For many of you, admitting and coming to grips with the truth of hearing loss is a tough pill to swallow. Because you realized that it was best for your health, you made the decision to go and get fitted for a hearing aid by a hearing specialist. More than likely, you immediately recognized the benefits one receives by using a hearing aid, including the ability to deal with tinnitus, hear speech (even among the buzz of background noise), and the potential to recover from cognitive decline.
But occasionally, amongst all those life-changing benefits, you get one loud, piercing and shrieking downside. Your hearing aids squeal. Feedback is the more familiar term for this whistling. It’s like what happens when a microphone comes too close to the sound system, the only distinction is this time it’s directly in your ear. This, luckily for you, is a problem that can be corrected fairly easily. Stopping your hearing aid from squealing can be accomplished using the following guidelines:
1. The Way Your Hearing Aid Fits Can be Adjusted
Probably the most predominant reason for feedback or whistling in the ear involves the positioning of your hearing aid in your ear or the earmold connected to it. If the hearing aid doesn’t fit properly inside of your ear, sound can get out and reverberate through the hearing aid’s microphone. Depending on how poorly the fit is and how much sound has escaped, the consequences of the leakage can be either a constant or a sporadic whistling. A plastic tube connects certain hearing aid models with an earmold. In time, the earmold can become unseated from its correct position due to shrinking, cracking and hardening. This movement can cause squealing, but you can fix the issue by switching the plastic piece.
2. Excessive Earwax Should be Removed
Earwax is actually good for our bodies, even though, ironically, we usually think of it as unwanted or even nasty. This gooey compound acts as a defense against irritants like dirt and stops them from getting into our ears. Actions, like talking or chewing help your ears regulate the amount of earwax they produce but there can be an adverse effect if too much earwax accumulates. When you put a hearing aid on top of an excessive amount of earwax, you’re bound to get feedback. Due to the blockage from earwax, the amplified sound has nowhere to go and this is the reason for the feedback. The sound circles back into the microphone because it has no definite exit. There are a few ways to get rid of an overabundance of wax from your ears like letting a warm shower run into your ears. However, the best idea might be to make an appointment with a hearing specialist about properly cleaning your ears to avoid excessive buildup and subsequent whistling.
3. Make Certain The Microphone is Uncovered
Sometimes the most reliable solution is the most evident. How often have you seen someone attempting to take a photo with the lens cap on their camera and watched as they became temporarily perplexed about why the picture didn’t come out? With hearing aids the same thing can occur. Anything covering the device can cause it to whistle. You might even get the same result by covering the microphone with your hand or another object, like if you bury your ear in someone’s shoulder while hugging them. This problem should be easy to correct simply by uncovering the hearing aid.
Here’s a bonus tip: Consider purchasing a new hearing aid. Manufacturers are regularly developing new hearing aid technology into devices, and we’ve definitely seen modern models decrease some of these causes for concern. Give us a call if you are interested in learning about new hearing aid technology or if you are having trouble with your current hearing aids whistling.