Hearing aids are delicate mechanisms, so even if you’ve double-checked yours before you head on vacation, there is still a chance things could go a little haywire. What do you do if your hearing aid malfunctions when you’re out of town? Packing an adequate hearing aid travel kit might be able to solve minor problems, but in the event you can’t fix the issue yourself, you’ll have to locate a local hearing health professional.
Before seeking an audiologist, try troubleshooting the problem yourself. You could save yourself a lot of time and money by knowing a few quick tricks when your hearing aid starts acting up. Time and money is even more valuable when you’re on vacation, since you don’t want to interrupt your beach time unless it’s absolutely necessary.
If your hearing aid is weak or not working: First check the battery to make sure it’s inserted correctly and functioning properly. Next, check that the volume control is set to a level you can hear. Then, check the vents and receiver openings to make sure they’re not clogged with earwax or dirt, and that the tubing is connected properly. Finally, check to see if the microphone opening is clogged.
If the sound is distorted or inconsistent: Replace the hearing aid battery, because this could be a sign that it’s weak or defective. Get rid of any lingering moisture in the tubing with an air blower and replace any cracked cords.
If the hearing aid is emitting feedback: Check that the volume isn’t turned up too high, because that can cause your hearing aid to give off a whistling or squealing sound. Be sure the earpiece is inserted correctly into your ear and the microphone isn’t covered by any clothing.
When to seek a hearing care professional
If the above troubleshooting tips don’t resolve your hearing aid’s issue, then it’s time to seek an hearing care professional. If any parts are missing or damaged, particularly the tubing, a visit to the audiologist for hearing aid repair is necessary.
Persistent feedback is also a sign you need to take the hearing aid to be looked at by a professional, since feedback can be a sign of an improper fit. Since your ear changes shape over time, your hearing aid can become slightly dislodged, creating a whistling or squealing sound.
Finding a local hearing healthcare provider
Your hearing is important, so you shouldn’t pick just any hearing care professional simply because you’re away from home. Doing some quick research before you head to the doctor can have a major impact on the rest of your vacation.
Reviews: Online reviews are easily accessible, and while they don’t always present a full picture of the doctor and the clinic, the patients’ overall experience is often clearly communicated. Healthy Hearing offers a quick and easy 'find a professional' section complete with reviews!
Insurance: Insurance companies often review and rate the health care providers they cover. A quick phone call to your company will present you with several options.
Referral: Ask around! If you’re visiting someone you know in the area, ask for a referral. Word-of-mouth referrals are often the happiest customers.
Credentials: Check the hearing healthcare provider's degree or credentials. A Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) is the highest degree an audiologist can earn. Other common credentials include Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology (CCC-A) and National Board Certified in Hearing Instrument Sciences (NBC-HIS).
Preparing for the unexpected can be difficult, especially when you’re in unfamiliar territory. But just because you’re out of town doesn’t mean you’re at the mercy of the fates. The Internet can help you quickly find a quality audiologist in your area.