How do you know if your receiver is not working well?

I had another post here talking about my right HA being muffled. At times, the opening jingle is barely audible and I feel like my hearing is one sided. When this happens, I usually open the battery door a minute, then wear it again. This time, the jingle volume is as loud as I remember and I don’t feel all the odd one sided thing happen.

But my aids are being serviced due the issue of the right aid muting by itself and being muffled as well. I am wearing a loaner and the issue of it being muffled is happening. I have off loaded ON app so not using it. Now I am wondering if my right HA receiver is having problems instead. The receivers are over a year old.

In the old days (at least for me) a receiver in the HA body lasted a long time, four, five years before needing replacement. Moisture was usually the cause for replacing a receiver along with the receiver just wearing out over time. Then about ten years ago a lot of aids went to receivers in the ear mold. Any way to address your question, due to my hearing loss I’ve always felt it difficult to distinguish when a receiver needs replacement. In most cases the receiver does not completely shut off. I’ve been told a receiver in the ear mold can last anywhere from a year to three years - with the average being replaced after two years. I wish there was some warning system built into HA that alerts the user when a receiver starts to fail. A muffled sound could be a sign the receiver needs replacement, along with sound distortion as another warning sign. Personally I’d rather let an audi do a receiver swap in his/her office, but some HA’s force you to mail you aid for new receiver replacement. At as anything with HA’s a small simple receiver that should cost $30 - $40 could easily cost $110 or more. If you wear two hearing aids probably best to have both replaced at the same time.

But before you blame the muffled sound on a defective receiver, check your aid for ear wax build up, especially if its vented. Ear wax buildup can cause a hearing aid to offer a muffled sound, especially so if the air vent to plugged up.

Another urban myth, simply not true, they mostly last many years without issue, the weak point is where the receiver wire connects to the speaker, because people pull/push on this point to remove or insert them.

Actually very easy, you can test by swapping over the receivers.

Now that would be truly smart, but for the most part as mentioned, it’s very easy to tell.

Again this would not be a receiver fail in most cases,but a blocked wax filter.

Why? It’s so easy to do yourself, its just like changing a battery.

Again why would you do this, only replace it when needed, save a few dollars ; )

When you get this kind of issue that comes and goes , you could wiggle the wire and see if it’s a connection between the receiver and wire, because opening and closing the battery door wouldn’t fix a blocked wax filter.

I think you could be off base on a few statements.

Not a myth. Receivers in custom ear molds average 24 months before replacing. A hearing aid will far out last a receiver and it’s quite common to replace a defective receiver once or twice during the lifetime of a hearing aid. And for a “majority” of HA users - they either can’t swap HA receivers due to restricting configuration of the HA/mold or due to personal limitations.

Again - swapping out receiver is not a piece of cake (depending on HA) and most audiologist would recommend either they do the switch or the HA gets set to the shop. Furthermore if your going to swap out receivers to test your (current) receivers - you’re better off just replacing them then. It’s never wise to open/close a HA body or ear mold repeatedly, since its extremely easy to break something.

Why do it, because if one receiver fails (after 24 plus) months of use there is a very strong chance the other receiver will also fail in short order. Easier on everyone if both receivers are replaced at the same time since then you start out with new receivers in both aids, thus less chance of a breakdown for the next 24 months plus. Now again I’m basing my time line on receiver in custom ear molds. Receivers inside HA body do last longer in my opinion but they also will need to be replaced probably in 3 years plus.

Majority of HA users are senior citizens so let’s not assume everyone over 60 can just open up a hearing aid and take something out and then plug something in. There are delicate wires and connections within a hearing aid, plus its extremely easy to break casing, battery compartment latch, etc. Plus you’ll (sometimes) find that new receiver you just bought could also be defective and not work properly.

True there could be a wire disconnection between HA and receiver but in most cases its “moisture/high humidity” over a period of time that causes receivers too fail. That’s been true since day one.

Sometimes things are best left to professionals. That’s not saying someone can’t try to repair their own hearing aid, but if you have a warranty - use it. And if you have a good Audi - use them.

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Switching receivers is pretty easy. I’m over 60 and for me this is an easy thing to do with Phonak aids. Between researching on the internet and this forum there is plenty help on how to do it it with any aids. It’s not complicated.

Receivers are readily available on line, usually for less than $50 US for a pair.

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Depends on the hearing aid. Some aids you take old receiver out - pop new one in. Others are a very difficult to remove too due to limited space/tight fit. Others aids are only replaced at HA repair outlets by the HA manufacturer. Bottom line most people that use a hearing aid are going to let someone else (more experienced) replace receivers when time comes. Especially the elderly.

