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

Is that a teakettle or is it just your hearing aids? The well-known problem of feedback inside of your hearing aids can possibly be corrected. Understanding how hearing aids function and what is behind that constant whistling sound will get you a little closer to eliminating it. What can you do about hearing aid feedback?

What Exactly Are The Functions of Your Hearing Aids?

A simple microphone and a speaker are the basics of a hearing aid. The microphone picks up the sound and the speaker plays it in your ear. It’s what happens between the microphone and speaker that gets complicated.

Because the sound is going to be further processed, it needs first to be translated into an electrical analog signal. An advanced conversion from analog to digital is then accomplished by a signal processing chip. The sound is clarified after becoming digital by the device’s functions and settings.

The processor then transforms the signal back to analog and forwards it to a receiver. It’s not possible to hear these electrical signals which were once a sound. The waves of sound, which the receiver converts the signal back into, are then sent through your ears. Ironically, the brain interprets sound by electrical signals, so elements in the cochlea turn it back to electrical signals for the brain to understand.

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

Feedback Loops And How They Happen

Hearing aids are not the only place where you hear feedback. You hear that same whistle in most sound systems that use a microphone. Basically, the microphone is picking up sound which is produced by the receiver and re-amplifying it. After going into the microphone and being processed, the receiver then converts 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 hearing aid hates hearing itself over and over again and that makes it scream.

Exactly What is The Cause of Hearing Aid Feedback?

A feedback loop may be brought about by several issues. One of the most common causes is turning the hearing aid on in your hand and then putting it into your ear. Your hearing aid begins processing sound right when you press the “on” button. This feedback is triggered as the sound coming out of the receiver bounces off of your hand and back into the microphone. The answer to this issue is pretty simple; you should wait until after the hearing aid is snuggly in your ear before hitting the button.

Sometimes hearing aids won’t fit quite as well as they ought to and that can lead to feedback. Loose fittings 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 seller is the only real solution to this problem.

Earwax And Feedback

Earwax isn’t a friend when it comes to hearing aids. Hearing aids won’t always fit right if there is an accumulation of earwax on them. And we already know that a loose fitting device can be the cause of feedback. Look in the manual that you got with your hearing aids or check with the retailer to determine exactly how to clean earwax off without damaging the device.

Maybe It’s Just Broke

This is your next thing to consider when you’ve tried everything else. A broken hearing aid will indeed cause feedback. The casing might have a crack in it somewhere, for example. It’s unwise to try to fix it on your own. Schedule a session with a hearing aid repair service to get it fixed.

Sometimes What Sounds Like Feedback is Really Something Else Entirely

Hearing aids will make other noises that you may think sound like feedback but are in fact something else. Some hearing aids use sound to alert you of impending problems such as a low battery. Listen to the sound. Is it really a whistling noise or does it sound more like a beep? If your device includes this feature, the owners manual will tell you.

Feedback doesn’t discriminate by brand or style. Usually, the actual cause of the feedback is pretty clear no matter what brand you own.