Why is There Feedback in my Hearing Aids?

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

Is that a teakettle or is that just your hearing aids? The common issue of feedback in your hearing aids can possibly be fixed. Knowing how hearing aids work and what might be the reason for that constant whistling will get you a little closer to getting rid of it. So what can you do about it?

What Exactly Are The Functions of Your Hearing Aids?

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

In order for the sound to be processed, it must first be transformed into an electrical analog signal. A sophisticated conversion from analog to digital is then accomplished by a signal processing microchip. The device’s sophisticated properties and controls activate to amplify and clarify the sound.

The digital signal processor then changes the signal back to analog and transmits it to a receiver. You’re ears don’t hear these electrical signals that were once a sound. The receiver converts the signal back into sound waves and sends them through your ears. Elements in the cochlea convert it back into an electrical signal that the brain can interpret.

It all sounds very complicated but it takes place in about a nanosecond. Despite all of this advanced technology, the hearing aid still feeds back.

How do Feedback Loops Happen?

Feedback doesn’t only happen inside of hearing aids. You hear that same high pitched noise in many sound systems which utilize a microphone. Essentially, the microphone is collecting sound that is coming from the receiver and re-amplifying it. After coming into the microphone and being processed, the receiver then turns the signal back into a sound wave. A feedback loop is then produced when the microphone picks up the sound again and re-amplifies it. The system hates hearing itself over and over again and that makes it scream.

Exactly What is The Cause of Hearing Aid Feedback?

There are quite a few things that can go wrong to create this feedback loop. If you turn your hearing aid on in your hand before you put it in, you will get a very common cause. As soon as you press the on button, your hearing aid begins processing sound waves. The sound being produced by the receiver bounces off your hand and then back into the microphone causing the feedback. If your hearing aid is snuggly inside your ear and then you turn it on, you will have solved this particular feedback concern.

Occasionally hearing aids don’t fit as well as they ought to and that can lead to feedback problems. Loose fitting devices have a tendency to be a problem with older hearing aids or if you’ve lost weight since you last had them fitted. If that’s the case, you need to head back to the retailer and have the piece adjusted so it will fit your ear properly again.

Earwax And Feedback

Earwax isn’t a friend when it comes to hearing aids. One of the main reasons that hearing aids don’t fit properly is because of the buildup of earwax on the casing. And we are already aware that a loose fitting device will cause feedback. If you get in touch with your retailer or maybe if you study the manual, you will find out how to safely clean this earwax off.

Maybe It’s Only Broke

When you’ve tried everything else but the feedback continues, this is where you head next. Feedback can certainly be caused by a damaged hearing aid. As an example, the outer casing may be cracked. You should never attempt to fix this damage at home. Schedule a session with a hearing aid repair service to get it fixed.

When is Feedback Not Actually Feedback

You could very well be hearing something that sounds like feedback but it’s actually not. Many hearing aids employ sound to alert you of impending issues such as a low battery. Pay attention to the sound. Is it actually a screeching noise or does it sound more like a beep? Check the manual to find out if your device comes with this feature and what other warning sounds you should pay attention to in the future.

Feedback doesn’t discriminate by brand or style. Usually, the cause of the feedback is pretty clear regardless of what brand you own.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.