Man holding ear because his hearing aid is whistling.

For many people, accepting and dealing with the truth of hearing loss is difficult to accept. Nonetheless, you soldiered on and visited a hearing specialist for a hearing aid fitting session, because you knew that’s what was best for your health. Most likely, you immediately recognized the advantages one gets by wearing a hearing aid, including the ability to hear speech (even amidst the buzz 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 changing benefits. 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, fortunately for you, is a problem that can be fixed fairly easily. Stopping your hearing aid from squealing can be accomplished using the following guidelines:

1. The Way Your Hearing Aid Fits Can be Adjusted

The positioning of the hearing aid in your ear or the earmold it’s connected to is likely the most predominant reason for feedback. The sound can get out and reverberate through the microphone of the hearing aid if it doesn’t fit properly. Depending on how poorly the fit is and how much sound has escaped, the outcome of the leakage can be either a constant or a sporadic whistling. A plastic tube connects some hearing aid models with an earmold. After a while, the earmold can become unseated from its proper position due to shrinking, cracking and hardening. This movement can cause whistling, but you can fix the problem by switching the plastic piece.

2. Excessive Earwax Should be Removed

Earwax is actually good for our bodies, even though, ironically, we usually think of it as unwanted or even foul. Dirt and other things are prevented from entering the ears by this gooey substance which acts as a defense. Actions, such as talking or chewing assist your ears to limit the amount of earwax they make but there can be an adverse effect if too much earwax builds up. When you place a hearing aid on top of an extreme amount of earwax, you’re bound to get feedback. This is because the amplified sound has nowhere to go due to the blockage from the wax. 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 remove excessive earwax. In order to prevent undue buildup, however, the best strategy is to have your ears properly cleaned by a hearing care expert.

3. Make Sure The Microphone is Uncovered

Often times the most effective solution is the most evident. Have you ever seen someone trying 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 happen. Whistling can occur when something is covering the device. You could even get the same result by covering the microphone with your hand or another object, like if you bury your ear in someone’s shoulder while hugging them. Uncovering the hearing aid should suffice in fixing the problem.

Here’s a bonus tip: Think about purchasing a new hearing aid. Some causes for worry are being alleviated by modern hearing aid models and manufacturers are integrating new technology all of the time. Call us 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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