Hearing aid servicing is a tendency that has become very common in the past few years and hearing healthcare professionals often recommend annual or even bi-annual servicing of hearing instruments.
Hearing instruments often start functioning less optimally after some period of time. Reasons for this often involve moisture in the system, wax build up in the system and other potential electronic faults. It might very well be that the hearing instrument still switches on and amplifies sound, but it might have a slightly lower output than prescribed due to a technical fault. In cases such as these, faults are often missed. During full proper service, these technical issues are often identified and corrected.
Hearing aid servicing generally entails a visual inspection of the unit, and correcting obvious damage / blockage and dirt build up on and inside the instrument. Replacement of scratched housing or casing are often also included in a service. Faulty battery doors are replaced, and rusted battery contacts are replaced / cleaned. Hearing instruments also undergo technical assessment to determine whether the device is working according to technical specification, aspects assessed includes: Output of instrument per frequency band, microphone, amplifier and receiver (speaker) capability to provide clear amplification. The firmware / software of the hearing instrument is often updated (similar to a smartphone). The outcome of an in depth service is ensuring that the instrument works 100% according to specification, as a brand new instrument would, not just the cleaning and visual inspection of the instrument.
Very important to note is that some manufacturing companies have been changing the way that they do services to ensure affordability, as well as a very quick turnaround time. A service exchange system has been put in place in many cases, which means that your instrument is sent in for service, and you receive a refurbished instrument back, with a different serial number. Refurbished implies that all faulty components in the instrument have been replaced with refurbished, repaired or new components – with the end goal, a fully functional, good as new instrument. This refurbishment process is an approved process, and is not new to the world of electronics as it has been done for years in other fields. Suppliers that provide the option of a service exchange with a refurbished instrument, do have the option (should you opt to do so) to work on your original instrument – this often takes longer.
The best is to make an informed decision about your hearing care professional that you choose to have your instruments serviced with. Knowledge is power – inform yourself before being blinded by empty marketing promises.