Every day, someone calls our clinic saying, “my hearing aid stopped working. I put in a new battery and nothing’s happening.”
Or we hear, “it was working, then it just stopped. Something’s wrong.”
We ask, “did you check to see if it’s plugged?” They say, “it can’t be plugged, I clean my ears regularly.”
99 percent of the time, the trouble we find is EARWAX, that goopy stuff that secretes from glands in the ear.
According to Wikipedia, “Cerumen (the technical term for earwax) is a mixture of viscous secretions from sebaceous glands and less-viscous ones from modified apocrine sweat glands.
Sweat glands??? In the ear???
Well, if that is so, what is the likelihood that we can stop earwax from forming during the day?
Just because we washed our armpits this morning, does it mean we won’t sweat during the day? Of course not. Well, just because we clean our ears regularly, does it mean we can stop earwax from forming? Not a chance. Earwax is going to come no matter what we do.
Now, it’s true, some people produce more earwax than others. Even on one person’s head, it can be true that one ear produces more earwax than the other. Add to that the problem for hearing aid wearers of having a hearing aid sitting down in the ear canal, blocking the natural progression of the earwax to the outside world.
As one little glob of earwax forms on the surface of the ear canal, another one is forming down below it, like beads of sweat, pushing the first one up. With the hearing aid sitting right there, the wax has nowhere to go, other than right up into the speaker of the hearing aid.
Hearing aids are small, so it stands to reason that the opening of a hearing aid speaker (technically referred to as a “receiver” in industry parlance) is tiny. It does not take a lot of wax to cut the sound of the hearing aid off. Particularly if you have hearing loss, even a small drop in sound power can give the impression the hearing aid is not working.
We can never rule out that a hearing aid might actually have something really wrong with it any time a person calls. However, it might save you or your loved one a trip down to our office if you check for wax first. As we said earlier, 99 percent of the time, earwax is the problem when a hearing aid “just stopped, for no reason.”