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

Your hearing aids don’t sound the way they should even though you recently changed the batteries. Things just don’t sound right, like they’re a little bit muffled and far away. It’s like some of the sound is missing. When you do some basic research, a battery issue seems to be the most likely reason. Which frustrates you because you keep the batteries charged every night.

Even so, here you are, fighting to hear your bunch of friends carry on a conversation around you. This is precisely the scenario you bought hearing aids to prevent. You may want to check out one more possibility before you become too annoyed about your hearing aids: earwax.

A Residence in Your Ears

Your hearing aids reside in your ear, usually. Your ear canal is at least contacted even by an over the ear model. Other models are designed to be placed inside the ear canal for ideal efficiency. Wherever your hearing aid is situated, it will be close to an ever-present neighbor: earwax.

A Guard Against Earwax

Now, earwax does some great things for the health of your ears ((many infection can actually be prevented because of the antibacterial and anti-fungal qualities of earwax, according to many studies). So earwax isn’t a bad thing.

But earwax and hearing aids don’t always get along quite as well–the standard functionality of your hearing aid can be hampered by earwax, peculiarly the moisture. Luckily, this isn’t really a surprise to hearing aid manufacturers and earwax doesn’t often move in unpredictable ways.

So modern hearing aids have safeguards, known as wax guards, created to keep earwax from impacting the normal function of your device. And the “weak” sound might be brought about by these wax guards.

Things to Know About Wax Guards

A wax guard is a little piece of technology that is incorporated into your hearing aid. Wax can’t pass through but sound can. Wax guards are crucial for your hearing aid to keep working properly. But issues can be caused by the wax guard itself in certain cases:

  • A professional check and clean is required: At least once every year you should have your hearing aid professionally cleaned and checked to be certain it’s working correctly. And in order to make sure your hearing hasn’t changed at all, you should also get your hearing tested on a regular basis.
  • It’s been too long since the wax guard has been changed: Wax guards need replacing like any other filter. A wax guard can only be cleaned so many times. When cleaning no longer does the trick, you may have to change your wax guard (in order to make this smoother, you can purchase a toolkit made specially for this).
  • You have an unclean hearing aid shell: When you’re switching your earwax guard, it’s essential that your hearing aid shell be properly cleaned also. If earwax is covering your device, it’s possible some of that wax could find its way into the inside of the device while you’re changing the guard (and, naturally, this would hamper the function of the hearing aid).
  • You’ve replaced your wax guard with the wrong model: Most hearing aid manufacturers have their own special wax guard design. Sound that is “weak” can be the result if you buy the wrong wax guard for your model.
  • Cleaning your earwax guard needs to be done once every month: it’s been too long since you’ve 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 once in a while, you will need to clean it.

If you get a new hearing aid guard, it will likely come with instructions, so it’s a good plan to follow those instructions to the best of your ability.

After I Switch Out my Earwax Guard

You should hear much better sound quality once you switch your wax guard. Hearing and following discussions should be much better. And if you’ve been coping with weak sound from your hearing aids, this can be a real relief.

There’s certainly a learning curve in regards to maintaining any specialized device like hearing aids. So don’t forget: It’s most likely time to change your wax guard if the sound quality of your hearing aid is weak even when the battery is fully charged.

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