Man holding ear because his hearing aid is whistling.

For many of you, acknowledging and dealing with the reality of hearing loss is a tough pill to swallow. Because you recognized that it was best for your health, you made the decision to go and get fitted for a hearing aid by a hearing specialist. More than likely, you immediately realized the advantages one gets by using a hearing aid, including the ability to hear speech (even amidst the buzz of background noise), the possibility of recognizing from cognitive decline and the ability to deal with tinnitus.

But sometimes, among all those life-changing benefits, you get one loud, piercing and shrieking downside. You get a loud whistling sound from your hearing aids. The squealing you’re hearing is more commonly known as feedback. It’s like what happens when a microphone comes too close to the sound system, the only difference is this time it’s directly in your ear. Fortunately for you, this is a problem you can fix relatively easily. We’ve organized a recap of three tried-and-true ways to stop your hearing aid from whistling.

1. The Way Your Hearing Aid Fits Can be Adjusted

Perhaps the most predominant 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. If the hearing aid does not fit securely inside of your ear, sound can escape and reverberate through the hearing aid’s microphone. Depending on how poorly the fit is and how much sound has escaped, the consequences of the leakage can be either a constant or a sporadic whistling. A plastic tube connects some hearing aid models with an earmold. Over time, the earmold can become unseated from its proper position due to shrinking, cracking and hardening. If you replace the plastic piece, you can fix the whistling which is caused by this movement.

2. Get Rid of Excessive Earwax

Earwax is actually good for our bodies, even though, ironically, we usually think of it as unwanted or even nasty. 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 how much earwax you hold, through actions such as chewing or talking, there are times when a buildup of too much earwax can have negative consequences. When you insert a hearing aid on top of an extreme amount of earwax, you’re bound to get feedback. Because of the blockage from earwax, the amplified sound has nowhere to go and this is the reason for the feedback. With no clear exit, the sound comes around and passes through the microphone once more. There are a few ways to eliminate an overabundance of wax from your ears like letting a warm shower run into your ears. In order to prevent undue buildup, however, the best strategy is to have your ears correctly cleaned by a hearing care specialist.

3. Make Certain The Microphone is Uncovered

Sometimes the most obvious answer is the most practical. How often have you seen someone attempting to take a photo with the lens cap on their camera and watched as they became temporarily perplexed about why the picture didn’t develop? The same idea is applicable here. Anything covering the device can cause it to whistle. If you cover the microphone with your hand or something else, you get the same outcome, like if you bury your ear in someone’s shoulder while giving them a hug. This problem should be easy to correct just by uncovering the hearing aid.

Here’s a bonus tip: A new hearing aid might be the best choice. Manufacturers are routinely developing new hearing aid technology into devices, and we’ve definitely seen modern models relieve some of these causes for concern. Call us if you are interested in checking out new hearing aid technology or if you are having trouble with your current hearing aids whistling.

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