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Four Side Effects of Wearing Hearing Aids

wearing hearing aids

Have you been told you need hearing aids but are sceptical? Hearing aids are small but mighty devices that can restore your auditory capabilities. Yet, like most things in life, they come with a few side effects you should know. 

The good news first: To most hearing aid wearers, these side effects aren’t bothersome at all. 

In 2019, the American Academy of Audiology published a study that concluded the majority of adult hearing aid wearers experience only a few side effects, and even then, they’re usually mild. 

In other words, the downsides generally outweigh the benefits of wearing hearing aids. 

But is that true for all types of hearing aids? What are the differences between hearing aid styles?

We’ll take a look at this and more in today’s post on the four common side effects of wearing hearing aids.

What Are the Different Types of Hearing Aids?

There are many different types of hearing aids for you to choose from.

Some of these devices may be more or less suited to your type and degree of hearing loss and overall lifestyle. 

Each type of hearing device has its benefits and disadvantages, making some of these side effects more or less pronounced. 

  • Behind-The-Ear Hearing Aids

Behind-The-Ear hearing aids or BTEs are your classic and most common type of hearing aid. 

As you might suspect, these devices are worn behind the ear with a small case housing sophisticated electronics. 

They’re a popular option because they can be pretty powerful and are suited for the hearing loss range. 

  • BTEs are comfortable to wear. 
  • They are generally less expensive.
  • BTEs are easy to clean and service.
  • BTEs make feedback less likely. 
  • BTEs may be less discreet than hearing aids worn in the ear. 
  • Wind noise can be more problematic since the receiver is exposed to the elements. 
  • Receiver-In-Canal Hearing Aids

Receiver-In-Canal (RIC) is another option of Behind-The-Ear hearing aid but is more favoured from a cosmetic point of view. 

Although this hearing aid doesn’t block the ear as much, it can be susceptible to moisture and wax damage. 

  • RICs are more discreet than BTEs.
  • RICs are easy to insert and fit. 
  • They offer a more natural sound quality.
  • RICs are bigger than In-The-Ear hearing aids, allowing for more features. 
  • RICs are less discreet than custom styles and In-The-Ear hearing aids.
  • RICs are more susceptible to accumulating earwax. 


  • In-The-Ear Hearing Aids

In-The-Ear (ITE) hearing aids, as the name promises, sit entirely inside your ear. 

Because of this, all of the components have to fit into a small space, which can result in feedback. 

  • ITEs are usually custom-made to perfectly fit your ear anatomy.
  • They are available as rechargeable versions. 
  • ITEs can still contain controls for volume and memory that won’t fit on smaller devices. 
  • ITEs are the largest of the custom-made styles.
  • They may pick up more wind noise than In-The-Canal (ITC) or Completely-In-Canal (CIC) hearing aids. 

side effects of wearing hearing aids

What Are the Possible Side Effects of Wearing Hearing Aids? 

Without further ado, below are four side effects that can occur due to wearing hearing aids, and some of them may surprise you! 

1.Tinnitus and headaches

When you first turn on your hearing aids, your brain will need some time to adapt to the new stimulus. 

Likely, sounds appear very loud at first, and you’ll experience headaches and tinnitus – particularly in the first few days of wearing a hearing aid.

You may need to play around with your device’s settings to find the correct volume. This can take some time, even if you’re an experienced hearing aid wearer. But, don’t let it deter you!

Your audiologist is there to help you get used to your hearing aids. Nowadays, they can often make minor adjustments to your hearing aid’s programming via remote access – from the comfort of your home.  

2.Irritation and soreness

An ill-fitted hearing aid can move around your ear and cause a great deal of irritation. Hearing aid fittings are therefore vital to reducing the risk of irritation

Your audiologist will ask you how the hearing aids feel and whether they are comfortable during your fitting.

If they sit too loose or don’t fit properly, you could experience discomfort and might end up losing the devices as you go about your day.  

That makes it very important, to be honest. Your audiologist can make adjustments to ensure a perfect fit, but they can’t read your thoughts. 

Even if you realise something is off once you’ve already left the office, you can always ring them up and arrange another appointment for a refitting. 

3.Excessive ear wax 

According to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), earwax build-up can cause hearing aid wearers to hear whistling sounds.

This is simply because the wax blocks sound from passing through your hearing aids, which may result in a whistling noise.

If this is the case for you, don’t hesitate to contact your audiologist – whether you suspect the unwanted noise to be caused by wax or not. 

Your audiologist can help you get to the bottom of the issue. If earwax is to blame, they can offer a range of solutions, from in-office earwax removal to over-the-counter solutions.

4.Cognitive decline 

Hearing loss often goes unnoticed for years and years. As a result, your hearing capability can be drastically reduced by the time you get hearing aids.

Your brain might have begun working with reduced stimuli, and it will take some time to retrain it and regain functionality. 

Some hearing aids are better at this than others. So whilst modern devices are said to improve cognitive function, the opposite may be true for poorly programmed or outdated devices.

If you’re still using traditional hearing aids that focus on amplifying all sounds rather than tailoring the hearing experience to your needs, it might be about time for an upgrade.  

choose hearing aid

By choosing the right type of hearing aid for your type and degree of hearing loss, you’ll greatly minimise the risk of experiencing any of these side effects, including cognitive decline and a build-up of earwax.

It also helps to seek the guidance of an experienced audiologist and perhaps undergo a hearing aid trial before you commit.

Attune Hearing offers free hearing aid trials for anyone looking to make a life-changing decision that will send them on the path to better hearing health. 

Schedule a comprehensive audiological assessment at an Attune clinic near you and start your journey today if this interests you. 

Give us a call at 📞  1300 736 702 or book your appointment online.

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