Feedback from Hearing Aids | Blog | Nardelli Audiology

Feedback from Hearing Aids

By Melissa Carnes Rose, Au.D. June 15, 2020
Feedback from Hearing Aids - Nardelli Audiology Blog

If you have hearing aids, you may wonder what that occasional whistling sound is all about. Feedback noises tend to be rather common when it comes to hearing aids, but they can be very annoying at times. Thankfully, you can learn more about it and see what can be done to reduce it.

The basic structure of a hearing aid involves speakers as well as a microphone. The combination of these two components makes the device prone to picking up and playing back extraneous noises at times, apart from useful ones.

Think of other situations that use microphones and speakers, such as at concerts or any programs that use a microphone and loudspeaker. Sometimes you get to hear shrill whistling sounds when the microphone is pointed towards the speaker, or if the microphone is not in the correct setting. Something similar happens with hearing aids, where sounds that are generated by the hearing aid receiver are picked up by the microphone and sent to the speakers. These shrill sounds are what we hear as hearing aid feedback.

The causes for this feedback loop are many. Sometimes you may accidentally switch on your hearing aids while you are still holding them. The moment you switch on the hearing aids, sound waves begin to get processed and this can generate the feedback sounds when you transfer the hearing aids from your hands to your ears. You can avoid this problem by simply keeping your hearing aids switched off until you have them securely fitted into your ears.

Another common problem that causes hearing aid feedback is poor fitting. If your hearing aids are too loose, this lets the air in and causes additional disturbance and feedback. Have your audiologist take a look at your hearing aids and readjust them so that you can a more comfortable and secure fit to eliminate feedback.

Earwax is another main cause for feedback. In case you have an excessive buildup of earwax which you feel may be causing your hearing aid feedback, have your ears cleaned out by a medical professional. Cerumen can lead to poorly fitted hearing aids by blocking part of your ear canal, which as we already know, leads to feedback.

Like any other electronic device, hearing aids too are prone to breaking down and malfunctioning. If there is damage to your hearing aids, feedback may result because of it. Have your hearing aids periodically checked by your audiologist to detect and rectify any maintenance issues.

Sometimes, hearing aid users may mistake other sounds for feedback. If your hearing aid battery is low, you may hear a beeping sound coming from your hearing aids. This indicates that your battery needs to be replaced and is NOT a feedback sound. In case of doubt, always consult your hearing aid manual to see whether other warning sounds may emanate from your hearing aid for various other reasons.

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