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How to fix common problems with in-the-ear or in-the-canal hearing aids

How to fix common problems with in-the-ear or in-the-canal hearing aids

Use our troubleshooting guide if you’re having problems with one or both of your hearing aids. There might be a simple fix.

If these tips do not work, or if you continue to have hearing aid problems, contact your audiologist.

If you’re new to hearing aids, it’s normal for it to take a while to get used to the feeling of them in your ears and the sounds you hear.

See our tips for adjusting to your hearing aids

Troubleshooting guide

What hearing aid problem do you have?

No sound or reduced sound quality

Is the battery fitted correctly?

You should see the positive (+) side when you open the battery drawer. If the battery is fitted correctly, try replacing it with a new one.

Is the end of the hearing aid blocked?

Clean the hearing aid by wiping it with a soft, dry cloth and brushing off any visible blockages using your cleaning tool.

Check the wax filter to see if it’s blocked. Use the cleaning tool to brush away any wax or replace the wax filter if necessary.

Is there condensation in the hearing aid?

In-the-ear hearing aids can be prone to condensation problems as they plug your ear and can make the ear sweaty.

If the sound you hear through your hearing aid sounds dull or the hearing aid is not switching on, leave it for a few hours, or overnight, in a warm dry place and this will help to clear any condensation. If this does not work, you’ll need to see your audiologist.

If you often have problems with condensation, you can buy condensation absorbing tablets to put into your hearing aid case overnight to absorb the moisture.

Buzzing noises

Is your hearing aid on the hearing loop (T) setting?

This can happen accidentally sometimes. To check if this is the problem, turn your hearing aid off and on to reset it.

Whistling noises

Does the hearing aid fit firmly and securely inside your ear?

If there are gaps around the hearing aid, the amplified sound can escape and cause a whistling sound that you or other people might hear.

Make sure you fit the hearing aid in your ear as far as it will comfortably go.

If the hearing aid is loose or if your ear has changed size over time – this usually happens every 3 to 5 years – you will need to have a new impression of your ear made. You will then get a replacement shell for your hearing aid so it fits your ear properly.

Is the hearing aid covered?

The microphones on your hearing aid will whistle if they are covered – for example, with a hat, scarf or headphones.

Is ear wax blocking the wax filter?

If it is, remove the soft earpiece from the receiver and try to remove the blockage from the wax filter with your cleaning tool. If this doesn’t work, replace the wax filter with a new one.

If ear wax is blocking your ear, ask your GP where your nearest wax removal service is.


Get help with hearing aid problems 

If you’ve tried our troubleshooting tips and are still having problems with one or both of your hearing aids, your audiology service can help. 

You should also see an audiologist if: 

  • the tubing or earpiece is making your ear sore – this can easily be fixed 
  • you’ve worn hearing aids for a while and are not getting the same benefit from them – this might mean your hearing has changed and your audiologist needs to adjust your hearing aids. 

See your GP if you have ear pain, earache or discharge from your ear – you might have an ear infection that needs treating. 

NHS hearing aid clinics 

If you have NHS hearing aids, you can get help with hearing aid problems at local hearing aid clinics. Contact your audiology service to find out where your nearest clinic is.

In some parts of the UK, RNID runs these clinics in partnership with audiology departments.  

Find out if there’s an RNID hearing aid support service near you

When going to the clinic, don’t forget to take your repair book and both hearing aids with you. Some clinics can visit you at home if it’s hard for you to travel.


Find out more about hearing aids

Learn about the benefits of hearing aids and how to get the most out of them, whether you’re new to hearing aids or have been using them for years.

Learn more about hearing aids


Contact RNID

If you have any questions or need more information, you can contact us. We’re here to help.


Get more information by email

At RNID, we offer free information and support to the 12 million people living with hearing loss in the UK.

Sign up for a series of emails from our Information Team to find out more about getting hearing aids, including:

  • the types of hearing aids available  
  • communication tips while you wait for them
  • and how you can look after them.