Man holding ear because his hearing aid is whistling.

For many individuals, admitting and dealing with the reality of hearing loss is difficult to accept. Nonetheless, you pushed through and visited a hearing professional for a hearing aid fitting session, because you knew that’s what is best for your health. More than likely, you quickly recognized 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 occasionally, amongst all those life-changing benefits, you get one loud, piercing and shrieking downside. Your hearing aids squeal. Feedback is the more familiar word for this whistling. It’s like what happens when a microphone gets too close to the sound system, the only difference is this time it’s directly in your ear. This, luckily for you, is an issue that can be fixed fairly easily. Stopping your hearing aid from squealing can be accomplished using the following guidelines:

1. Modify The Fit of Your Hearing Aid

Perhaps the most prevalent reason for feedback or whistling in the ear involves the positioning of your hearing aid in your ear or the earmold it’s connected to. If the hearing aid doesn’t fit securely within your ear, sound can escape and reverberate through the hearing aid’s microphone. The result 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 really is. With some hearing aid models, a plastic tube will connect the actual device with the earmold. In time, the earmold can become unseated from its correct position due to hardening, cracking and shrinking. This movement can cause squealing, but you can improve the problem by switching the plastic piece.

2. Get Rid of Excessive Earwax

Earwax is actually beneficial for our bodies, even though, ironically, we tend to think of it as unwanted or even nasty. Dirt and other things are prevented from entering the ears by this icky substance which acts as a defense. 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 put a hearing aid on top of an excessive amount of earwax, you’re bound to get feedback. Because of the blockage from earwax, the amplified sound has nowhere to go and this is the reason for the feedback. The sound circles back into the microphone because it has no definite exit. Doing things including letting warm shower water run into your ears can help eliminate excessive earwax. However, the best idea may be to make an appointment with a hearing specialist about correctly cleaning your ears to avoid excessive accumulation and subsequent whistling.

3. Uncover the Microphone

Sometimes the most apparent answer is the most effective. How often have you seen somebody try to take a photo with the lens cap on their camera and watched as they became temporarily baffled about why the picture didn’t come out? With hearing aids the same thing can happen. Whistling can occur when something is covering the device. You may even get the same outcome by covering the microphone with your hand or another object, like if you hug someone and put your ear into their shoulder. This issue should be easy to fix simply by uncovering the hearing aid.

Here’s a bonus tip: Think about getting a new hearing aid. Manufacturers are routinely developing new hearing aid technology into devices, and we’ve already seen modern models alleviate some of these causes for worry. Give us a call if you are interested in learning about new hearing aid technology or if you are having a problem with your current hearing aids whistling.

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