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

Does your hearing aid sound a little like a teakettle right now? The well-known problem of feedback inside of your hearing aids can possibly be corrected. Understanding exactly how hearing aids function and what might be the reason for that constant whistling sound will get you one step closer to eradicating it. What can be done about hearing aid feedback?

How Do Hearing Aids Work?

At their core, hearing aids are simply a microphone and a speaker. The speaker plays the sound in your ear that the microphone picks up. It’s what happens between the microphone and speaker that gets complicated.

Because the sound is going to be further processed, it must first be transformed into an electrical analog signal. The analog form is then translated into a digital signal by the device’s processor. The sound is clarified after it becomes digital by the device’s properties and settings.

The digital signal processor then changes the signal back to analog and sends it to a receiver. At this point, what was once a sound becomes an analog electrical signal and that isn’t something you can hear. The waves of sound, which the receiver converts the signal back to, are then transmitted through your ear canal. Elements in the cochlea translate it back into an electrical signal that the brain can interpret.

It’s hard to comprehend but all of this happens in a nanosecond. What happens to cause the feedback whistle, though?

Feedback Loops And How They Happen

Feedback happens in other systems besides hearing aids. Systems that include microphones normally have some degree of feedback. The receiver generates sound which the microphone then picks up and re-amplifies. After entering the microphone and being processed, the receiver then transforms the signal back into a sound wave. A feedback loop is then produced after the microphone picks up the sound again and re-amplifies it. 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 may be caused by several difficulties. One of the most common causes is turning the hearing aid on in your hand and then putting it into your ear. Right when you push the on button, your hearing aid begins processing sound waves. The sound being produced by the receiver bounces off of your hand back into the microphone triggering the feedback. Before you decide to switch your hearing aid on put it inside of your ear and you will eliminate this particular source of feedback.

Feedback can also be caused when your hearing aid doesn’t fit properly. If you have lost some weight since you had your hearing aids fitted, or possibly if your hearing aids are older, you might have a loose fit. Getting an adjustment from the retailer is the only good answer to this problem.

Earwax And Feedback

Hearing aids absolutely have issues with earwax. Earwax buildup on the outer casing of the hearing aid stops it from fitting right. When that happens, the device is once again loose and causes feedback. If you consult your retailer or if you read the users-manual, you will determine how to safely clean this earwax off.

Maybe It’s Just Broken

If all else doesn’t work you need to consider this. A damaged hearing aid will definitely feedback. As an example, the outer casing might be cracked. Don’t try and fix the unit yourself. Schedule a session with a hearing aid repair service to get it fixed.

Occasionally What Sounds Like Feedback is Really Something Else Altogether

You may well be hearing something that you think sounds like feedback but it’s actually not. A low battery or perhaps other potential issues can cause a warning sound in some devices. The sound should be carefully listened to. Is it really a screeching noise or does it sound more like a beep? If your device comes with this feature, the manual will tell you.

It doesn’t make a difference what brand or style you have. Most hearing aids are capable of producing it and the cause is usually pretty clear.

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