Hearing Health Blog

Man holding ear because his hearing aid is whistling.

For many people, admitting and coming to grips with the reality of hearing loss is a tough pill to swallow. Because you recognized that it was best for your health, you made the choice to go and get fitted for a hearing aid by a hearing specialist. More than likely, you immediately realized the benefits one gets from using a hearing aid, including the ability to hear speech (even among the din of background noise), the potential to recover from cognitive decline and the ability to deal with tinnitus.

But sometimes you get a loud, piercing, shrieking negative among all the life altering positives. You get a loud whistling sound from your hearing aids. Feedback is the more familiar term 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. Fortunately, this is a problem you can correct relatively easily. We’ve put together 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 positioning of your hearing aid in your ear or the earmold connected to it. The sound can escape and reverberate through the microphone of the hearing aid if it doesn’t fit properly. 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. A plastic tube connects certain hearing aid designs with an earmold. Over time, this piece can harden, shrink or crack, which unseats the earmold from its proper position. This movement can cause whistling, but you can improve the problem by replacing the plastic piece.

2. Get Rid of Excessive Earwax

Earwax is really good for our bodies, even though, ironically, we usually think of it as unwanted or even foul. Dirt and other things are stopped from entering the ears by this icky substance which acts as a defense. Actions, such as talking or chewing assist your ears to regulate the amount of earwax they produce but there can be an adverse effect if too much earwax accumulates. When you insert a hearing aid on top of an excessive amount of earwax, you’re bound to receive feedback. Because of the blockage from earwax, the amplified sound can’t go anywhere and this is the reason for the feedback. The sound circles back into the microphone because it has no definite exit. There are a few ways to eliminate an overabundance of wax from your ears like letting a warm shower run into your ears. However, the best idea may be to make an appointment with a hearing specialist about properly cleaning your ears to avoid undue buildup and subsequent whistling.

3. Make Sure The Microphone is Uncovered

Often the most reliable solution is the most obvious. Have you ever noticed someone attempting to take a picture which didn’t come out, only to discover that the lens cap was still on? With hearing aids the same thing can occur. Anything covering the hearing aid can cause them to whistle. You could even get the same result by covering the microphone with your hand or another object, like if you give someone a hug 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: A new hearing aid might be the best choice. Some causes for worry are being alleviated by modern hearing aid models and manufacturers are developing new technology regularly. Give us a call if you are interested in checking out new hearing aid technology or if you are having trouble with your current hearing aids whistling.

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