Man holding ear because his hearing aid is whistling.

For many people, accepting and dealing with the truth of hearing loss is a tough pill to swallow. Nevertheless, you pushed through and went to a hearing expert for a hearing aid fitting session, because you recognized that’s what was best for your health. Most likely, you quickly realized the advantages one receives by wearing a hearing aid, including the ability to hear speech (even among the din of background noise), the possibility of recognizing from mental decline and the ability to deal with tinnitus.

But occasionally, among all those life-changing advantages, you get one loud, piercing and shrieking negative. You get a loud squealing noise from your hearing aids. The whistling you’re hearing is more generally known as feedback. 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, this is a problem you can correct relatively easily. We’ve put together a recap of three tried-and-true ways to stop your hearing aid from squealing.

1. Adjust The Fit of Your Hearing Aid

The positioning of the hearing aid in your ear or the earmold it’s connected to is probably the most predominant reason for feedback. If the hearing aid doesn’t fit correctly within your ear, sound can get out and reverberate through the hearing aid’s microphone. Depending on how poorly the fit is and how much sound has escaped, the outcome of the leakage can be either a continuous or a sporadic squealing. With some hearing aid models, a plastic tube will connect the actual device with the earmold. Over time, the earmold can become unseated from its correct position due to hardening, cracking and shrinking. This movement can cause squealing, but you can fix the issue by replacing the plastic piece.

2. Excessive Earwax Should be Removed

It’s ironic to think of something such as earwax, which is thought of by most people to be foul or unwelcome, as beneficial to our bodies, but it really is. Dirt and other substances are prevented from getting into the ears by this icky substance which acts as a defense. Actions, such as talking or chewing help your ears limit the amount of earwax they generate but there can be a negative effect if too much earwax builds up. Feedback will inevitably happen 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 definite exit. There are a few ways to remove an abundance of wax from your ears such as letting a warm shower run into your ears. In order to avoid undue buildup, however, the best strategy is to have your ears properly cleaned by a hearing care specialist.

3. Uncover the Microphone

Often times the most apparent answer is the most effective. How often have you seen someone try to take a photo with the lens cap on their camera and watched as they became momentarily baffled about why the picture didn’t come out? The same concept is applicable here. Whistling can occur when something is covering the device. If you cover the microphone with your hand or another object, you get the same result, like if you give someone a hug and put your ear into their shoulder. Uncovering the hearing aid should suffice in fixing the problem.

Here’s a bonus tip: Think about purchasing a new hearing aid. Manufacturers are regularly developing new hearing aid technology into devices, and we’ve definitely seen modern models alleviate some of these causes for worry. If you’re having trouble with whistling from your hearing aids, or you’re interested in finding out more about new hearing technology, call us.