You might often find your hearing aid devices making whistling sounds. You can experience it rarely or often while using your hearing aids, and this whistling is known as hearing aid feedback. It can sometimes occur for very simple reasons like putting on a scarf over the hearing aids, and sometimes for more serious reasons like having a poor fit.
It can happen that the sound that was intended to get into your ear canal doesn’t do so, leaves your ear, and then jumps back into the microphone of your hearing aids. This is when hearing aid feedback occurs. The sound then gets re-amplified and it causes the hearing aid to make whistling sounds.
Hearing aid feedback can occur in various situations like when someone is putting on their hearing aids in the morning, taking them off at night, or someone hugs the user. As your hearing aids react to the sound bouncing back from the surroundings, whistling of this kind is totally normal. Apart from reasons like this, hearing aid feedback can also occur when something is wrong with your hearing aids. The whistling sounds can often occur as a sign that your hearing aids need cleaning or some maintenance.
5 Reasons Behind Hearing Aid Feedback or Whistling
These days a lot of hearing aids come with the feedback cancellation feature, but the feedback doesn’t always get totally canceled. Many things can work as the reason behind the occurrence of hearing aid feedback or tube whistling sounds. Here are some of the reasons:
1. A Poor Fit
The inside of your ear can change over time just like the rest of your body. The shape of your ears can also change. If the shape or the inside of your ear changes, the earmolds of your hearing aids will get loose, and won’t properly seal. It means the surrounding sounds will get away from your ear, and then jump back into the hearing aids, causing the whistling sound or feedback. You can fix this problem by getting new earmolds that perfectly fit your ears. If you lose or gain weight, it can also impact your ears, and affect the fit of your earmolds.
If your earmolds generally don’t fit your ears perfectly, the sound will keep leaking out and coming back into the hearing aids, and the whistling sound will keep occurring. This happens a lot when someone doesn’t use custom earmolds. So, make sure to get hearing aids with earmolds that sit in your ear nice, tight, and perfectly. You can also visit your hearing care professional to find the perfect fit.
2. Very High Volume
If you turn up the volume of your hearing aids too much, it might help you hear a bit better, but it can also cause feedback. If the volume of your hearing aid is too loud, it can force the surrounding sound to re-enter your device. You can turn the volume of your hearing aid down and avoid the point that makes the sound get too loud and cause feedback.
3. Dislodged and Blocked Microphones
If the microphones of your hearing aids are displaced or loose, it can cause feedback. This issue can be resolved by your hearing care professional. Also, if the microphones get covered with debris or earwax, it can cause a whistling sound. You can clean the holes of the hearing aid microphones gently by using a wax pick or hook to solve the problem.
4. Broken Tubing
The tube connected to the earmold can often shrink or harden in the case of some hearing aids. When that happens, the tubing begins to drag the earmold and causes the earmold to not have the perfect fit anymore. And when the earmold doesn’t sit properly, it causes feedback. You will need to get a new tube to solve the problem.
5. Earwax in the Ears
Earwax is something that normally gets produced in our ear canals. It keeps the ear safe and healthy. But if too much earwax builds up in the ear canal, your ear canal gets blocked. When the ear canal gets blocked by earwax, the sound from your hearing aids can’t get through. As a result, the sound bounces back into the hearing aids, causing them to create feedback or whistling.
Also, if excessive earwax blocks your ear, it will create problems for your ears. You won’t be able to hear the sounds of your hearing aids properly. Your hearing can get damaged, and you might suffer from earaches. In addition, earwax can also cause problems for your hearing aids. Your earmolds can get blocked with earwax and can cause damage to different parts of the hearing aids. So, make sure to keep your ears clean.
6. Improper Settings
Sometimes the reason behind whistling or feedback might not be the hardware of the hearing aids, it can be the settings. If a hearing aid is not properly configured, it can create a similar level of feedback problem to damaged or faulty hearing aids. You can try adjusting your hearing aid by yourself, but it’s better to get it adjusted by your hearing care professional.
Among other trivial causes of hearing aid feedback, there are some like:
- Hugging other people
- Wearing scarves, hats, or other head coverings
- Excessive jaw movement like smiling or chewing
In these cases, it’s not really a problem. Just get on with it, and the whistling sound will fade away by itself.
Feedback Cancellation Features
These days a lot of digital hearing aids come with the feedback cancellation feature. This feature monitors the part of the sound signal that returns to the microphone for causing the feedback and removes it before it can get re-amplified. Due to this feature, your hearing aid will get adjusted automatically based on the anticipated feedback sounds. As a result, your hearing aid will not make whistling or squeaking noises. If your hearing aids have feedback cancellation, you will be able to comfortably go on with your life, hug anyone you want, wear a hat or other head coverings anytime you like. You will have peace of mind.
Also Read: Hearing aids and cochlear implants are used to help persons who are deaf or hard of hearing. So, which one do you think you should go with? Continue reading to find out more.
It is quite normal to face the whistling sound of hearing aids from time to time. They can occur due to various natural factors that you can do very little about. But also make sure that the hearing aid feedback is not occurring due to factors like improper fitting, earwax, broken tubes, high volume, or blocked microphones. In that case, you will have to take care of that specific problem so that you don’t have to face feedback cancellation or whistling from time to time. Keep your hearing aids clean and safe so that they don’t face any damage or problems. Also, it’s best if you can get hearing aids that come with the feedback cancellation feature.
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