Hearing Aid User Guide: Behind the Ear with thin tube fittings

Your audiologist has fitted you with a ‘Behind the Ear’ (BTE) digital hearing aid, made by Oticon for the NHS.

The tubing is open fit style, with thin tubing and a silicone dome ending. Your batteries are size 13 with an orange sticker.

Hearing aid with thin tubing

1. How your hearing aids work
2. Batteries: how to change them and order replacements
3. How to insert your hearing aid
4. Hearing aid maintenance: cleaning and retubing
5. Hearing aid controls: volume and programmes
6. Troubleshooting
7. Safety information

Quick checklist 

  • Keep your hearing aids in the box provided when you are not wearing them. We can supply replacement boxes if needed.
  • Keep a good supply of replacement batteries. We can post supplies to you, please send us a stamped address envelope (SAE).
  • Keep your hearing aids clean and retube them regularly. We can post supplies to you, please send us a stamped address envelope (SAE).
  • If you have been fitted with two hearing aids, we recommend wearing both so your hearing does not become unbalanced.
  • If your hearing aid stops working, look for possible causes in the troubleshooting section of this guide, or on our website. If nothing is apparent, please email or call us for further advice.
  • Keep your hearing aids dry.




1. How your hearing aids work

Your hearing aids are programmed to your individual hearing loss. Although hearing aids will help you to hear sounds that you could not hear well before, they cannot restore all of your hearing. In this way they are different to spectacles, hearing aids are an aid to better hearing not a complete cure.

Many people with age related hearing loss find soft speech is difficult to hear clearly and it often sounds as though people are mumbling. Examples of the softest parts of speech are the consonants ‘s’, ‘f’ and ‘th’. Hearing aids can make these sounds louder and clearer, and therefore restore better speech understanding.

It may take time to adjust to using your hearing aids. This is to be expected as you are hearing more sounds than before. You will hear the soft parts of speech much more clearly. You will also hear soft sounds in the general environment better too, such as a clock ticking or a tap dripping.  Hearing all these environment sounds may seem rather loud and noticeable at first, but these sounds will become less intrusive after you have worn your hearing aids for a while.  Hearing all these sounds is a positive, as it means that you are benefitting from the hearing aids. Your audiologist will recommend how often to wear your hearing aids at first to acclimatise, with the aim of being able to wear them comfortably for most of the day. Hearing aids give the best results if they are worn all day.

You hearing loss prescription programmed into your hearing aid takes into account all the details of your hearing, across a range of different frequencies (or pitches). For this reason, do not give your hearing aid to anyone else to wear, even for a short time, as it could be damaging to their hearing.

When not to wear hearing aids and what to do if they get wet

  • Take your aids off when you go to bed. Remember to turn them off by opening the battery door.
  • You need to protect your aids from getting wet. Take them off for showers, baths, swimming or water-based sports.
  • Your aids will cope with a shower of rain. In case they have got wet, it is advisable to open the battery compartment, take the battery out and leave battery door open for 24 hours whilst he hearing aid dries out.
  • If the weather is very hot, sweat may get into the battery compartment and cause battery corrosion. It is advisable to open the battery compartment, take the battery out and leave battery door open for 24 hours whilst he hearing aid dries out.




2. Batteries: how to change them and how to order replacements

Your hearing aid battery is size 13. To change your battery, remove the orange sticker to reveal a smooth side on the battery with a cross indicating positive. The smooth side up with the cross is the correct way to insert the battery.

How to change a battery

If you find you have to force the battery door closed, then the battery has been inserted the wrong way round.

Battery life

This will depend on the type of battery your hearing aids use, how frequently you use the hearing aid and the strength of your hearing aid. A size 13 battery usually lasts 10-14 days, although if you have the more powerful hearing aid it might last only 6-8 days. Your hearing aid will beep twice to alert you that the battery needs changing. The hearing aid will give you a final 4 beep warning that your batteries have expired.

Ordering replacement batteries

Please send a large letter stamped addressed envelope (SAE) to our Haywards Heath or Worthing office.

Battery safety

  • Batteries should not be put in the fire as they may explode.
  • Do not recharge the batteries.
  • Batteries must be stored in a cool, dry and safe place.
  • Keep batteries out of reach of small children. They are shiny and might look interesting to eat. The same applies to animals.
  • If anyone swallows a battery contact your GP or local hospital immediately.
  • Do not expose your hearing aid batteries to extreme temperatures.




3. How to insert your hearing aid

Hearing aids are colour coded – with red markers indicating the right aid and blue markers for the left. You will see the colour markers if you open the battery door.

