Why Do Hearing Aids Whistle?
Hearing aids whistle, screech, squeal, or whine sometimes. This high-pitched sound is called feedback. If you wear hearing aids, you may occasionally hear this feedback.
Why Does Hearing Aid Feedback Occur?
With hearing aids, sound enters through the microphone and is played through the speaker. Feedback occurs when the microphone re-amplifies this sound. This creates a loop of sound in the hearing device, which continues to be re-amplified and is then heard as a squeal or whistle.
You may occasionally hear brief feedback when hugging someone, if there is a high-pitched sound in the area, or when you put your hearing aids on or take them off. This is normal. However, excessive feedback isn’t okay. It can indicate that something could be wrong with the flow of sound in your hearing aid. Thankfully, it can and should be fixed.
5 Reasons Why Your Hearing Aids are Whistling
Feedback can be irritating and may prevent you from hearing speech or communicating effectively. This is why most hearing aids offer a feedback suppression system. If you experience feedback in your hearing aids, it could be due to one of the following five reasons.
An improper fit means the hearing aid does not sit perfectly in your ear, or you didn’t get the right size from your hearing specialist. If your ear canals have gotten larger, the earmolds may become loose. This will cause some of the sound from the speaker to escape and get re-amplified by the microphone.
To prevent this, always make sure the hearing device sits flush in your ear and get a new earmold or earbud as necessary. You can also ask your audiologist to help you find a hearing aid that will fit you perfectly, leaving no room for the sound to escape.
High Volume or Frequency
Turning the volume up too loud may cause some of the sound to escape, leading to feedback.
Always make sure the volume is turned down to prevent feedback. If you have to turn up the volume of your hearing aids a lot to hear sounds, you may have the wrong device and should speak with your hearing specialist about getting a new one.
Buildup of Earwax
Although earwax helps keep foreign substances away from your ear, its accumulation could cause feedback. Too much of it can reflect sound from the amplifier to the microphone. This often results in a squealing sound.
There could also be wax in the hearing aid tubing, which can cause feedback. If you think this may be the case, contact your hearing specialist to have them checked and cleaned.
Sometimes, the whistling may be due to a crack in the hearing aid’s tubing that allows leakage of sound and thus its recycling through the microphone. Additionally, the tube that links the hearing aid to the earmold might stiffen and shrink over time. This can cause it to tug on the earmold and affect the fit. If this is happening, your hearing specialist can replace the broken tubing.
Smaller models of hearing aids have the receiver and microphone very close to each other. If the microphone is loose or not in its rightful place, it picks up reflected sound more easily, and there is a higher likelihood of feedback.
Feedback Cancellation Features in Phonak Hearing Aids
At times, you may be better off buying a different brand of hearing aid to help prevent feedback. Phonak hearing aids and accessories offer the following feedback cancellation features.
Feedback Cancellation System
Phonak hearing aids use an adaptive filter to help reduce feedback and enhance the amount of gain. The adaptive filter’s output is blocked from the microphone signal in order to remove acoustic and mechanical rebound, allowing the hearing aid to have greater gain.
Dynamic Cancellation Optimizer
This feature analyzes all incoming signals. If audible feedback is detected in the signal, the gain is lowered at the relevant frequency to give a steady sound that is desirable to the listener.
We Recommend Phonak Aids for Hearing Loss
If you want to improve your hearing experience, there’s no better option than Phonak hearing aids. Their noise suppression, feedback cancellation and up-to-the-minute wireless accessories, including a TV connector, remote control, and more, will make your life more comfortable.
If you still feel at a loss or do not know what to do about feedback, we are here to help you hear better and answer any of your concerns. At Bravo Hearing Centre, we offer various hearing loss services, including hearing tests, hearing aid fitting, and counselling from our qualified specialists.