Hearing Health Blog

Man holding ear because his hearing aid is whistling.

It’s difficult to accept, for many, dealing with and acknowledging the truth of hearing loss. Because you recognized that it was best for your health, you made the choice to go and get fitted for a hearing aid by a hearing specialist. More than likely, you immediately recognized the benefits one receives from wearing a hearing aid, including the ability to deal with tinnitus, hear speech (even amidst the din of background noise), and the potential to recover from mental decline.

But sometimes you get a loud, piercing, shrieking negative among all the life altering benefits. Your hearing aids whistle. The squealing you’re hearing is more commonly known as feedback. 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 fix relatively easily. Stopping your hearing aid from squealing can be accomplished using the following guidelines:

1. The Way Your Hearing Aid Fits Can be Adjusted

The positioning of the hearing aid in your ear or the earmold it’s connected to is probably the most common reason for feedback. If the hearing aid does not fit properly inside of your ear, sound can escape and reverberate through the hearing aid’s microphone. Depending on how poorly the fit is and how much sound has escaped, the result of the leakage can be either a continuous or a sporadic squealing. A plastic tube connects some hearing aid designs with an earmold. Over time, this piece can harden, shrink or crack, which unseats the earmold from its proper position. If you replace the plastic piece, you can correct the whistling which is caused by this movement.

2. Get Rid of Excessive Earwax

It’s strange to think of something like earwax, which is thought of by most people to be foul or unwelcome, as beneficial to our bodies, but it really is. Dirt and other things are stopped from getting into the ears by this gooey substance which acts as a defense. Actions, such as talking or chewing help your ears regulate the amount of earwax they produce but there can be an adverse effect if too much earwax builds up. Feedback will unavoidably occur if you put a hearing aid on top of too much earwax. Because of the blockage from earwax, the amplified sound can’t go anywhere and this is the reason for the feedback. The sound circles back into the microphone because it has no clear exit. Doing things like letting warm shower water run into your ears can help remove excessive earwax. However, the best idea could be to make an appointment with a hearing specialist about correctly cleaning your ears to avoid undue buildup and subsequent whistling.

3. Uncover the Microphone

Often times the most apparent solution is the most effective. Have you ever noticed someone trying to take a picture which didn’t come out, only to find that the lens cap was still on? With hearing aids the same thing can occur. Whistling can happen when something is covering the device. You could even get the same outcome by covering the microphone with your hand or another object, like if you bury your ear in someone’s shoulder while hugging them. This issue should be easy to fix simply by uncovering the hearing aid.

Here’s a bonus tip: Consider purchasing a new hearing aid. Some causes for worry are being alleviated by modern hearing aid models and manufacturers are developing new technology regularly. 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.

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