From time to time we all need a little TLC, and the same is true for our hearing aids.

When you get into the routine of cleaning your device and allowing it to air overnight, then it should give years of reliable service. However, the tiny nature of the parts can mean sometimes they need replacing in order to optimize performance. When this happens a trip to the audiologist for an on-the-spot fix may be all that’s necessary.

Do you know how to determine if your hearing aid needs to be repaired or if you can fix it at home? Here are five signs to help you decide.

1. Your hearing aid stops working

Happily a ‘dead’ device is not always as terminal as it seems. Your first step should be to remove the battery and replace it with a fresh one, since flat batteries do a good job of mimicking a goosed device.

Likewise, check the fine tubing that connects the ear mold to the receiver. If it’s blocked with earwax or choked with condensation this blocks the passage of sound, and replacing the tubing may be all you need to do.

However, if you’ve checked the on/off switch, replaced the battery, and the tubing is in good shape, then a trip to the audiologist is definitely next on the list.

2. Intermittent hearing aid problems

Waxing and waning sound or an intermittent problem can be another indication of a dodgy battery. In the first instance, potentially save a trip to the audiologist by replacing the battery, and if the problem remains you can know for sure a professional needs to get involved.

3. Your hearing aid is producing a whistling sound

A persistent whistling can be due to an incorrectly placed earpiece, wax in your ears, or a fault with the hearing device. If you are plagued with an unpleasant whistling then try removing the device from your ear and then pay particular attention to how you replace it.

If this doesn’t do the job then try cleaning your ears (using an ear cleaner, never cotton swabs), and if the whistling is still there then it could be a fault with the device and it’s time to see your audiologist.

4. Volume isn’t loud enough

When the volume dial is set to max and yet sounds are muffled, then check the tubing. Earwax or condensation in the receiver tubing works just like an earplug in your ear canal, and diminishes sound. Replace the tubing, or if this is too difficult, then your audiologist will be happy to help.

5. Your hearing is worse

When a previously satisfactory device stops delivering the goods, then touch base with an audiologist. If your hearing has deteriorated, it may be possible to reprogram the hearing aid to cope better with the loss of certain frequencies. Alternatively, it might be time to reassess if this is still the best model for you and upgrade accordingly.

If you experience any of the above problems with your hearing aid and cannot seem to cure the issues with any of these suggestions, schedule an appointment with your audiologist to determine if your device requires repairs.