(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.
(ITC) hearing aids came out in
the 1980's and are smaller than
the ITE styles. A smaller
version is called
(CIC) came out in the 1990's and
used to be the smallest style.
(MC) started around 2010 and
is now the smallest style of removable
As with all hearing aids worn on a day to day basis, these
hearing aids can and do get dirty. In-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.
check-list should be followed to know if the instrument is
end of the hearing aid - is there visible earwax
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.
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
battery contacts. Are they clean and making
contact with the battery?
working? Ask your audiologist for a hearing aid
battery detector (we provide them to our patients at no
battery inserted correctly - normally the (+) is up
Insert your hearing aid(s) and turn each one "on."
Does each hearing aid seem "normal" in terms of volume and usual
your instruments have a volume control, move this control
forward and backward to check whether sound gets louder and
softer with "dead spots."
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 hearing aid inserted properly?
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.
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
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.