Man holding ear because his hearing aid is whistling.

For many people, acknowledging and coming to grips with the truth of hearing loss is a tough pill to swallow. Because you realized that it was best for your health, you made the decision to go and get fitted for a hearing aid by a hearing specialist. Most likely, you immediately recognized the advantages one receives by wearing a hearing aid, including the ability to hear speech (even amidst the din of background noise), the potential to recover from cognitive decline and the ability to deal with tinnitus.

But occasionally, amongst all those life-changing benefits, you get one loud, piercing and shrieking downside. You get a loud whistling noise from your hearing aids. Feedback is the more familiar term for this whistling. It’s just like what happens to a sound system when you bring a microphone too close, but it’s directly in your ears. Fortunately for you, this is a problem you can correct relatively easily. Stopping your hearing aid from squealing can be accomplished using the following suggestions:

1. Modify The Fit of Your Hearing Aid

The positioning of the hearing aid in your ear or the earmold it’s connected to is likely the most common reason for feedback. If the hearing aid does not fit properly within your ear, sound can escape and reverberate through the hearing aid’s microphone. The outcome of that leakage can be a whistling that’s either sporadic or constant, depending on how much sound has escaped and how poorly the fit actually is. A plastic tube connects some hearing aid designs with an earmold. After a while, the earmold can become unseated from its correct position due to hardening, cracking and shrinking. If you replace the plastic piece, you can correct the whistling which is caused by this movement.

2. Remove Excessive Earwax

It’s ironic to think of something like earwax, which is perceived by many people to be foul or unwelcome, as beneficial to our bodies, but it actually is. This gooey substance acts as a defense against irritants such as dirt and stops them from entering our ears. While your ears will self-regulate how much earwax you hold, through actions like chewing or talking, there are times when a buildup of too much earwax can have negative repercussions. When you insert a hearing aid on top of an excessive amount of earwax, you’re bound to get feedback. This is because the amplified sound has nowhere to go because of the blockage from the wax. The sound circles back into the microphone because it has no clear exit. Doing things including letting warm shower water run into your ears can help eliminate excessive earwax. In order to eliminate undue accumulation, however, the best idea is to have your ears properly cleaned by a hearing care expert.

3. Make Sure The Microphone is Uncovered

Often times the most obvious answer is the most effective. How many times have you seen somebody try to take a photo with the lens cap on their camera and watched as they became momentarily puzzled about why the picture didn’t come out? The same principle applies here. Anything covering the hearing aid can cause them to whistle. If you cover the microphone with your hand or something else, you get the same result, like if you bury your ear in someone’s shoulder while hugging them. This issue should be easy to correct simply by uncovering the hearing aid.

Here’s a bonus tip: Think about getting a new hearing aid. Manufacturers are routinely integrating new hearing aid technology into devices, and we’ve already seen modern models decrease 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.