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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 "IN-THE- EAR" INSTRUMENTS  

 

 
   

In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids, made popular in the 1970's, are custom-made plastic shells with the entire amplification system inside.  It is the largest of the "in-the-ear" styles.  There are smaller versions referred to as 3/4 shell ITE's and 1/2 shell ITE's.

In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids came out in the 1980's and are smaller than the ITE styles. A smaller version is called "mini-canal."

Completely-in-(the)-canal (CIC) came out in the 1990's and used to be the smallest style.  

Micro-canal (MC) started around 2010 and is now the smallest style of removable hearing aid.  

 

     As with all hearing aids worn on a day to day basis, these hearing aids can and do get dirtyIn-the-ear hearing aids are subjected to earwax, skin oils, and moisture along with a host of other contaminants that can adversely affect operation.  The most common problem is the ear canal's production of earwax (cerumen) that can impede sound transmission. This is especially true for CIC's.

 

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

 

VISUAL INSPECTION

  • Check canal end of the hearing aid - is there visible earwax or moisture?

    • If so, use the brush side of the wire-loop that came with your hearing aid (as shown in the picture above) to sweep out the wax. 

    • If your hearing aid has a vent hole next to the nib opening, it is a good idea to clean it with some kind of narrow pipe cleaner.  We have special vent cleaners designed for hearing aids.

  • 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

  • Insert your hearing aid(s) and turn each one "on."  

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

  • If your instruments have a volume control, move this control forward and backward 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 - although statement does apply to CIC's.  This is "controlled feedback."  It is NOT NORMAL to have feedback when you take your hand away.  If so, check the following:

  • Is the hearing aid inserted properly?

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

  • Are your ear canals 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 the child using hearing aid.

  • Do you or the child with hearing aids 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.