For people who wear hearing aids, chances are you have heard some sort of whistling or high-pitched hissing come from your device at some point – an experience you are likely looking to avoid.
So why are they whistling, and how can you stop it?
Why Your Hearing Aid Whistles
The whistling noise you hear from your hearing aids is referred to as feedback, and it is caused by interference.
Interference can be caused by two electronic devices close to each other. The sound coming from the device that was meant for your ear canal loops back around and ends up in the hearing aid microphone. This sound then gets reamplified in the form of whistling or high-pitched squealing.
Once your hearing aids are correctly fitted, the whistling should stop, but even if they have been professionally fitted, things can change over time, such as:
Incorrect Volume Setting
Keep the hearing aid volumes as close to the default setting as possible. It can be a natural response to turn up the volume on your hearing aids if you are having trouble hearing conversations, but when the sound is too loud, it can reverberate back to the microphone, causing feedback.
A snug fit is crucial to optimal hearing aid functionality. Ill-fitting hearing aids allow sound to leak out and echo back to the microphone, causing whistling or squealing.
The shape of your ear can change naturally over time, and fluctuations in weight can impact the fit of a hearing aid in the canal too.
If the ear canal is blocked by excess earwax, the sounds have nowhere to go but back to the hearing aid microphone, resulting in feedback. Earwax tends to move around inside the ear canal, so you might only experience occasional feedback, which is still jarring.
If earwax blockages are the issue, we recommend you have your ears cleaned by a professional and also have your device checked for blockages in the receivers or vents.
Tubing & Molding Issues
Hearing aid earmolds need to form a tight seal to prevent feedback. If you do not have custom earmolds, this might be the cause of the problem. Custom earmolds are made by using impressions of the individual’s ear and this helps secure a tight seal. Even custom earmolds, though, should be checked in the ear routinely by a hearing professional to ensure there are no gaps.
Issues can also occur with the tube that connects the device to the earmold. If it becomes detached or damaged, it will need to be replaced.
Like any mechanical or technological device, your hearing aid always carries the risk of technical issues. This may even involve the microphone becoming dislodged or displaced.
The Wrong Hearing Aids For You
Unfortunately, you might have bought your hearing aids from someone who was not a licensed hearing professional, and because of this, the hearing aids do not have a good feedback program. They might lower the volume on your hearing aid settings rather than get rid of the whistling problem.
The right hearing aid for you will be sized correctly and programmed properly.
How Can I Stop My Hearing Aids from Whistling?
There are a few things you can try at home that might help stop the feedback in your hearing aids.
- Have a daily cleaning routine. Brush any dust and debris off your hearing aid microphones with a soft, dry cloth, or use the special brush that came with your hearing aids.
- Use a wax pick to remove wax from any difficult-to-access grooves.
- Change filters as needed, and change domes at least every three months.
- If your hearing aid manufacturer has a testing app for your hearing aid, run the monthly diagnostic test on it.
Where Can I Get My Whistling Hearing Aids Fixed in the Vancouver area?
Having your hearing aid device checked regularly by a hearing professional helps prevent issues before they occur and keeps your hearing aids performing optimally. Fortunately, if you live in the Vancouver area, our Hear at Home mobile hearing clinic can come to you.
Hearing aids are not a fix-it-and-forget-it device, which is why we recommend hearing aid fitting checks every three to six months. This way we can check the settings, the amount of earwax in your ear, the hearing aid tubes, molds and microphones and any other changes to the way the hearing aid fits in your ear canal.
Book an appointment for a hearing aid clean and check with Hear at Home. We look forward to seeing you and helping you benefit from hearing aids that are fully functional.
And if you are interested in upgrading your current hearing aids, we can help with that too.