6 Reason Why Your Hearing Aid Is Cutting Out

hearing aid cutting out

When your hearing aids cut in and out, it is very annoying. Quickly, that annoyance increases and frustration builds as you miss key conversations at work and in-home life. Having a malfunctioning hearing aid is something that all hearing-impaired individuals despise, but nevertheless seems to occur frequently. 

Being wearable electronics, hearing aids do tend to have repair issues from time to time. It’s just the nature of the beast. 

There are many reasons why hearing aids could turn on and off or seem to cut in and out. I hope to help you be able to troubleshoot the issues at home. Look over and try these methods. Sometimes the fix is simple. (However, please note that if these methods prove unsuccessful, the hearing aid may need to be sent in for repair by the manufacturer.) 

6 Issues For When Your Hearing Aid Cuts Out

Moisture Issues

Moisture is the dominant reason why hearing aids cut in and out. There have been many recent improvements in hearing aids with nano-coating water protection on the hearing aids but it still remains the #1 issue that causes hearing aids to be intermittent

What happens is moisture can plug up the microphone, speakers, tubing, and wax traps. This happens when the humidity get high, you wear hearing aids in the rain or shower, or you started to sweat while wearing the hearing aids. 

Luckily, moisture issues have a simple solution and can be solved by storing your hearing aids in a form of a desiccant to dry them out each and every night. In our article about what to do if your hearing aids got wet, we cover multiple devices that can dry out your hearing aid. 

I highly recommend a hearing aid drying device if you are having issues with the hearing aid being intermittent.

wax trap

Wax Trap Issues

Wax Traps are the number one reason that hearing aids stop working and can also cause them to cut in and out. Wax traps or wax guards must be changed on a regular base otherwise a tiny bit of earwax can close off the tiny holes in the wax trap and stop any sound from entering your ear canal. 

A clogged wax trap also often results in hearing aids cutting in and out. Often, patients report that in the morning the hearing aid seems to work just fine, and then after an hour or two, it stops working. 

If you pull the aid out and let it sit for an hour or two, it could start working again. Why does this work? Because what is happening in this situation is that your body heat is causing the debris and moisture in the wax trap to expand and block off the sound. When you allow the hearing aid to sit on a table, the debris dries and cools, opening up little gaps for the sound to escape from. 

This problem can be easily solved by replacing the wax trap. Please see our post on how to change wax traps for all hearing aid manufacturers.

how to change a wax trap materials

Cold Weather

Cold Weather does affect hearing aids and can cause them to not work as well. This is a battery power issue. When hearing aids get too cold, the electrons in the batteries move slower and the hearing aid does not get sufficient voltage to run causing it to turn off. 

This is similar to a cell phone battery not working when it gets very cold or a car not starting when it gets really cold. Most hearing aids user guides to recommend that hearing aids operate between +1°C to +40°C (34° to +104° Fahrenheit)

Now, we all know people wear their hearing aids in winter at temperatures below freezing. Luckily, hearing aids are worn on the body and body heat helps keep the hearing aid from dropping below that freezing mark.

However, if you are outside for a long period of time and your ears get cold, the hearing aid also gets cold and you could run into problems. 

The solution here is to put new batteries in the hearing aid and wear a winter stocking cap or beanie on top of the hearing aid to help insulate them against the cold air.

Worn Out Battery Contacts

Battery Contacts can get bent out of place over time when a hearing aid is turned on and off. If they are bent, the contact with the battery can be weakened and cause the hearing aid to cut in and out. 

If your battery contacts do not appear to be firmly pressed against the hearing aid, you can try bending them back in place or take your hearing aid to be evaluated by your local audiologist.

Receiver Connection

The most common type of hearing aid today is RIC devices. They use a wire from the top of the hearing aid (behind your ear) that goes down into the ear canal. This wire can sometimes become loose and when it wiggles the wires can temporally lose connection. 

Test this out by pushing the wire firmly into the hearing aid to make sure the connection is not loose. If this is a recurrent problem, the wire part (known as the receiver) may need to be replaced on the hearing aid.

BTE Tubing Needs to Be Changed

Behind-the-Ear hearing aids also have common problems with tubing that cause the hearing aid to cut in and out. 

Over time, the tubing becomes stiff and hard and gets ear wax in it as well as moisture.

Your hearing aid tubing should be ideally changed every 3 months as routinely maintained. If the tubing of your hearing aid has gone stiff please replace it and it may just solve the issue.

Final Thoughts

If the above 6 solutions did not help you solve the problem of the hearing aid cutting in or out, the circuit likely has an issue in it and will need to go back to the manufacturer for repair

Now, I know it is a pain to have your hearing aid sent in for repair as it often means not having it for a week or two but the good news is that the hearing aid manufacturer will likely send you back a brand-new hearing aid.

It is easier and less expensive for the manufacturer to replace the entire hearing aid and then figure out what is making the device intermittent. Most professionally fit hearing aids are under warranty for at least the first two years. After two years you may have a couple of hundred-dollar repair fee. 

If your aid is a device that was purchased online or is 4 or 5 years old, it may be just a cheaper or better option to purchase brand-new and updated devices.

Jonathan Javid Au.D.

Jonathan Javid Au.D., a seasoned audiologist with an extensive background in the field of audiology. With over 11 years of invaluable clinical experience, Jonathan has dedicated his career to helping individuals enhance their hearing and improve their quality of life.

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