Woman suffering from feedback in her hearing aids covering her ears.

Are you starting to hear a high pitch noise coming from your hearing aids? A very common problem with hearing aids which can probably be corrected is feedback. Knowing how hearing aids work and what might be the reason for that annoying whistling sound will get you one step closer to getting rid of it. So what can you do about it?

What Exactly Are The Functions of Your Hearing Aids?

As a basic rule, hearing aids are simply a microphone and a speaker. The speaker plays back the sound into your ear that the microphone picks up. When the microphone picks up the sound but prior to when it gets played back by the speaker, there are some complex functions that happen.

The sound is then converted to an analog electrical signal to be processed after entering the microphone. A state of the art digital signal processing chip then changes the analog signal to a digital one. The sound is clarified after it becomes digital by the device’s properties and controls.

The signal is sent to a receiver after being modified back to analog by the processor. Now, what was once a sound becomes an analog electrical signal and that’s not something your ears can hear. The waves of sound, which the receiver changes the signal back into, are then transmitted through your ear canal. Elements in the cochlea convert it back into an electrical signal that the brain can interpret.

It all sounds very complex but it occurs in a nanosecond. Despite all of this advanced technology, the hearing aid still feeds back.

Feedback Loops And How They Happen

Feedback doesn’t only happen inside of hearing aids. If there is a microphone, it is likely that there is some feedback. The receiver generates sound which the microphone then picks up and re-amplifies. The sound wave enters the microphone, then goes through the signal processing and then the receiver transforms it into a sound wave. A feedback loop is then created after the microphone picks up the sound again and re-amplifies it. The hearing aid doesn’t like hearing itself over and over again and that makes it scream.

Exactly What is The Cause of Hearing Aid Feedback?

There are several things that can become a problem which could cause this feedback loop. A very common cause is turning the hearing aid on while it’s still in your hand and then putting it in your ear. Your hearing aid begins processing sound as soon as you hit the “on” switch. The sound coming from the receiver bounces off your hand back into the microphone producing the feedback. Before you decide to switch your hearing aid on put it inside of your ear and you will eliminate this particular source of feedback.

In some cases hearing aids don’t fit as well as they ought to and that can lead to feedback problems. If you have lost some weight since you last had your hearing aids fitted, or possibly if your hearing aids are older, you may have a loose fit. Getting an adjustment from the seller is the only real answer to this one.

Feedback And Earwax

When it comes to hearing aids, earwax is not a friend. One of the major explanations for why hearing aids don’t fit properly is because of the buildup of earwax on the casing. Now, feedback is once again being triggered by a poor fit. If you consult your retailer or if you read the users-manual, you will find out how to safely clean this earwax off.

Maybe It’s Simply Broke

When you’ve tried everything else but the feedback continues, this is where you head next. A damaged hearing aid will certainly feedback. The casing might have a crack in it somewhere, for example. You should not try to fix this at home. Schedule an appointment with a hearing aid expert to get a repair.

Occasionally What Sounds Like Feedback is Really Something Else Altogether

Hearing aids can make other noises that you may think sound like feedback but are actually something else. Some hearing aids use sound to alert you of impending issues like a low battery. Pay attention to the sound. Is it a tone or a beep, or does it really sound like feedback? Consult the manual to see if your device includes this feature and what other warning sounds you should listen for in the future.

Feedback doesn’t discriminate by brand or style. Usually, the cause of the feedback is quite clear no matter what brand you have.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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