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

Are you beginning to hear an annoying high pitch noise coming out of your hearing aids? A very common issue with hearing aids which can most likely be fixed is feedback. If you want to get one step closer to understanding why you keep hearing that high pitch whistling sound, you need to learn how your hearing aids work. What can be done 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. When the microphone picks the sound up but prior to when it gets played back by the speaker, there are some intricate functions that occur.

The sound is then converted to an analog electrical signal for processing after being picked up by the microphone. A high-tech digital signal processing chip then converts the analog signal to a digital one. The device’s sophisticated properties and controls activate to amplify and clean up the sound.

The digital signal processor then transforms the signal back to analog and forwards it to a receiver. It’s not possible to hear these electrical signals that were once a sound. The receiver converts the signal back to sound waves and transmits them through your ears. Elements in the cochlea translate it back into an electrical signal that the brain can understand.

It’s hard to believe but all of this happens in around a nanosecond. What happens to cause the feedback whistle, though?

Feedback Loops And How They Happen

Feedback doesn’t exclusively happen inside of hearing aids. You hear that same high pitched noise in many sound systems that utilize a microphone. Essentially, the microphone is collecting sound that is coming from the receiver and re-amplifying it. The sound wave enters the microphone, goes through the processing and after that the receiver transforms it into a sound wave. The sound is then re-amplified after the microphone picks it up again which brings about a loop of feedback. The system hates hearing itself over and over again and that causes it to screech.

Exactly What is The Cause of Hearing Aid Feedback?

A feedback loop might be brought about by several issues. If you turn your hearing aid on in your hand prior to putting it in, you will get a very common cause. As soon as you press the on button, your hearing aid starts to process sound. The sound being produced by the receiver bounces off of your hand and then back into the microphone producing the feedback. If your hearing aid is snuggly in your ear before turning it on, you will have resolved this particular feedback hassle.

If your hearing aids aren’t fitting as well as they should, this can also trigger feedback. If you have lost some weight since you last had your hearing aids fitted, or if your hearing aids a bit older, you may have a loose fit. If that’s the case, you need to head back to where you got it and have the piece adjusted so it will fit your ear properly again.

Earwax And Feedback

With regards to hearing aids, earwax is in no way a friend. One of the main reasons that hearing aids don’t fit properly is because of the accumulation of earwax on the casing. Now, feedback is once again being triggered by a loose fit. If you consult your retailer or if you read the users-manual, you will find out how to safely clean this earwax off.

Perhaps It’s Only Broke

If all else fails you need to take this into consideration. A broken hearing aid will certainly feedback. As an example, the outer casing may be cracked. You should not try to fix this damage at home. Take it in for professional repair.

When is Feedback Not Really Feedback

Hearing aids can make other noises that you may think sound like feedback but are really something else. There are things that can go wrong with your hearing aids, such as a low battery, which can give you a warning sound. The sound should be carefully listened to. Is it actually a whistling noise or does it sound more like a beep? If your device comes with this feature, the owners manual will tell you.

It doesn’t matter what brand or style you use. Many brands of hearing aids are going to produce it and the cause is usually very clear.

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.