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Bright Audiology - Sanford, NC

Man holding ear because his hearing aid is whistling.

For many people, acknowledging and dealing with the reality of hearing loss is difficult to accept. Nonetheless, you pushed on and went to a hearing specialist for a hearing aid fitting session, because you recognized that’s what is best for your health. More than likely, you immediately realized the benefits one gets by 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, among all those life-changing advantages, you get one loud, piercing and shrieking negative. You get a loud whistling noise from your hearing aids. Feedback is the more common 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, this is a problem you can correct relatively simply. We’ve put together a recap of three tried-and-true ways to stop your hearing aid from whistling.

1. The Way Your Hearing Aid Fits Can be Adjusted

Perhaps the most prevalent reason for feedback or whistling in the ear involves the placement of your hearing aid in your ear or the earmold connected to it. The sound can get out and reverberate through the microphone of the hearing aid if it doesn’t fit correctly. The outcome of that leakage can be a whistling that’s either sporadic or constant, depending on how much sound has escaped and how poorly the fit actually is. A plastic tube connects some hearing aid models with an earmold. In time, the earmold can become unseated from its correct position due to shrinking, cracking and hardening. This movement can cause squealing, but you can improve the issue by switching the plastic piece.

2. Excessive Earwax Should be Removed

It’s ironic to think of something such as earwax, which is thought of by many people to be foul or unwelcome, as beneficial to our bodies, but it really is. This icky substance acts as a defense against irritants like dirt and prevents them from entering our ears. While your ears will self-regulate the quantity of earwax you hold, through actions such as chewing or talking, there are times when a buildup of too much earwax can have negative repercussions. Feedback will inevitably occur if you insert a hearing aid on top of an excessive amount of earwax. Due to the blockage from earwax, the amplified sound can’t go anywhere and this is the reason for the feedback. With no clear place to go, the sound comes around and goes through the microphone again. Doing things like letting warm shower water run into your ears can help eliminate excessive earwax. However, the best idea could be to speak to a hearing specialist about correctly cleaning your ears to prevent excessive buildup and subsequent whistling.

3. Make Certain The Microphone is Uncovered

Often times the most obvious answer is the most practical. Have you ever noticed someone attempting 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. Anything covering the device can cause it to whistle. If you cover the microphone with your hand or another object, you get the same result, like if you bury your ear in someone’s shoulder while hugging them. Uncovering the hearing aid should suffice in fixing the issue.

Here’s a bonus tip: A new hearing aid may be the best solution. Some causes for concern are being relieved by modern hearing aid models and manufacturers are developing new technology all of the time. 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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