Man holding ear because his hearing aid is whistling.

It’s a tough pill to swallow, for many, coming to grips with and acknowledging the truth of hearing loss. Because you realized that it was best for your health, you made the choice to go and get fitted for a hearing aid by a hearing specialist. Most likely, you quickly realized the benefits one receives from wearing a hearing aid, including the ability to treat tinnitus, hear speech (even among the din of background noise), and the potential to recover from mental decline.

But sometimes, amongst all those life-changing advantages, you get one loud, piercing and shrieking negative. Your hearing aids squeal. The whistling you’re hearing is more typically 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. Fortunately, this is a problem you can fix relatively 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 common reason for feedback. The sound can escape 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 result of the leakage can be either a constant or a sporadic squealing. With some hearing aid designs, a plastic tube will connect the actual device with the earmold. In time, the earmold can become unseated from its correct position due to shrinking, cracking and hardening. If you replace the plastic piece, you can correct the whistling which is caused by this movement.

2. Excessive Earwax Should be Removed

It’s strange to think of something like earwax, which is thought of by most people to be foul or unwelcome, as beneficial to our bodies, but it actually is. This gooey substance acts as a defense against irritants like dirt and stops them from entering our ears. While your ears will self-regulate the amount of earwax you hold, through actions like Talking and chewing, 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. The reason for this is that 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. There are a few ways to eliminate an abundance of wax from your ears such as letting a warm shower run into your ears. However, the best idea might 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

Often the most apparent answer is the most practical. How many times have you seen somebody attempting to take a photo with the lens cap on their camera and watched as they became temporarily perplexed about why the picture didn’t come out? With hearing aids the same thing can occur. Anything covering the hearing aid can cause them to whistle. You may 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. This issue should be easy to fix just by uncovering the hearing aid.

Here’s a bonus tip: Consider getting a new hearing aid. Manufacturers are routinely integrating new hearing aid technology into devices, and we’ve already seen modern models decrease some of these causes for concern. If you’re having trouble with whistling from your hearing aids, or you’re interested in learning more about new hearing technology, call us.

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