Man holding ear because his hearing aid is whistling.

For many of you, admitting and dealing with the truth of hearing loss is a tough pill to swallow. Nevertheless, you pushed on and went to a hearing professional for a hearing aid fitting session, because you recognized that’s what is best for your health. Most likely, you immediately realized the benefits one gets by using a hearing aid, including the ability to hear speech (even among the buzz of background noise), the possibility of recognizing from mental decline and the ability to treat tinnitus.

But occasionally, among 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 just like what happens to a sound system when you bring a microphone too close, but it’s directly in your ears. Fortunately for you, this is a problem you can fix relatively simply. Stopping your hearing aid from whistling can be accomplished using the following suggestions:

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 does not fit securely inside of your ear, sound can escape and reverberate through the hearing aid’s microphone. The outcome of that leakage can be a whistling that’s either intermittent or constant, depending on how much sound has escaped and how poorly the fit really 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 correct position. This movement can cause whistling, but you can fix the issue by switching the plastic piece.

2. Excessive Earwax Should be Removed

Earwax is really beneficial for our bodies, even though, ironically, we tend to think of it as unwelcome or even nasty. Dirt and other things are prevented from entering the ears by this icky 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 insert a hearing aid on top of too much earwax. 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. Doing things like letting warm shower water run into your ears can help remove excessive earwax. In order to eliminate undue buildup, however, the best strategy is to have your ears correctly cleaned by a hearing care specialist.

3. Uncover the Microphone

Sometimes the most reliable solution is the most obvious. How often have you seen somebody attempting to take a photo with the lens cap on their camera and watched as they became temporarily puzzled about why the picture didn’t come out? With hearing aids the same thing can occur. Anything covering the hearing aid can cause them to whistle. If you cover the microphone with your hand or something else, you get the same result, like if you hug someone and put your ear into their shoulder. Uncovering the hearing aid should be enough to fix the problem.

Here’s a bonus tip: Think about getting a new hearing aid. Manufacturers are routinely integrating new hearing aid technology into devices, and we’ve already seen modern models relieve some of these causes for worry. If you’re having trouble with whistling from your hearing aids, or you’re interested in learning more about new hearing technology, call us.

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