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Hearing aid side effects

Hearing aids have one main purpose: to improve hearing! However, they do not always fulfill their actual purpose. Undesirable side effects or side effects can occur, which is why it is important to be aware of possible risks. To prevent these, it should generally be noted that hearing aids may only be used with a prescription from a specialist. Selection and adjustment must take place under professional advice from a hearing care professional to minimize risks. Illegal use can result in health problems and should therefore be avoided as far as possible.

Side effects are to be expected especially in the initial phase, i.e. when hearing aid wearing is started. The adjustment to the flood of stimuli suddenly perceived through hearing amplification can be overwhelming for the ears and brain. Consequently, the environment or even one's own voice may suddenly be perceived as uncomfortably loud. Fortunately, the body becomes accustomed to the stimulation through regular wear.

The following undesirable side effects are known to occur with hearing aids:

Hearing aid leads to headaches

Headaches occur primarily during habituation. Hearing aids allow increased perception of auditory impulses. However, in addition to amplifying hearing, the new stimuli can also contribute to brain overload. This may result in a form of exhaustion, which sometimes manifests itself as a headache. The cause of this is not the hearing aid, but the brain itself. With regular use, however, the brain becomes accustomed to the abundance of stimuli and the pain usually passes.

Hearing aid triggers dizziness

Dizziness becomes a potential confounding factor especially in sensory hearing loss. In this type of hearing loss, the inner ear is affected, which is the site of hearing as well as balance. The described new sensory overload leads to a stress situation for the ears. Stress, in turn, is known to be a factor that can trigger dizziness. Wearing the hearing aid for too long may likewise result in stress-induced balance disorder.

Hearing aid causes ear pain

Ear pain can have numerous causes. Some of them may be caused by wearing a hearing aid. On the one hand, injuries caused by impacts on the auricle, for example, are the reason for painful ears. On the other hand, infections can trigger ear infections or otomycosis. The constant contact with the skin and the constant wearing of hearing aids promotes the formation of moisture in the ear, which softens it. Softened skin poses a risk of itching and promotes inflammation.

To prevent earaches and ear infections, be sure to remove hearing aids at night. This ensures that the ear dries at night and reduces the risk of infection. In addition, to keep bacteria and pathogens out of the ear canal, a daily cleaning of the hearing aids should be carried out with cleaning agents specifically designed for this purpose.

Poor speech understanding despite hearing aids

At the outset, it should be said that hearing performance is entirely individual, even with a hearing aid. The respective hearing impairment and the hearing settings affect how good the speech understanding is ultimately. A change in hearing ability cannot be ruled out, primarily in the case of age-related hearing loss that gradually deteriorates. This can lead to a deterioration in speech understanding despite hearing amplification. Other causes are incorrectly fitted earmolds resulting in functional impairment, a damaged connecting tube or sound outlet openings clogged with sebum and cerumen. Again, thorough daily cleaning is a means of prevention. If speech understanding deteriorates, the hearing care professional should also be consulted.

Hearing aid presses in/on the ear

If the earmolds fit incorrectly, pressure sensation or inflammation may occur. In addition, pressure points are caused in part by hardened sound tubes. The hearing care professional should be consulted if there is pressure in/on the ear for possible earmold adjustment. Regular checking and, if necessary, replacement of sound tubes and earmolds should also be considered. Usually, the latter are changed after two to three years, but this may vary from individual to individual and thus may be necessary sooner.

Hearing aid induces intolerance/allergy

Since earmolds as well as the housings of hearing aids are mostly made of plastic, reactions to the material cannot be ruled out. Likewise, dermatitis or skin irritation can occur because the hearing aid exerts friction on the skin if creams or soaps containing irritants have been used previously. However, this should not normally occur with a well-fitted hearing aid. Anyone known to have sensitive, allergy-prone skin should note this during the hearing consultation to minimize the likelihood of an allergic reaction, if possible.

Unwanted sounds with hearing aids

Unwanted sounds, such as rushing or whistling, can interfere with hearing. Noise usually occurs caused by moisture, which leads to the disruption of the electrical connection in the hearing aid, or due to contamination. Preventively, therefore, cleaning as well as drying the hearing aids should be carried out regularly. Whistling occurs when the earmold no longer seals properly. The consequence is feedback, which is remedied by means of the fitting of the earmold by the hearing care professional. One of the most well-known whistling or beeping noises - tinnitus - is usually attenuated by wearing hearing aids, although in rare cases it is amplified by them. Wearing hearing aids for too long can also cause tinnitus. In these cases, a physician should be consulted.

Preventing side effects

Some principles help prevent side effects from hearing aids.

  • Do not wear the hearing aid at night to allow the hearing to rest, as well as to remove moisture from the ear and the hearing aid.
  • Have hearing aids and earmolds checked regularly to check function and fit.
  • Attention should be paid to proper cleaning and drying of the devices.
  • Protect hearing aids from intense heat.
  • If you feel pressure, itching or disturbing noises, do not be afraid to consult a hearing care professional.
  • Always have repairs done professionally.
  • Find the right hearing aid through hearing counseling to avoid allergic reaction.
  • Wear hearing aids daily and allow the devices and yourself time to get used to them.