Lineup of 6 Starkey brand hearing aids

The majority of you reading this blog either wear hearing aids or know someone who does. By the time you’ve read this, there could be over 10,000 cases of the COVID-19 virus in New Jersey.

All of us really need to practice social distancing and just stay home. The peak of COVID-19 cases may not occur for several weeks and this “invisible enemy” can attack all ages, although our senior population is significantly at risk.

According to a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can live in the air and on surfaces between several hours and several days. The study found that the virus is viable for up to 72 hours on plastics, 48 hours on stainless steel, 24 hours on cardboard, and 4 hours on copper. It is also detectable in the air for three hours.

I’ve been an Audiologist for over 30 years and I’ve never experienced anything like this. However, my staff and I are here to help anyone who is suffering from hearing loss and can’t communicate with their loved ones because they’re hearing aid stopped working. In these times of social isolation, it’s imperative that we communicate with our loved ones. We need that connection for psycho-social and cognitive reasons.

So… what are the steps you can take if your hearing aid just stopped working?

  • Replace the battery and wait at least three minutes before you close the battery door. If you have a rechargeable hearing aid, make sure the charger is plugged in and the lights are blinking green. Some chargers need to be reset and that button is usually on the underside of the charger.
  • If you are wearing a hearing aid that has a dome that inserts into your ear, replace that dome and remove the white filter inside the receiver. If you have replacement filters, replace the old filter. If you don’t know how to replace the filter, take a “pin” and carefully pop off the filter. Hearing aids can function without a filter. If you don’t have extra domes, remove the dome and clean it with soap and warm water, let it dry and put the dome back on the receiver.
  • Always use a soft dry toothbrush to clean the dome every day. If you’re wearing a custom hearing aid (only goes into the ear….nothing behind the ear), you should be cleaning the “white” filter daily and if the hearing aid is not working, remove the filter. Again, if you have replacement filters, replace the old one. If you don’t, leave the filter out.
  • If you’re wearing a traditional BTE (behind-the-ear) hearing aid with an earmold, it is more than likely that your “tubing” is blocked with wax. In many cases, the tubing needs to be replaced. This creates a big problem since 99% of our offices are closed. In the short term, I would remove the tubing from the “ear hook” of the hearing aid, and run very warm water through the tubing or even hydrogen peroxide. In addition, if you have a “pipe cleaner” run this wire completely through the ear mold. Please let everything dry out before putting the tubing back on the BTE ear hook.
  • If you have hearing aids that are connected to an APP on your smart phone, remember the hearing aids are still operational whether you lose connection with your APP. Your hearing healthcare provider can provide you with technical support phone numbers from all of the major hearing aid manufacturers. They will help you reconnect your hearing instruments to your APP.

Hopefully these trouble shooting steps will be helpful in rectifying your hearing aid issue. If not, contact your hearing healthcare professional and leave them a message. In my practice, we are checking messages on a daily basis and returning calls.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please feel free to directly email me at [email protected] or 732-818-3610.

Please stay healthy, stay home, practice social distancing and I promise you there will be a bright light at the end of the tunnel.

All the Best!

Dr. Izzy