For many of you, acknowledging and dealing with the reality of hearing loss is a tough pill to swallow. Nonetheless, you pushed through and went to a hearing expert for a hearing aid fitting appointment, because you recognized that’s what was best for your health. More than likely, you quickly realized the advantages one receives from wearing a hearing aid, including the ability to treat tinnitus, hear speech (even among the buzz of background noise), and the possibility of recovering from cognitive decline.
But on occasion you get a loud, piercing, shrieking negative amongst all the life changing benefits. Your hearing aids squeal. Feedback is the more familiar term for this whistling. It’s just like what happens to a sound system when you bring a microphone too close, but it’s directly in your ears. Fortunately, this is a problem you can correct relatively simply. We’ve put together a recap of three tried-and-true ways to stop your hearing aid from whistling.
1. Modify The Fit of Your Hearing Aid
The positioning of the hearing aid in your ear or the earmold it’s connected to is likely the most prevalent reason for feedback. The sound can get out and reverberate through the microphone of the hearing aid if it doesn’t fit correctly. The result of that leakage can be a whistling that’s either sporadic or continuous, depending on how much sound has escaped and how poorly the fit actually is. With some hearing aid models, a plastic tube will connect the actual device with the earmold. Over time, this piece can harden, shrink or crack, which unseats the earmold from its best position. This movement can cause squealing, but you can correct the issue by switching the plastic piece.
2. Remove Excessive Earwax
Earwax is actually good for our bodies, even though, ironically, we tend to think of it as unwanted or even foul. Dirt and other things are prevented from entering the ears by this gooey substance which acts as a defense. While your ears will self-regulate the quantity of earwax you hold, through actions like chewing or talking, there are times when a buildup of too much earwax can have negative consequences. Feedback will unavoidably occur if you put a hearing aid on top of too much earwax. The reason for this is that the amplified sound has nowhere to go because of the blockage from the wax. The sound circles back into the microphone because it has no definite exit. There are a few ways to eliminate an overabundance of wax from your ears such as letting a warm shower run into your ears. In order to eliminate undue buildup, however, the best idea is to have your ears properly cleaned by a hearing care specialist.
3. Uncover the Microphone
Sometimes the most effective solution is the most evident. Have you ever seen someone attempting to take a picture which didn’t come out, only to discover that the lens cap was still on? With hearing aids the same thing can occur. Anything covering the hearing aid can cause them to whistle. You may 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 giving them a hug. This issue should be easy to correct simply by uncovering the hearing aid.
Here’s a bonus tip: A new hearing aid may be the best choice. Manufacturers are regularly integrating new hearing aid technology into devices, and we’ve definitely seen modern models decrease some of these causes for worry. Call us if you are interested in learning about new hearing aid technology or if you are having trouble with your current hearing aids whistling.