For many of you, accepting and coming to grips with the truth of hearing loss is a tough pill to swallow. Nonetheless, you pushed on and went to a hearing specialist for a hearing aid fitting session, because you realized that’s what is best for your health. More than likely, you immediately realized the benefits one gets from wearing a hearing aid, including the ability to hear speech (even among the din of background noise), the possibility of recognizing from cognitive decline and the ability to treat tinnitus.
But sometimes, among all those life-changing advantages, you get one loud, piercing and shrieking downside. Your hearing aids squeal. The squealing you’re hearing is more commonly known as feedback. It’s just like what happens to a sound system when you bring a microphone too close, but it’s directly in your ears. This, luckily for you, is a problem that can be corrected fairly easily. We’ve organized a recap of three tried-and-true ways to stop your hearing aid from squealing.
1. The Way Your Hearing Aid Fits Can be Adjusted
Probably the most predominant reason for feedback or whistling in the ear concerns the placement of your hearing aid in your ear or the earmold connected to it. If the hearing aid does not fit correctly inside of your ear, sound can get out and reverberate through the hearing aid’s microphone. The consequences of that leakage can be a whistling that’s either intermittent or continuous, depending on how much sound has escaped and how poorly the fit actually is. With some hearing aid models, a plastic tube will connect the actual device with the earmold. Over time, this piece can crack, harden or shrink, which unseats the earmold from its proper position. If you replace the plastic piece, you can fix the whistling which is caused by this movement.
2. Remove Excessive Earwax
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 actually is. This gooey substance acts as a defense against irritants such as dirt and prevents them from getting into 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 an accumulation of too much earwax can have negative repercussions. When you insert a hearing aid on top of an extreme amount of earwax, you’re bound to get feedback. The reason for this is that the amplified sound has nowhere to go because of the blockage from the wax. With no clear place to go, the sound comes around and goes through the microphone again. Doing things including letting warm shower water run into your ears can help eliminate excessive earwax. In order to avoid undue buildup, however, the best idea is to have your ears properly cleaned by a hearing care specialist.
3. Uncover the Microphone
Sometimes the most obvious solution is the most effective. Have you ever noticed someone trying to take a picture which didn’t come out, only to discover that the lens cap was still on? The same idea applies here. 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 bury your ear into their shoulder. This issue should be easy to fix just by uncovering the hearing aid.
Here’s a bonus tip: Think about getting a new hearing aid. Some causes for concern are being relieved by modern hearing aid models and manufacturers are developing new technology all of the time. Call us if you are interested in checking out new hearing aid technology or if you are having a problem with your current hearing aids whistling.