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

Does your hearing aid sound a bit like a teapot these days? Feedback is a common concern with hearing aids but it’s not something that you can’t have fixed. The aggravating high pitched sound can be better comprehended by getting some understanding of how your hearing aids work. What can be done about hearing aid feedback?

What Exactly Are The Functions of Your Hearing Aids?

Hearing aids, basically, are actually 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 becomes a little complicated.

Because the sound is going to be further processed, it must first be transformed into an analog signal. An advanced transformation 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 signal is sent to a receiver after being changed back to analog by the processor. At this point, what was once a sound wave becomes an analog electrical signal and that’s not something you can hear. The receiver converts the signal back into sound waves and sends them through your ear canal. Ironically, the brain interprets sound by electrical signals, so elements in the cochlea translate it back into electrical signals for the brain to understand.

Surprisingly all of this complicated functionality takes place in a nanosecond. So if your hearing aid is so advanced why does it still feedback?

How do Feedback Loops Occur?

Feedback doesn’t exclusively happen inside hearing aids. Sound systems that include microphones normally have some degree of feedback. Essentially, the microphone is picking up sound which is produced by the receiver and re-amplifying it. The sound wave enters the microphone, goes through the processing and then the receiver turns it back into a sound wave. The sound is re-amplified after the microphone picks it up again which brings about a loop of feedback. The hearing aid doesn’t like hearing itself over and over again and that causes it to screech.

Exactly What is The Cause of Hearing Aid Feedback?

A feedback loop can be created by several difficulties. If you turn on your hearing aid while it’s still in your hand prior to putting it in, you will get a very common cause. Right when you push the on switch, your hearing aid starts to process sound. The feedback is triggered when the sound coming out of the receiver bounces off of your hand and then back into the microphone. Before you decide to switch your hearing aid on put it inside of your ear and you will eliminate this particular source of feedback.

Sometimes hearing aids won’t fit quite as well as they ought to and that leads to feedback. 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. Getting an adjustment from the retailer is the only good solution to this one.

Feedback And Earwax

Earwax isn’t a friend when it comes to hearing aids. Earwax buildup on the outer casing of the hearing aid stops it from fitting right. When that takes place, the device is once again loose and triggers feedback. If you ask your retailer or if you study the users-manual, you will determine how to safely clean this earwax off.

Maybe It’s Simply Broken

When you’ve attempted everything else but the whistling continues, this is where you head next. A damaged hearing aid will indeed cause feedback. The casing could have a crack in it somewhere, for example. You should never try to fix this damage at home. Schedule a session with a hearing aid repair service to have it fixed.

Sometimes What Sounds Like Feedback is Really Something Else Altogether

You could very well be hearing something that you think sounds like feedback but it’s actually not. There are things that can go wrong with your hearing aids, such as a low battery, which can give a warning sound. Listen to the sound. Is it a tone or a beep, or does it really sound like feedback? Consult the manual to find out if your device comes with this feature and what other warning sounds you should listen for in the future.

It doesn’t matter what brand or style you have. Typically, the cause of the feedback is quite clear no matter what brand you have.

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.

Main Line Audiology Consultants, PC