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

Are you starting to hear an annoying high pitch noise coming out of your hearing aids? Feedback is a very common problem with hearing aids but it’s not something that can’t be fixed. If you really want to come quite a bit closer to understanding why you keep getting that high pitch whistling sound, you should try to learn how your hearing aids operate. What can you do about hearing aid feedback?

How Do Hearing Aids Work?

Hearing aids, basically, are really just a microphone and a speaker. The microphone picks up the sound and the speaker plays it back into your ear. But there are complex functions in between the time that the microphone picks up the sound and when the speaker plays it back.

After the sound is picked up by the microphone it gets converted to an analog signal for processing. An advanced conversion from analog to digital is then done by a signal processing chip. Once the signal is converted to digital, the numerous features and settings of the device kick in to amplify and clarify the sound.

The digital signal processor then transforms the signal back to analog and forwards it to a receiver. It’s not possible to hear these electrical signals that were once a sound. The receiver converts it back into sound waves and transmits them through your ears. Ironically, the brain interprets sound by electrical signals, so elements in the cochlea translate it back to electrical signals for the brain to understand.

Amazingly all of this complicated functionality takes place in a nanosecond. So if your hearing aid is so advanced why does it feedback?

How do Feedback Loops Occur?

Feedback doesn’t just happen in hearing aids. Sound systems that include microphones typically have some level of feedback. The receiver produces sound which the microphone then picks up and re-amplifies. The sound wave enters the microphone, then goes through the processing and after that the receiver transforms it into a sound wave. The sound is then re-amplified after the microphone picks it up again which brings about a loop of feedback. To put it simply, the hearing aid is listening to itself and doesn’t like it.

Exactly What is The Cause of Hearing Aid Feedback?

A feedback loop might be brought about by several difficulties. If you turn on your hearing aid while it’s still in your hand prior to putting it in, you will get one of the most common causes. As soon as you press the on switch, your hearing aid begins processing sound waves. This feedback is caused when the sound coming out of the receiver bounces off of your hand and back into the microphone. The solution to this concern is pretty simple; wait until the device is snuggly in your ear before hitting the switch.

In some cases hearing aids don’t fit quite as well as they ought to and that can lead to feedback. Loose fittings tend to be a problem with older hearing aids or if you’ve lost weight since having them fitted. If that’s the case, you should head back to the retailer and have the piece adjusted to fit your ear properly again.

Earwax And Feedback

Earwax isn’t a friend when it comes to hearing aids. Earwax accumulation on the outer casing of the hearing aid stops it from fitting properly. When that occurs, the device becomes loose again and causes feedback. Look in the manual that came with your hearing aids or else check with the retailer to determine how to clean earwax off safely.

Perhaps It’s Simply Broken

This is your next thing to consider when you’ve attempted everything else. Feedback can definitely be caused by a damaged hearing aid. The casing could have a crack in it somewhere, for example. Don’t try to fix it yourself. Make an appointment with a hearing aid specialist to get a repair.

When is Feedback Not Really Feedback

You could very well be hearing something that sounds like feedback but it’s actually not. Many hearing aids use sound to alert you of impending problems such as a low battery. Listen to the sound. Is it a tone or a beep, or does it really sound like feedback? Check the manual to find out if your device comes with this feature and what other warning sounds you should pay attention to in the future.

It doesn’t make a difference what brand or style you own. Most hearing aids are going to produce it and the cause is usually pretty clear.

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