Hearing Health Blog

Man holding ear because his hearing aid is whistling.

For many of you, accepting and coming to grips with the reality of hearing loss is a tough pill to swallow. Because you realized that it was best for your health, you made the decision to go and get fitted for a hearing aid by a hearing specialist. More than likely, you quickly realized the advantages one receives from using a hearing aid, including the ability to hear speech (even amidst the buzz of background noise), the possibility of recognizing from mental decline and the ability to deal with tinnitus.

But occasionally, amongst all those life-changing benefits, you get one loud, piercing and shrieking negative. Your hearing aids squeal. The squealing you’re hearing is more commonly known as feedback. 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, fortunately for you, is a problem that can be fixed fairly easily. We’ve put together a recap of three tried-and-true ways to stop your hearing aid from whistling.

1. Modify The Fit of Your Hearing Aid

The positioning of the hearing aid in your ear or the earmold it’s connected to is probably the most common reason for feedback. The sound can get out and reverberate through the microphone of the hearing aid if it doesn’t fit properly. The consequences of that leakage can be a whistling that’s either intermittent or constant, depending on how much sound has escaped and how poorly the fit actually is. With some hearing aid models, a plastic tube will connect the actual device with the earmold. After a while, the earmold can become unseated from its proper position due to shrinking, cracking and hardening. This movement can cause whistling, but you can correct the problem by switching the plastic piece.

2. Remove Excessive Earwax

Earwax is actually good for our bodies, even though, ironically, we tend to think of it as unwanted or even nasty. This icky substance acts as a defense against irritants like dirt and stops them from getting into our ears. While your ears will self-regulate how much earwax you hold, through actions like chewing or talking, there are times when a buildup of too much earwax can have negative repercussions. Feedback will unavoidably occur if you insert a hearing aid on top of too much earwax. Because of the blockage from earwax, the amplified sound has nowhere to go and this is the reason for the feedback. With no clear place to go, the sound circles and passes through the microphone again. There are a few ways to remove an abundance of wax from your ears such as letting a warm shower run into your ears. In order to avoid undue buildup, however, the best idea is to have your ears correctly cleaned by a hearing care expert.

3. Uncover the Microphone

Often times the most apparent solution is the most practical. Have you ever seen someone trying to take a picture which didn’t come out, only to find that the lens cap was still on? The same concept is applicable here. Anything covering the hearing aid can cause them to whistle. You could 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. 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 integrating new technology regularly. If you’re having issues with whistling from your hearing aids, or you’re interested in learning more about new hearing technology, give us a call.

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