This type of noise is known as hearing aid feedback, and it can be alarming, annoying, distracting and embarrassing all at the same time. Fortunately, eliminating feedback in your hearing aids is a simple process. Read ahead to find relief fast!
Why hearing aids feedback happens
The science behind hearing aid feedback is complex, but simply put, a whistling hearing aid is actually the sound of the device processing and amplifying its own operating sounds. Acoustical feedback happens when the amplified sound produced by the hearing aid speaker is picked up by the hearing aid microphone.
When a hearing aid is placed against a solid surface, but its microphone is not flush against the surface, it can pick up on the sounds it makes as the sound waves bounce off of the solid surfaces. In other words, hearing aids are so good at what they do, they pick up the high-frequency noises they are creating.
In some types of hearing aids, feedback is typical if the device is turned on in your hand. Your hands are isolating the sound waves your hearing aid is making, which prompts the device to amplify the sounds – only these are sounds you don’t want to hear, and neither do the people around you. To get around the feedback problem in this case, just avoid turning your hearing aid on until it is snuggly in place in your ear.
Others scenarios that can cause hearing aid feedback include:
- a loose-fitting hearing aid
- an improperly fitted/positioned hearing aid or dome/tip
- an excess of ear wax
- a cracked or damaged mold or shell
- turning the device up louder that it was designed to operate
Loose-fitting hearing aid
If hearing aid feedback occurs after you’ve owned your device for quite a while, the cause might be a loose-fitting hearing aid. This can happen if you’ve lost even just 10 or 20 pounds of weight. Your best bet in this case is to get re-fitted and have an audiologist replace your hearing aid mold or shell with a new size.
Improperly fitted hearing aid
If hearing aid feedback has been a problem for you right from the get-go, it’s likely the device was never fitted properly to your ear canal in the first place, or you were never shown the correct way to wear it. The mold or shell might be slightly off, pointing slightly in the wrong direction, or just might not be long enough. A hearing health professional will be able to detect the problem and correct it right away.
Having too much earwax in your ears is one of the most common hearing aid feedback culprits. The reason is because ear wax can get in the way of a proper fit and create a solid enough barrier for sound waves created by your hearing aid to reverberate off of. Be sure to clean your ears and mention your concerns the next time you get your ears checked.
It might just be that your hearing aid is broken or damaged – it’s a rough world out there! In this case, book a free appointment as soon as possible to have a hearing health professional take a look to see if parts of your device are cracked, split, or have otherwise been whacked out of place.
Could it be your battery?
Many people who are adjusting to life with hearing aids mistake a low-battery sound indicator sound as hearing aid feedback. If the sound is a slow, steady beeping noise, your hearing device likely needs to have its battery recharged or replaced.
Could you be turning your device up louder than it was originally fit for?
It could be time for an annual Hearing Evaluation and Function Check of your current instruments! If your hearing has dropped, you could need to have it re-programmed by a Beltone hearing care professional or it could be time for new instruments.
How Beltone hearing aids minimize feedback
Today’s improved digital hearing aids have built-in feedback controls that make eliminating feedback easier than ever. For example, Beltone's cutting-edge Feedback Eraser™ feature helps to reduce feedback significantly.
Think you may be experiencing hearing loss? Give us a call today at 1-800-BELTONE or book your free hearing appointment at a Beltone location.