Taking care of hearing aids
It’s important for children to wear their hearing aids as much as possible. Keeping hearing aids on your child’s ears and in good working order gives them the best access to communication, language, and learning.
Below are our three top tips on looking after your child’s hearing aids at home. If you prefer written step-by-step instructions on caring for hearing aids, you can download or order our booklet Hearing Aids: Information for families.
Check your child’s hearing aids daily
For babies and young children, check their hearing aids every day yourself before they wear them. A daily check and listening test will reassure you that your child’s hearing aids are working well and help you find any faults with them, many of which can be put right easily.
If your child is old enough, you can ask them how the aid is sounding and encourage them to tell you about any changes.
Watch our video on how to look after hearing aids. It's a useful guide on how to clear hearing aids, do a daily listening check, and what faults to look out for.
Listen out for whistling
Most hearing aids will whistle occasionally. This is known as feedback. Feedback occurs when the microphone picks up the sound coming out of the hearing aid and amplifies it.
Check the following for causes of feedback:
- Damage to the elbow (the hard plastic hook that fits between the hearing aid and the softer earmould tubing). Check for holes or cracks and ask your audiologist for a replacement if it’s damaged.
- A fault within the hearing aid. Remove the hearing aid from the soft flexible tubing in the earmould. To do this, gently pull the soft tubing of the earmould from the hard plastic elbow of the hearing aid. After checking that the elbow is in good condition, press a finger over the end, making a good seal. When the hearing aid is turned on, you shouldn’t get any feedback if the aid is working properly. If you can hear whistling, there’s a problem inside the hearing aid, and you should return it to the clinic for repair.
- Earwax. Earwax can cause feedback as it can reflect sound out of the ear. If an earmould is a good fit but it has started to produce feedback, this could be an early sign of earwax. Don’t try and remove the wax yourself as putting cotton buds into the ear can push the wax deeper into the ear canal. Ask your audiologist about what services are available to get earwax removed.
Check if the earmould is fitting
The most likely reason for feedback is that the earmould isn’t a good fit. The earmould is a vital part of the hearing aid – channelling the amplified sound into the ear from the hearing aid.
Have a good look at your child’s earmoulds and the tubing, both in and out of the ear. If they get blocked with wax or moisture, then sound cannot get through effectively.
With time, the tubing in the earmould can get hard and brittle, and when this happens it needs to be changed. You can get a supply of replacement tubing from your audiologist. Watch a step-by-step guide to changing the tubing yourself.
If earmoulds split or no longer fit snugly, then sound can escape causing feedback (whistling) when the ‘leaked’ sound is picked up by the hearing aid’s microphone. Because young children grow quickly, their audiologist will take new impressions very regularly.
Where to get help and advice
If you find a fault with your child’s hearing aid that isn’t easily fixed, please contact your child’s audiologist.
Our audiology advisors are also here to help. You can reach them by contacting our Helpline.