Woman holding ear because her hearing aid isn't working.

Your hearing aids don’t sound right even though you recently changed the batteries. Everything sounds distant, muffled, and just a little off. It’s like you aren’t hearing the full sound you’re supposed to be receiving. When you try to diagnose the issue with a basic Google search, the most likely answer seems like a low battery. Which frustrates you because you keep the batteries charged every night.

Nevertheless, here you are, struggling to listen as your bunch of friends carry on a conversation near you. This is precisely the situation you bought hearing aids to prevent. You may want to check out one more possibility before you get too aggravated about your hearing aids: earwax.

A Home in Your Ears

Your ears are the place where your hearing aids live under normal circumstances. Your ear canal is at least contacted even by an over the ear design. Other versions are designed to be positioned inside the ear canal for ideal results. Earwax will be an ever-present neighbor no matter where your hearing aid is situated.

Earwax Guards

Now, earwax does some important things for the health of your ears ((various infection can actually be avoided because of the antibacterial and anti-fungal qualities of earwax, according to numerous studies). So earwax can actually be a positive thing.

But hearing aids and earwax don’t always get along quite as well–the normal operation of your hearing aid can be impeded by earwax, peculiarly the moisture. On the plus side, this isn’t really a surprise to hearing aid makers and earwax doesn’t usually move in unpredictable ways.

So a safety feature, known as wax guards, have been integrated so that the effective function of your device isn’t impeded by earwax. And those wax guards could be what’s causing the “weak” sound.

Things to Know About Wax Guards

A wax guard is a little piece of technology that is integrated into your hearing aid. Wax can’t go through but sound can. Wax guards are crucial for your hearing aid to continue working properly. But issues can be caused by the wax guard itself in some situations:

  • Cleaning your earwax guard should be done once every month: it’s been too long since you last cleaned them. As with any filter, a wax guard can ultimately become clogged with the exact thing it’s been tasked with eliminating. Sound waves can be blocked if earwax is clogging up the wax guard and on occasion, you will have to clean it.
  • You have replaced your wax guard with the incorrect model: Most hearing aid manufacturers have their own unique wax guard design. Sound that is “weak” can be the outcome if you purchase the wrong wax guard for your model.
  • You haven’t changed your wax guard for some time: Wax guards need replacing like any other filter. A wax guard can only be cleaned so many times. You may have to get a new wax guard if cleaning doesn’t (in order to make this easier, you can get a toolkit made specifically for this).
  • You have a dirty hearing aid shell: And let’s not forget your hearing aid shell, which also needs to be cleaned when you switch out your wax guard. If your device shell is plugged with earwax, it’s feasible, while you’re swapping out the wax guard, some of the earwax gets into the inside of the hearing aid (and this would clearly hinder the efficiency of your hearing aids).
  • A professional clean and check is required: In order to be sure that your hearing aid is functioning properly, it should be cleaned once a year. And in order to make sure your hearing hasn’t changed at all, you also need to get your hearing tested routinely.

Make certain you use the included instruction for best results with your new wax guard.

I Replaced my Wax Guard, What’s Next?

You should observe substantially improved sound quality after you switch your wax guard. Hearing and following conversation should become much easier. And if you’ve been coping with inferior sound quality from your hearing aids, this can be a real relief.

There’s definitely a learning curve when it comes to maintaining any complex device like hearing aids. So just remember: It’s most likely time to change your wax guard if the sound quality of your hearing aid is weak even with a fully charged battery.

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