6 Ways To Easily Tell If Your Hearing Aid Is On

Boy turning on hearing aid

When wearing hearing aids for the first time, there is a lot of uncertainty that goes along with it.  After all, it's a change in your life.

Hearing aids are like any piece of technology. When it's a brand new element in your life, there can be some frustrations that come along with it, but also some excitement. If all goes well, this new electronic gadget is going to make your life easier! It will be the same for you with your hearing aids.

Some people worry a lot about their hearing aids and want to be sure they are doing everything right. It can be tricky to know if an electric device is reaching its full potential, so you might have some questions about using a hearing aid. One question that might arise is whether your hearing aid is actually working, so here are six ways to make sure your hearing aid is functional.

6 ways to make sure your hearing aid is on

1.  Make sure the battery door is completely closed.

For a hearing aid to work, its battery door needs to be entirely closed. Closing the battery door pushes the battery into place, completing the circuit, so if this isn't done, the hearing aid won't be receiving power. If you're struggling with this, remove the battery and flip it over, then reinsert and close the door.

Hearing Aid Battery Door

2.  Take the hearing aid off and cup it in your hand.

You (or a friend) should hear a high-pitched squeal coming from the hearing aid. This is the feedback loop of the hearing aid – similar to when you hold a microphone near a speaker and everything gets very loud very fast.

Hearing Aid Turned On Test

3.  With the hearing aid in your ear, rub your finger over the microphone.

It is important to remember that when wearing a behind-the-ear hearing aid, the microphone is located at the top of your ear, not in the ear. When rubbing the microphone, you should hear a “scratching” or “static” noise in that ear.

BTE Hearing Aid Mic

4.  If you have multiple programs set in your hearing aid, press the program button or use your remote to change the programs while your hearing aids are in.

Your hearing aid should make a sound to indicate the program change, like a beep or a boop.

5.  With your hearing aids out, turn the volume of your television or radio to a comfortable level for you.

Leave the volume where it is and put your hearing aids in. You should notice a change in volume or “clearness” with your hearing aids in, and you may find yourself wanting to turn the volume down.

6.  Turn the hearing aid off and back on while leaving it in your ear.

You should hear a start-up sound when it comes on (either a musical tune or spoken words).  You can also try leaving the battery door open until the hearing aid is installed and then shutting it.

Check Hearing Aid Battery While in Ear

How to troubleshoot your hearing aid

If you've tried the six steps listed above and none of them are working, then it's entirely possible that there is a problem with your hearing aid. Don't worry, you won't have to take it in for repairs just yet – there are a few things you can do that might fix it.

Check for wax blocking the microphone

Ears produce wax, and depending on how much wax you produce, you might find that your hearing aids become blocked. Whether it's the receiver or the microphone, something might need a quick clean. Hopefully you will have received some kind of cleaning apparatus with your hearing aid, so it won't be too long before it's sparkling clean and ready for use.

Turn it on and off again

The classic tech support troubleshooting answer, but it's a classic for a reason. Sometimes all a piece of technology needs to fix itself is a reboot, and hearing aids are no different.

Toggle between the programs/settings

If you've ever tried to fix a broken TV or frozen computer, you've probably desperately mashed dozens of buttons at once, hoping for any kind of reaction. As long as you're gentle, this approach might work on your hearing aid too. Play around with it until you get some kind of reaction

Replace the battery/charge the hearing aid

Hearing aids can't fit thermonuclear reactors inside them just yet, so infinite power is a pipe dream for now. This means that eventually, a hearing aid will run out of battery life, and will need to be replenished. Whether it's a new battery or a couple hours plugged into the grid, all your hearing aid might need is a bit of juice.

Take the hearing aid in for repairs

This is the final step in your quest to fix your hearing aid. While it's not ideal, it's entirely possible that, yes, your hearing aid does have some kind of internal issue that can't be fixed by an everyday user.

Worry not, if you've obtained your hearing aid through the correct channels, you'll be able to take it in for repairs, as most hearing aids are covered by an extensive warranty. It's not great, but it's not the end of the world.


As you continue using your hearing aid, you will become more comfortable with handling it and understanding how it works.

*You may notice the above hearing aids are do not have hearing aid batteries installed.  Last, but not least always make sure yours does!

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  • Bob
    I’ve recently purchased a earring dryer as instructed to try and sort a problem as mine only seem to last a few months before I get a note from the grandkids that the tv is very loud Q is are these dryers any good and do you think they work Bob
    • Lindsey Banks Au.D
      Yes, hearing aid dryers are a great way at managing moisture build-up in your hearing aids. Here are some options: https://www.clearliving.com/hearing/hearing-aids/best-dryers/
  • Darrien Hansen
    Thank you for mentioning how you can determine whether or not your hearing aid is on by touching the microphone in order to create a scratching sound. My brother is interested in getting some hearing aids since he plans on becoming an office construction worker next month, but he needs to find a device that will not fall out of his ears when he is using heavy machinery. Hopefully, he can find some that will suit his needs.
  • Becca Casey
    I just got new oticon hearing aid a 3 days ago.i dont notice much of a difference when I wearing them and talking to people.why is this?
    • Lindsey Banks
      That is not necessarily a bad thing, perhaps the hearing aids have great sound quality and sound natural to you. Take notice of whether they are solving your hearing difficulties...are you having to ask people to repeat less, is the TV easier to understand? Those are better indicators of whether the hearing aids are making a difference for you. Your follow-ups with your provider will also be an important time to mention your concerns.
  • Dev Nair
    Well explained about ways to easily tell if the hearing aid is on! Very Informative! Thank you! Keep posting!
  • James Borst
    It is interesting that you should be able to hear a high-pitched squeal from the hearing aid when cupping it in your hand. My dad has been loosing his hearing for the past few years and I've considered getting him hearing aids. I may take him to a hearing aid specialist or someone like that to see what they recommend for him.