely remove it from your ear while checking for any visible signs of damage. Depending on the severity of the physical impact, you can resolve minor issues by removing the battery and cleaning out dirt or other debris with a soft-bristle brush. 

However, more severe cases may require replacing hearing aid parts like an earmold or an in-the-ear hearing aid dome. In these cases, you should speak with your audiologist as soon as possible to find the best solution for replacing hearing aid components and resolving hearing aid problems due to physical damage. Don’t let common hearing aid complaints like equipment damage ruin your hearing health.

Build Up Of Earwax

common hearing aid complaints

One common complaint among hearing aid wearers is a build-up of earwax. This is normal, but the build-up can cause significant interference with the sound output. Here are some tips to minimize these issues:

  1. Clean your device regularly according to manufacturer instructions and wash your ears before handling hearing aids. 
  2. Use a wax trap or suppression before inserting your hearing aids and cleaning them with an approved audiologist cleaning solution afterward. 

In most cases, professional cleaning by an audiologist should be sought for more stubborn build-up. With proper care and maintenance, you can ensure that any hearing aid issues caused by earwax will not affect your ability to stay connected with the world around you.

Irritating Feedback Sounds

common hearing aid complaints

Hearing aid squealing is one of the most common feedback issues. These are a few things hearing aid users can do to help reduce their hearing aid feedback irritations:

  1. An audiologist should check hearing aids for proper fit and settings. 
  2. Hearing instrument wearers should avoid blocking the hearing aid vents with their fingers or earphones, as blocked ducts can weaken or distort sound signals. 
  3. Wearers should ensure hearing aids are clean and not covered in debris like dirt, dust, or sweat. 

If these fixes do not stop hearing aid feedback, then a hearing test may be needed to check if there have been more severe issues relating to hearing loss.

Too Much Background Noise

Image Credit: Oticon

While hearing aids are beneficial, they can sometimes cause irritating problems. One common issue hearing aid users encounter is hearing aids amplifying unwanted background noise, such as hearing aid rustling sound when moving or adjusting hearing aids. 

The best way to cope with hearing aids amplifying background noise is to change the device’s settings by ensuring it’s adapted according to the user’s specific hearing abilities and preferences. Furthermore, it could also be beneficial to use specialized features such as feedback suppression and adaptive noise reduction to help further reduce background noises.

If you have any trouble with your hearing loss or hearing aids, you should seek professional help from an audiologist who can provide quality care and establish a plan that fits your comfort level and needs.

Discomfort and Improper Fitting

The common complaint that hearing aids are uncomfortable or keep slipping off of ears is a common one. This can happen for several reasons, such as the device being too loose in your ear or the ear mold not fitting correctly. 

Luckily, these issues are easy to address by visiting an audiologist and having them readjust your fittings or remake the earmold. It’s always best to work closely with your audiologist since they’ll be able to find the problem quickly and save you time, money, and effort in resolving it.

Sleeping

common hearing aid complaints

Wearing hearing aids to sleep can be an uncomfortable experience. If you experience difficulty and discomfort while sleeping with your hearing aids, try these different techniques:

  1. Consider wearing smaller, completely-in-the-canal (CICs) or a smaller in-the-canal (ITCs) hearing aid during the night as they are less likely to cause ear aches and won’t press into the side of your head as larger behind-the-ear (BTEs) models may. 
  2. In addition, many modern hearing aids feature unique sleep modes that lower the microphone’s volume and compress sound for quieter nights. 

If noise still bothers you, even after adjusting your models’ settings and using extra foam tubing, it may be time to contact your audiologist for help in finding the best pair of hearing aids to wear while you sleep.

Headaches

common hearing aid complaints

Headaches are common hearing aid complaints regarding hearing aids, particularly during the adjustment period. Fortunately, there are some simple steps users can take to help reduce and even prevent this issue. 

  1. Taking short breaks for the ears to adjust to natural hearing levels can effectively avoid uncomfortable pressure in the head. 
  2. Consider changing the volume settings – if you haven’t already done so – as often users increase their volume too high, contributing to mild headaches or “stuffy head syndrome.”

If headaches persist beyond a few weeks and don’t respond well to self-adjustment methods, reaching out to an audiologist can be an excellent option for additional support.

Volume Control

common hearing aid complaints

Adjusting the volume of your hearing aid on the fly or discreetly can be one of the common complaints with these devices. One common feature for managing this common problem is a remote control. 

A range of options, from traditional models to modern technology, allows adjustable volumes depending on the situation. Some newer models even allow you to connect to your smartphones and home devices and have them adjust volume automatically as needed. 

However, if you still need help adjusting the volume or setting it to work in different situations, it’s time to seek help and advice from an audiologist.

Common Hearing Aid Complaints Takeaway

Hearing aids can be lifesavers but have their fair share of irritating problems, from battery life to noise levels to earwax and feedback sounds. You must continue to be aware of these issues to troubleshoot them before contacting your audiologist for assistance. 

Most importantly, once you seek help from your audiologist, ensure you are prepared with all the information about the problem so that they can quickly identify what needs fixing. 

Remember, prevention is critical when it comes to hearing aids. Don’t hesitate to get the help you need with your hearing aids! Keep up good maintenance, and check in regularly with your audiologist for further advice and recommendations on keeping your hearing aid running correctly.

Head Hearing Health Clinician at Florida Hearing Institute | + posts

Florida License: AS-2471 – NPI: 1992749147

Ivonne Baixeras is a Florida-Licensed Hearing Instrument Specialist with a track record of almost three decades treating hearing problems in Miami-Dade County and serving the needs of thousands of satisfied patients. Ivonne is a graduate of both Miami-Dade College & Florida International University and worked for many years at the largest national chain of hearing clinics in the US where she's received multiple awards.

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