Hearing aids are sensitive electronics that are prone to malfunctioning. The good news is that a little troubleshooting; cleaning or minor repairs will often fix them without the need for an outside repair service. Once you’ve made sure your hearing aid is turned on, adjusted, fitting properly, dried out, clean, and has good batteries, there may still be issues you can’t fix yourself. For instance, there might be cracks or breaks in your hearing aid casing, missing parts, or oil/wax obstructions you can’t remove with cleaning tools. When it’s time to let a professional take a look, where do you go?

Option 1: In-office repair

Hearing care providers are experts in all aspects of hearing aids – fitting, calibration and repair. Many malfunctions are simple and can be easily remedied with a short visit to a hearing clinic, which will have basic repair tools on site. If the specialist only has to deep clean or adjust the hearing aid, they might not even charge for the service; otherwise, they might only need to replace small, inexpensive parts such as tubes or domes. If repairs are more serious, they’ll need to send the hearing aid to one of two places – the manufacturer or an affiliated repair lab.

Option 2: Direct repair labs

An independent hearing aid repair lab is an alternative option if you’re told your device will need to be sent out. To begin with, many claim to charge less than clinics and direct dealers. It can’t hurt to perform a price comparison between a reputable lab and the quote from your hearing instrument specialist, but don’t forget to consider all the associated costs, as well. You may need to pay for shipping, return, or any additional services.

Labs themselves recommend insuring your hearing aid before sending it through the mail. Most will insure hearing aids from the point they arrive at the lab until they are returned, but do not cover the risk of shipping it to them. Still, they may be able to repair parts of your hearing aid that a hearing instrument specialist can only offer replacement for. Depending on the expense of those parts, it might be worth it to go directly through a repair lab.

In either case, it’s always best to have your hearing care professional assess the hearing aid first, since it could just need a simple cleaning or adjustment. The shorter the time and expense for a hearing aid to be repaired, the less time you’ll be without your valuable hearing asset.