Hearing Health Blog

Man holding ear because his hearing aid is whistling.

For many people, accepting and coming to grips with the truth of hearing loss is a tough pill to swallow. Nonetheless, you pushed through and visited a hearing professional for a hearing aid fitting session, because you recognized that’s what was best for your health. More than likely, you quickly recognized the advantages one receives by using 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 deal with tinnitus.

But sometimes, amongst all those life-changing advantages, you get one loud, piercing and shrieking negative. Your hearing aids whistle. Feedback is the more familiar word for this whistling. It’s like what happens when a microphone comes too close to the sound system, the only difference is this time it’s directly in your ear. This, luckily for you, is an issue that can be corrected fairly easily. Stopping your hearing aid from whistling can be accomplished using the following suggestions:

1. The Way Your Hearing Aid Fits Can be Adjusted

Perhaps the most prevalent reason for feedback or whistling in the ear concerns the positioning of your hearing aid in your ear or the earmold connected to it. The sound can get out and reverberate through the microphone of the hearing aid if it doesn’t fit correctly. The result of that leakage can be a whistling that’s either sporadic or continuous, depending on how much sound has escaped and how poorly the fit really is. A plastic tube connects certain hearing aid designs with an earmold. Over time, this piece can crack, harden or shrink, which unseats the earmold from its correct position. This movement can cause whistling, but you can improve the issue by replacing the plastic piece.

2. Excessive Earwax Should be Removed

Earwax is really beneficial for our bodies, even though, ironically, we tend to think of it as unwanted or even nasty. This gooey compound acts as a defense against irritants like dirt and stops them from getting into our ears. While your ears will self-regulate the amount of earwax you hold, through actions like chewing or talking, there are times when an accumulation of too much earwax can have negative consequences. Feedback will inevitably occur if you insert a hearing aid on top of an excessive amount of earwax. Because of the blockage from earwax, the amplified sound has nowhere to go and this is the reason for the feedback. The sound circles back into the microphone because it has no definite exit. Doing things such as letting warm shower water run into your ears can help eliminate excessive earwax. However, the best idea might be to make an appointment with a hearing specialist about correctly cleaning your ears to avoid excessive buildup and subsequent whistling.

3. Uncover the Microphone

Often times the most successful solution is the most evident. Have you ever seen someone attempting to take a picture which didn’t come out, only to find that the lens cap was still on? With hearing aids the same thing can happen. Whistling can occur when something is covering the device. You may even get the same outcome by covering the microphone with your hand or another object, like if you bury your ear in someone’s shoulder while hugging them. Uncovering the hearing aid should suffice in fixing the issue.

Here’s a bonus tip: A new hearing aid may be the best choice. Some causes for concern are being alleviated by modern hearing aid models and manufacturers are developing new technology all of the time. Give us a call if you are interested in learning about new hearing aid technology or if you are having trouble with your current hearing aids whistling.

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