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I suspect you are including BTE hearing aids. This thread is about RIC hearing aid receivers.
Receiver replacement on RIC hearing aids is not complicated.

I have experienced two receiver failures. The first was about 5 years ago when I was wearing Starkey HAs that I purchased from an independent aud. The receiver when completely dead. The Audi charged me $90 and it took two weeks for the factory turnaround.
The second failure was with my COSTCO Resound HAs. The receiver slowly started to sound diminished and I could hardly hear the start signals when inserting the receiver in my ear. I went to COSTCO and they tested the receiver and immediately replaced it on the spot and did not charge me anything. A great experience with COSTCO service.

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I woke up to a lively forum.

Sorry if I posted in the wrong forum. I did post in Octicon but now I see it is in the general hearing aid forum. I am using a BTE with receiver in the ear. As someone mentioned, I push & pull the receiver/cable part when wearing or taking it out. I am now suspecting the receiver or even the cable connecting the receiver to the HA itself is faulty or became loose. Hence the issues I am having. I’ll ask my audi. He told me before the receiver usually lasts 2 years and he could change it with no problem if it fails. I just don’t know what happens if maybe the part where the cable connects to rhe receiver has gotten loose.

I should have mentioned that the Starkey HA receiver did have a loose wire at the point that the wire connects to the receiver. In the second case I mentioned, the receiver just went downhill in speaker performance over time, so I took it in to COSTCO for replacement.

You are describing a RIC hearing aid, not a BTE hearing aids. BTE hearing aids use sound tubes. Both type aids look similar but have differences.


Yes, RIC. My brain says RIC, my fingers type BTE. So I am guessing the connection of the tube with the receiver is somewhat loose? I emailed my audi to ask if there’s a way to troubleshoot to confirm this is the case. I want to say that the wax filter is clean. My audi checked it.

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RIC aids don’t have a tube. Your RIC aids have a wire from the aid to the receiver (speaker) that goes deep into the ear canal. These wires tend to be the weak point of RIC aids. The wire connection at the aid and at the receiver itself tend to get bent and pulled on from general use. The receiver itself is very reliable.
Oticon calls RIC aids RITE aids.

Can you show any evidence or white papers on why at “24 months”

Yes I agree, for a variety of reasons, not because it “wears out” or reaching a “24 month” timetable.

Why? Your swapping over to test and see if it’s the receiver or HA that has a fault, not for any other reason.

Murphy’s Law?

I agree.

Unfortunately the warranty doesn’t cover receivers by most manufacturers. Unless of course it’s a manufacturer fault to begin with.

Yes there is, just swap the receivers over to test if it’s the HA or receiver.

except for those embedded in a hard shell.

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The op could still remove the receiver from the HA and change it with the other side, just to test if it’s working as it should.

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Check out how easy it is to change the receiver in this link.

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I’ve replaced 2 R and 1 L ‘receivers’ on my just over 2 year old KS8’s in the last 8 months. All no cost even today with the local Costco implementing special operations due to the COVID19 virus. Only one person working in hearing center there. Anyway, I asked her why do these receivers fail. She said moisture. l do remove them by pulling on the wire. I’ll try removing them by pulling on the short plastic piece that loops inside the outer ear to help keep the aid in place. I’ve ordered another " Ezy Dose Dehumidifier" … my last one is over a year old and is due to be replaced.

Three separate Audi’s (all different firms) told me RIC (in my case in ear mold) last approx. two year, give or take. Now I never had that (short term) issue when I wore analog hearing aids with receiver in hearing aid body. Back then I could go 4, 5 years with no receiver problem. But when the receiver switch happened ten years ago (roughly) everyone was told you’d probably have to replace small RIC every 24 months. Some people dry their HA’s at night, others don’t. The group that doesn’t will probably be the first to have to replace receivers due to moisture issues.

Probably having a back up pair of receivers isn’t a bad idea, but I’d rather purchase new ones when my existing ones falter. Kudos to those that can swap out receivers on their own, do their own HA programming, and buy what ever on eBay without a second thought. Truth is 90% of all hearing aid users have a “hearing specialist” do all the above, of course at a higher cost. I’m really not here on HT to talk to the 10% that do their own HA repairs.

Regarding warranty, a savvy HA purchaser should inquire (and might demand) that HA receivers be replaced under a 3 or 4 year warranty for free. Wouldn’t it be nice if a warranty covered everything regarding a HA function and didn’t exclude x, y, z. But as you say most HA manufactures probably won’t replace receivers unless they fail during the first twelve months of operation.