Man holding ear because his hearing aid is whistling.

It’s a tough pill to swallow, for many, coming to grips with and admitting the truth of hearing loss. Nonetheless, you pushed through and went to a hearing expert for a hearing aid fitting session, because you knew that’s what was best for your health. More than likely, you quickly realized the benefits one gets from using a hearing aid, including the ability to hear speech (even among the buzz of background noise), the potential to recover from mental decline and the ability to treat tinnitus.

But sometimes you get a loud, piercing, shrieking negative among all the life changing benefits. Your hearing aids squeal. Feedback is the more familiar term for this whistling. It’s like what happens when a microphone gets too close to the sound system, the only difference is this time it’s directly in your ear. Fortunately, this is a problem you can fix relatively easily. We’ve put together a recap of three tried-and-true ways to stop your hearing aid from squealing.

1. The Way Your Hearing Aid Fits Can be Adjusted

Possibly the most prevalent reason for feedback or whistling in the ear involves the positioning of your hearing aid in your ear or the earmold it’s connected to. The sound can get out and reverberate through the microphone of the hearing aid if it doesn’t fit right. The consequences of that leakage can be a whistling that’s either sporadic or continuous, depending on how much sound has escaped and how poorly the fit actually is. A plastic tube connects certain hearing aid designs with an earmold. Over time, this piece can crack, harden or shrink, which unseats the earmold from its correct position. This movement can cause squealing, but you can correct the problem by switching the plastic piece.

2. Excessive Earwax Should be Removed

Earwax is actually good for our bodies, even though, ironically, we tend to think of it as unwanted or even foul. Dirt and other things are stopped from entering the ears by this gooey substance which acts as a defense. While your ears will self-regulate the quantity of earwax you hold, through actions like chewing or talking, there are times when an accumulation of too much earwax can have negative consequences. Feedback will unavoidably occur if you insert a hearing aid on top of too much earwax. This is because the amplified sound has nowhere to go due to the blockage from the wax. The sound circles back into the microphone because it has no clear exit. Doing things like letting warm shower water run into your ears can help get rid of excessive earwax. However, the best idea may be to make an appointment with a hearing specialist about properly cleaning your ears to avoid excessive accumulation and subsequent whistling.

3. Make Sure The Microphone is Uncovered

Often the most obvious solution is the most effective. How often have you seen somebody attempting to take a photo with the lens cap on their camera and watched as they became temporarily puzzled about why the picture didn’t come out? With hearing aids the same thing can happen. Whistling can occur when something is covering the device. If you cover the microphone with your hand or another object, you get the same outcome, like if you give someone a hug and put your ear into their shoulder. Uncovering the hearing aid should suffice in fixing the issue.

Here’s a bonus tip: A new hearing aid may be the best option. Manufacturers are routinely integrating new hearing aid technology into devices, and we’ve already seen modern models decrease some of these causes for concern. If you’re having trouble with whistling from your hearing aids, or you’re interested in learning more about new hearing technology, call us.