In most cases, hearing aids are essential for reconnecting my patients to the world of sound. Not only can they hear better, but their quality of life is also improved.

Nevertheless, there is an adjustment period patients must go through when wearing hearing aids for the first time. It is certainly worth persevering through this somewhat awkward stage, and I highly recommend that my patients make every effort to adjust to and regularly maintain their life-changing devices.

At Alabama Hearing Associates, we are here to support and encourage you through this transitional phase and beyond. That’s why I’ve put together this troubleshooting guide that addresses some of the most common challenges and questions my patients often have along with my easy-to-follow solutions.

Issue #1 – I’ve Inserted My Hearing Aid, But I Can’t Hear Anything

In this instance, your hearing aid has been inserted into your ear, but there isn’t any sound amplification.

What to Do:

The good news is that this is a common problem, and it is the easiest one to fix.

  1. Make sure the hearing aid is turned on. Many hearing aid styles have a manual on/off switch. It should be switched to the “on” position.
  2. Once the hearing aid is switched on, check the volume. Is it turned to the lowest possible volume? It may only need an adjustment to a higher volume setting. Perhaps you experienced some whistling or annoying feedback the last time you wore your hearing aid, and you turned the volume down too low for relief.
  3. If your hearing aid is switched to “on,” the volume is turned up, and there’s still no sound amplification, you likely have a dead battery. Remove the battery and replace it with a new one. If you need help, please give me a call, and I can assist you.

Issue #2 – Some Sounds Are Uncomfortable To Hear

Your hearing seems distorted when you are in a different environment or situation, such as when you are having a phone conversation, in a crowded room, or watching television. You find this makes your hearing aids uncomfortable to wear.

What to Do:

It is common to experience some distortion when you begin to wear hearing aids. Your brain is scrambling to process the new incoming sounds. This adjustment period is just a temporary situation, and you should notice an improvement with time.

Likewise, if you’ve been wearing hearing aids for a few years, you may find newer models may offer unique features that can make wearing hearing aids more comfortable to use and wear.

Other possibilities to consider include:

  1. Give your ears a break from your hearing aids. Remove them and let your ears rest.
  2. Some older hearing aid models may require you to adjust the setting and volume according to your environment or situation.
  3. Give your hearing aids a thorough inspection. Is there any lingering moisture? Does the battery look corroded? Can you see any wax or debris on the microphone?
  4. Many of these issues can be eliminated with new digital hearing aids. It might be time to replace your older hearing aids with a new digital pair.

Issue #3 – I’m Hearing Lots of Whistling and Feedback

The noises are painful and frustrating. It sounds very much like bad sound system feedback. You may also hear whistling or whining sounds. This issue is often due to your device being improperly placed into your ear, or your hearing aid could be damaged.

What to Do:

  1. Take out your hearing aid and reinsert it into your ear. If it doesn’t seem to sit correctly within your ear, you might need an adjustment, a different style of hearing aid, or one that comes in a different size or shape. You can learn more about this in Issue #4 below.
  2. If your hearing aid is placed within your ear correctly, yet the whistling or feedback sounds continue, it may be experiencing a sound overload. Turning the device’s volume setting down should resolve this issue.
  3. Examine the tubing and ear hook. Can you see any cracks? If so, replace the damaged part.

Issue #4 – My Hearing Aid Feels So Uncomfortable

Sadly, an uncomfortable hearing aid is pretty much destined to join your other unused gadgets in the junk drawer. That is understandable – an aching ear is an unwelcome side effect of wearing a misfitted or heavy device in the ear and one you shouldn’t have to endure.

What to Do:

As tempting as an offer or a promotion might seem, I highly advise you to steer away from low-priced generic hearing aids. These are very likely to cause you significant discomfort, as they will not be fitted to your unique ear shape and size.

When you visit an audiologist, however, your new devices will be expertly fitted to match your ears’ contours. A custom-fit will ensure that the hearing aid’s minimal weight is distributed across the ear’s entire surface. This means you won’t encounter any pressure point pain like you would with cheaper generic hearing aids.

Additionally, when you purchase your hearing aids from an audiologist, you will also benefit from regular communication, hearing aid maintenance, and follow-up appointments to ensure that you are getting the most out of your hearing aids and out of life.

If you are experiencing any issues with your hearing aids that haven’t been covered in this article, then do not hesitate to contact us. At Alabama Hearing Associates, we will do everything we can to rectify any problems, and we would be more than happy to examine and perform any required maintenance on your hearing aids.

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Dr. Jan Liles

Dr. Liles earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Montevallo and her master’s degree from the University of Alabama. From 1991 to 2001, she worked with two ENT medical practices and initiated one of the first newborn hearing screening programs in the state. In 2002, she was awarded a doctorate in audiology from the University of Florida. Dr. Liles and her longtime best friend, Dr. Sheehy, founded Alabama Hearing Associates in January 2002.
    Real World Adjustments

    Your hearing loss didn't occur overnight, so it will take some time to adjust to the hearing aids. Your patience and persistence will be well worth it.

    AHA Continued Care & Coverage Plan

    $395 Per Year

    Hearing Aids are not a quick fix, and better hearing is truly a journey.

    Our "Continued Care & Coverage Plan" allows you to have the continued support of a hearing expert throughout the year.


