Illini Hearing - Champaign and Mahomet, IL

Man holding ear because his hearing aid is whistling.

For many people, acknowledging and coming to grips with the reality of hearing loss is a tough pill to swallow. Because you realized that it was best for your health, you made the decision to go and get fitted for a hearing aid by a hearing specialist. Most likely, you immediately recognized the advantages one receives from using a hearing aid, including the ability to hear speech (even amidst the din of background noise), the possibility of recognizing from cognitive decline and the ability to deal with tinnitus.

But once in a while you get a loud, piercing, shrieking negative among all the life changing benefits. Your hearing aids whistle. Feedback is the more familiar term for this whistling. It’s like what happens when a microphone comes too close to the sound system, the only difference is this time it’s directly in your ear. This, fortunately for you, is an issue that can be corrected fairly easily. Stopping your hearing aid from squealing can be accomplished using the following suggestions:

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 likely the most prevalent reason for feedback. 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 sporadic or continuous, depending on how much sound has escaped and how poorly the fit really is. With some hearing aid designs, a plastic tube will connect the actual device with the earmold. As time passes, this piece can crack, harden or shrink, which unseats the earmold from its best position. This movement can cause squealing, but you can fix the problem by replacing the plastic piece.

2. Get Rid of Excessive Earwax

Earwax is actually beneficial for our bodies, even though, ironically, we usually think of it as unwelcome or even nasty. This gooey substance acts as a defense against irritants such as dirt and prevents them from entering our ears. Actions, like talking or chewing help your ears regulate the amount of earwax they generate but there can be an adverse effect if too much earwax accumulates. Feedback will inevitably occur if you put a hearing aid on top of too much earwax. Because of the blockage from earwax, the amplified sound has nowhere to go and this is the reason for the feedback. With no clear exit, the sound comes around and goes through the microphone again. Doing things such as letting warm shower water run into your ears can help get rid of 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. Make Sure The Microphone is Uncovered

Sometimes the most apparent answer is the most effective. How often have you seen someone try to take a photo with the lens cap on their camera and watched as they became momentarily baffled about why the picture didn’t develop? With hearing aids the same thing can happen. Whistling can occur when something is covering the device. You might 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. Uncovering the hearing aid should suffice in fixing the problem.

Here’s a bonus tip: Consider purchasing a new hearing aid. Manufacturers are regularly 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 problems with whistling from your hearing aids, or you’re interested in finding out more about new hearing technology, give us a call.

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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