Man holding ear because his hearing aid is whistling.

For many of you, acknowledging and dealing with the truth of hearing loss is difficult to accept. Nevertheless, you soldiered on and visited a hearing expert for a hearing aid fitting appointment, because you recognized that’s what is best for your health. More than likely, you immediately realized the advantages one gets by wearing a hearing aid, including the ability to hear speech (even amidst the din of background noise), the potential to recover from mental decline and the ability to treat tinnitus.

But sometimes, among all those life-changing benefits, you get one loud, piercing and shrieking downside. Your hearing aids squeal. The whistling you’re hearing is more generally known as feedback. It’s like what happens when a microphone gets too close to the sound system, the only difference is this time it’s directly in your ear. Fortunately for you, this is a problem you can correct relatively simply. We’ve organized a recap of three tried-and-true ways to stop your hearing aid from whistling.

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. If the hearing aid doesn’t fit properly within your ear, sound can get out and reverberate through the hearing aid’s microphone. Depending on how poorly the fit is and how much sound has escaped, the result of the leakage can be either a constant or an intermittent squealing. A plastic tube connects certain hearing aid designs with an earmold. In time, the earmold can become unseated from its correct position due to shrinking, cracking and hardening. This movement can cause squealing, but you can fix the issue by replacing the plastic piece.

2. Excessive Earwax Should be Removed

It’s strange to think of something like earwax, which is thought of by many people to be foul or unwelcome, as beneficial to our bodies, but it actually is. Dirt and other things are stopped from entering the ears by this gooey substance which acts as a defense. While your ears will self-regulate how much 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 insert a hearing aid on top of an extreme amount of earwax, you’re bound to receive feedback. Because of the blockage from earwax, the amplified sound can’t go anywhere and this is the reason for the feedback. With no clear place to go, the sound comes around and passes through the microphone once more. There are a few ways to remove an overabundance 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 properly cleaning your ears to avoid excessive buildup and subsequent whistling.

3. Uncover the Microphone

Sometimes the most successful solution is the most obvious. Have you ever noticed someone trying to take a picture which didn’t come out, only to find that the lens cap was still on? The same principle is applicable here. Anything covering the device can cause it to whistle. You might 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 giving them a hug. This problem should be easy to fix just by uncovering the hearing aid.

Here’s a bonus tip: A new hearing aid might be the best choice. Manufacturers are routinely integrating new hearing aid technology into devices, and we’ve already seen modern models alleviate some of these causes for concern. Give us a call if you are interested in learning about new hearing aid technology or if you are having a problem with your current hearing aids whistling.

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