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Colorado Springs

Audiology, Inc.

 

Phone  719.520.1155

LOCATION  & DIRECTIONS

Dr. Gene McHugh

Licensed Audiologist

In Colorado

 

 

OFFICE HOURS

Mountain Time USA

Mon-Thurs

9:00AM-5:00PM

Closed Fridays

 

 © Copyright 2017 

 

 

 

CARE FOR YOUR

"BEHIND THE EAR" HEARING INSTRUMENTS 

 

 
  Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids and earmolds can and do become dirty from dust, skin and hair oils along with a host of other contaminants that can adversely affect operation.  More common however, the earmolds or domes are subjected to the ear canal's production of earwax (cerumen) that can impede sound transmission. Keeping this channel clean is VERY important.

The following check-list should be followed to know if the instrument is functioning properly:

VISUAL INSPECTION

  • Check the earmold - is there earwax or moisture in the sound opening or tubing?  If so, run tepid water through the earmold and use an earmold plunger (as shown in the picture to the right) to clean and dry the earmold.  

  • Is the tubing free of twists, cracks or moisture?
  • Check the battery contacts.  Are they clean and making contact with the battery?
  • Are batteries working?  Ask your audiologist for a hearing aid battery detector (we provide them to our patients at no charge)
  • Is the battery inserted correctly - normally the (+) is up
 

LISTENING CHECK

  • Modern BTE's, especially those that are "digital" are harder to describe.  

  • Some do not have volume controls or may have programming buttons.  So the following may not pertain specifically to your instrument.

     Parents of children wearing hearing aids should check your child's hearing aids every day using the same process that adult users follow. 

  • Does each hearing aid seem normal in terms of volume and usual sound quality?

  • If each instrument has a volume control, move this control UP and DOWN to check whether sound gets louder and softer with "dead spots."

    • Does the volume wheel turn smoothly?

    • Is the sound "scratchy?"

    • Is there uncontrollable whistling or buzzing (feedback?)

ACOUSTIC FEEDBACK (whistling)

     Feedback means that amplified sound is being picked up by the microphone and "re-amplified."  The reason feedback is perceived as a "whistle" is that the hearing aid's receiver (speaker system) resonates best at usually one frequency, this being the frequency of the feedback.  Much of the time, feedback is NORMAL when one puts their hand over their ear.  This is "controlled feedback."  It is NOT NORMAL when feedback occurs when you take your hand away.  If so, check the following:

  • Is the earmold inserted properly?

  • Is the hearing aid's volume turned higher than normal?

  • Are your ear canals, or your children's ear canals clean, i.e., not occluded with ear wax?  Wax occlusion prevents sound from going into the ear.  Feedback occurs when sound reflects off the earwax and back to the microphone - this can be very irritating to the user or parents of a child using a hearing aid.

  • Do you or the child have an upper respiratory infection (URI)?  If the URI affects the ear, the eardrum may be stiff.  This is why sound seems muted.  Like earwax, when this happens, more of amplified sound is reflected back to the hearing aid's microphone producing uncontrolled feedback.

  • If you cannot fix the problem yourself, stop by the audiologist's office and have them look at it.  They may have to check the ear canals to rule out earwax as a contributing factor.

TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR BTE....

  • EVERY DAY:

    • Wipe off hearing aid with a dry cloth

    • Check batteries

    • Check earmold and tubing for wax or moister blockage

  • EVERY NIGHT:

    • Turn hearing aids "off" and open battery compartment

    • Store hearing aids in a dry, cool place

  • AT LEAST ONCE A YEAR:

    • Have hearing aids checked for proper function

    • Have tubing replaced

  • AS NEEDED:

    • Change batteries

    • Check batteries

    • Clean earmold and tubing using an earmold plunger

    • Replace the earmold

      • For full-acrylic earmolds, this is about every 2-3 years

      • For soft earmolds, or earmold with soft canals, this may be every year