How to insert your hearing aid


How to turn your hearing aid on and off

The battery compartment is the on/off switch. When you put your hearing aid on, close the battery door. When you take your aid off, open the battery door to turn it off. If you have poor eyesight you can feel for the catch on the battery door, underneath the hearing aid.

How to insert your hearing aid





4. Hearing aid maintenance: cleaning and retubing

Hearing aids need regular maintenance to ensure they continue to work well. We recommend cleaning your hearing aids with a wipe after you remove them at the end of the day.

Ear wax is an important lubricant to the ears but it can also block the hearing aid tubes resulting in a weaker or distorted sound.  We recommend cleaning your hearing aid using a red cleaning wire if you suspect a blocked tube. Blocked tubes are the most common reason hearing aids stop working as well as they used to. Please order new cleaning wires by sending us a stamped addressed envelope (SAE) and we will post you back supplies.  

How to clean the Corda thin tube


Ordering replacement tubes:

If the cleaning wire has not unblocked your tubes, send us a SAE and we will post replacement tubes out to you.  We recommend getting new tubes on an ‘as needed’ basis, but as a general rule it is a good idea to get your tubes changed every 6 months.

How to replace a tube

Pull the old tube out, and push the new one in. We recommend replacing one tube at a time, so the left and right tubes do not get mixed up.  Do not remove the dome to clean it as it will weaken the connection to the tube, which may cause it to detach in your ear.  If a dome does get stuck in your ear, visit your local minor injury unit or GP for safe removal.




5. Hearing aid controls: volume and programmes

The hearing aid controls are operated by the rocker switch at the back of your hearing aid. Some people prefer a fully automatic function only on their hearing aids, in which case the rocker switch is not activated.

How to change volume

Hearing aid programmes

Hearing aids can have additional programmes installed on them. These extra programmes may increase the efficiency of the hearing aid in different environments. Not everyone wants multiple programmes on their hearing aids. It is up to you and your audiologist to decide what is best for you. First time hearing aid users usually prefer to keep the hearing aid functions simple whilst they are getting used to wearing the hearing aid.

Hearing aids programmes give you more choice about the function of your hearing aid. A common programme for those with severe hearing loss is the loop or T-coil setting for use in public spaces such as theatres and banks. Other programmes available are ‘speech in noise’ and ‘music’. Your audiologist will advise you on which programmes you have activated on your hearing aid.


How to change programmes 


Loop programme


The loop programme works with induction loop systems seen in some shops, churches, cinemas and theaters. You can tell if there is an induction loop available as the symbol on the left will be displayed.

The microphone & loop programme will allow you to hear from both the hearing aid microphone and from the loop system at the same time. This is useful when you want to be able to hear people around you as well as the sound being transmitted through the loop system.


The speech in noise programme can help listening in noisy group settings such as restaurants and cafes.

The music programme will reduce the compression of sounds to allow more variability from your hearing aids, which is more suitable for listening to music.




6. Troubleshooting

If you find your hearing aid is not working properly, check through these potential common causes before contacting us.

If the hearing aid is not working:

  • Check that the battery is inserted correctly
  • Insert a new battery
  • Remove the tubing from the hearing aid and close the battery door to turn on the hearing aid.
  • If you have a loop programme, try turning the hearing aid off and on again. This will reset the aid back to your normal programme 1.

If the hearing aid starts whistling, the problem lies with the tubing. 
This could be a result of:

  • Tubing being blocked by wax
  • Tubing being twisted, split or damaged
  • Condensation in the tubing

If the hearing aid is squeaking or whistling:

This could be feedback and often occur when placing your hand to your ear to insert the ear piece.

  • If the whistling persists, check that your ear piece is correctly inserted
  • You may have excess wax. 
    If so, contact your GP or Action for Deafness to have your ears checked.
  • The whistling may be caused by a blockage in the tube. 

If your hearing aid is beeping:

  • This can be a warning sign that your hearing aid battery is nearly dead.
    Change the hearing aid battery to ensure the hearing aid does not stop working.
  • If the beeping is continuous, this may mean that you have a faulty hearing aid. Please email us on info@actionfordeafness.org.uk or call us on 01444 415582

If your hearing aid is still not working, please email us on info@actionfordeafness.org.uk or call us on 01444 415582




7. Safety information

Your hearing aid is a valuable and delicate instrument which needs to be treated with care. If you need to send it through the post, please ensure it is adequately wrapped to avoid damage. We can supply new hearing aid boxes if your is broken.
Please avoid tampering with your hearing aid.



 Thank you to Oticon for kind permission to use their images