What Can You Do With a Squealing Hearing Aid?

What is that screeching?

Many hearing aid users talk about the embarrassment caused when their hearing aid makes a high-pitched screeching noise. In fact we had someone in recently to one of our hearing aid Centres in Dublin with the problem. Professionals call the sound Feedback and manufacturers have dedicated a lot of resources to try and eliminate it. Not only is it embarrassing and annoying, but it also interferes with the benefit that the hearing aids should provide. Modern hearing aids don't suffer with the problem nearly as much as they once did. However, even with the best it can still occur occassionally but there are specific reasons why. First off let's talk about what feedback is. 

Feedback, Unfortunately Not Good Feedback

Feedback is the term used by most professionals to describe that screech. The reason why it is called feedback is because that is exactly what causes the issue. In the same way that putting a microphone close to a speaker causes a screech. A change in the acoustic pathway of amplification will cause the same problem. In essence, when the sound that comes out of the business end of a hearing aid is reprocessed by the microphone of the aid, the aid whistles. 

Many steps are taken to make sure that this doesn't happen by both the manufacturer of the hearing aids and the professional that fits them, however it still happens, thats usually because something has changed since the hearing aid was fitted. Let me explain, the hearing aid is checked at the fitting and it identifies the leaking sound from the ear canal and sets itself to manage it. If more sound leaks out than should be the case, the aid will whistle. If you change the path of the sound by covering your ear with a hand, the aid might whistle. Feedback in modern aids rarely happens unless something has changed. 

Solving the problem

So how do you solve the problem? You need to find the cause solve the issue. Generally the reason hearing aids screech is when something has changed, maybe they aren't fitting as well? Is there a build up of wax in your ear? Both of these things can cause feedback, so let's check them one by one.

Checking The Fit

First check that your hearing aid, ear mold or receiver in the case of a Receiver in Canal device is in properly. RIC devices will feedback if the receiver is not pushed in properly. If you have chacked that they are placed properly and they still feedback. Place your finger on your hearing aid (if it is a custom device) or the ear mold in your ear, push it in a little deeper. If this stops the squealing for a moment then your hearing aid or ear mold may be too loose in your ear. When a hearing aid or mold isn't fitting snugly in your ear, a hearing aid can squeal. If you think the physical fit is the problem you need to see your professional who can have the fit changed.

The Earwax Squeal

If wax builds up in your ear canal it can bounce a lot of the sound out of your ear, this increases the amount of escaping sound and can cause feedback. This isbn't something you can really check yourself, but have a look at your hearing aid or ear mold for ear wax. If there is a lot present it might be an indication that there is a lot in your ear canal. If that is the case you will need to have the earwax removed.

Internal Feedback

If your hearing aid is squealing, but only you can hear it, this is called internal feedback. It is a sign of some sort of problem within the electronics, a hearing aid with internal feedback needs to go back for a repair. 

Schedule a reprogramming appointment with your hearing health care provider. If turning down, cleaning or pushing on your hearing aid doesn't stop the screeching, your hearing aid may need a professional tune-up or professional computer programming. As for the customer in Dublin, they had a build up of earwax that was causing the feedback, once we removed it, the problem went away. 

As always, if you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us. If you would lie a hearing test or you would just like a chat about hearing aids, give us a ring on 1800 848 888 or book an appointment online.