    • Dedicated team of hearing care experts at your service
    • Comprehensive Annual Visit including hearing assessment, hearing device adjustment, and 19-Point preventative maintenance evaluation
    • 100% moisture removal by Redux and cleaning
    • Two tele-audiology appointments
    • Bi-annual hearing aid software update and reprogramming
    • Hearing aid supplies (stock receivers, batteries, domes, and filters)
    • Access to our "speed of light" repair specialists within 2 business days
    • $100 discount on any out-of-warranty factory repairs
    Assessing Outcomes

    To ensure the most success with your hearing devices, we measure the benefits of amplification at the end of your adjustment period—some of the surveys and tests included in the “Connect 365” Functional Hearing Assessment will be repeated to evaluate progress, quality of life, and patient satisfaction with the hearing aids. 

    Wireless Connections

    Most hearing aids automatically come with wireless streaming from smartphones and it has been a lifesaver for those that are working remotely and spending hours on teleconferences. As for other wireless accessories, the two most popular solutions are a small microphone used in less-than-ideal listening environments and a TV streamer that streams the TV’s sound directly into your ears—which can be a lifesaver when watching British TV shows or during football season. If your audiologist believes they would be beneficial for you, they will discuss your options and demonstrate the device in the office.

    Orientation, Counseling, and Follow-up

    Dr. Cliff (the creator of the Best Practice Pro Network) said it best:

    “Having a detailed orientation can dramatically improve how much success you have with hearing treatment.  Counseling & Follow-up care can also ensure that you have success for years to come.  Regular visits to a hearing care provider who spends the time to discuss treatment related information and who will maintain your devices is extremely important.”

    During the orientation, your provider will give you the tools you need to be a successful hearing aid user. Everyone has different learning styles and we want to make sure whatever works best for you is what’s used. After the 75 day adjustment period, routine checkups are necessary to maintain the hearing aids and to ensure optimal hearing healthcare. 

    What Is Real-Ear Measurement?

    Real-ear measurement (REM) is how an audiologist knows that hearing aids are working the way they should in each patient’s ears.

    Ears are as unique as a fingerprint. Because of this, every ear will collect sounds differently.

    Even if I had two patients with the exact same hearing loss and hearing aids, there’s almost no chance the hearing aids would be programmed the same way.

    How do I know my new hearing aids are working properly?

    Without verifying that the hearing aid is working correctly from the start, all of the other steps in the hearing aid fitting process are useless. The most sensitive quality control measure is something called Electroacoustic Analysis. We complete EAA on every new set of hearing aids, before delivery of repaired devices, and on an annual basis.

    Prescription Hearing Technology with a Methodical Plan

    Our community understands better than most what can be achieved when you combine technology with human intelligence and persistence. It is much the same with hearing technology.

    The latest prescription hearing aid technology is incredibly powerful, offering stellar sound quality and performance. Wireless connections allow phone calls, music and television to stream directly to your hearing aids for exceptional clarity.

    But hearing aids do not fit and program themselves! For best outcomes, you also need the human touch and expertise provided by our Doctors of Audiology.

    A Comprehensive12-Step Functional Hearing Assessment

    If you struggle to understand conversations in social situations, restaurants, or other noisy environments, you do not need to schedule a basic hearing test. You certainly don’t need to schedule a “free” hearing screening or online hearing test.

    You need to schedule a “Connect 365” Functional Hearing Assessment at Alabama Hearing Associates!

    Schedule Appointment



    Comprehensive 5-Year treatment plan with premium prescription hearing aid technology

    If you want premium “out of this world” technology and the highest level of service and expert support, our All-Inclusive treatment plan is the right investment for you.

    The All-Inclusive treatment plan offers long-term value for your on-the-go lifestyle, providing everything you need to connect with family and friends for years to come.


    • Stellar  prescription hearing devices from top manufacturer (rechargeable option available)

    • Wireless accessory included at no charge

    • Comprehensive Annual Visit including hearing assessment, hearing device adjustment, and 19-Point preventative maintenance valutaion

    • Bi-annual hearing aid software update and reprogramming

    • Same day diagnosis and in-office repair during weekdays for devices dropped off before 3:00 p.m.

    • 5-Year full-service repair warranty

    • Unlimited remote hearing aid adjustments

    • 100% moisture removal by Redux and cleaning

    • Hearing aid supplies (stock receivers, batteries, domes and filters)

    • $1000 contribution towards purchase of upgraded technology within 48 months

    • 3-Year replacement warranty for loss or damage (no deductible)

    • Dedicated team of hearing care experts at your service

    • Unlimited teleaudiology appointments

    • Access to our “speed of light” repair specialists

    Basic Hearing Test

    A basic hearing test begins with an air conduction test. You will be seated in a soundproof booth and single-use, foam earphones will be inserted into your ear canals. The Audiologist will ask you to push a button or raise your hand when you barely hear a series of beeps (tones) presented at various frequencies (pitches) to obtain your air conduction thresholds.

    To determine whether your hearing loss is a conductive (mechanical) loss, sensorineural (permanent) loss or combination of the two, we perform a bone conduction test.  

    For this test, a head band is place on the bone behind one of the ears to obtain your bone conduction thresholds. This process provides a different form of sound transmission using vibration, which bypasses the eardrum and the middle ear bones and directly stimulates the auditory nerve. When you hear the beeps/tones, you will push a button or raise your hand.

    If bone conduction thresholds are better than air conduction thresholds (through the foam inserts), you have a conductive hearing loss. This suggests a problem with the mechanical structures (moving parts) of the ears.

    Conductive hearing loss is often a medically treatable condition for which we will provide you with a referral to an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) physician. However, if bone and air conduction thresholds match, it indicates a sensorineural hearing loss (permanent), and the treatment will likely involve hearing aids.