The whistling is actually feedback noise from your hearing aid. It tends to happen when you’re too close to a radio or speaker that’s switched on. Feedback noises can also happen while putting a shirt or scarf on.
How do feedback noises occur with hearing aids?
Hearing aid feedback noises occur as a result of sounds that were supposed to travel through your ear canal, but move out of your ear and return to the hearing aid’s microphone. This sound becomes reamplified, which is what leads to the whistling noise.
Feedback noises can happen in many different situations, including the moment when you insert or remove the hearing aids from your ears. It can even happen when someone embraces you. This is common. The hearing aid devices are responding to the sound that ricochets from your environment.
Hearing aid feedback may also occur as a result of a much-needed repair, or a more thorough cleaning from a professional.
5 Cause of Whistling Noises
Today’s hearing aids feature feedback cancellation, but it’s not always helpful. Here are the most common causes of feedback noises and what can be done about them.
1. Poorly fit hearing aids - Everyone’s ears change as they age. The ear’s shape and hearing abilities are prone to change. If they do, the earmolds may loosen and will not have a secure seal. When this happens, the sound moves away from your ear and back to the hearing aids’ microphones. This is when the feedback occurs. A hearing instrument specialist can fix this problem by making new earmolds that are securely fitted in your ear. Weight gain or weight loss can affect the way your ears and how the earmolds fit you.
An improper hearing aid fitting may let the sound leak and re-enter the hearing aids’ microphone. So talk to your hearing instrument specialist, and let them know if your hearing aid feels loose. They will guide you and make sure the devices are properly fitted.
2. Broken tubes - For the behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids, the tube that connects the earmold can become hard and shrink. In some instances, the tubing will tug at the earmold. This warps and changes the fitting. In this case, the tube needs to be replaced.
3. Loud volume - Sometimes you’ll have a hard time hearing in certain environments, so you may crank up the volume on your hearing aids. Increasing the volume to the point where it’s too loud can force the sound to re-enter the hearing aids. This is what causes the whistling noise. Lower the volume on the hearing aids. In the future, try to avoid being around sounds that are so loud that it creates feedback.
4. Producing excessive amounts of earwax - Your hearing aids harness sounds directly into your ear canals. If the ear canal is clogged and impacted with too much earwax, the sounds won’t be able to reach them. This is when the noises bounce back into the hearing aids and whistle.
Excess earwax can obstruct your ear canal. This not only creates issues with your hearing aid devices, but you may experience earaches or even harm your hearing health.
Your ears should be cleaned by a professional. Do not insert anything smaller than your fingers into your ears. Check to make sure the receiver, vents, and tubing aren’t clogged with earwax.
5. Loose microphone - Loud feedback noises can be caused due to loose or microphones that have been displaced. If you experience this problem, ask your hearing instrument specialist for help.
If you still have an issue with feedback noises from your hearing aids, schedule an appointment with a hearing instrument specialist at Pure Sound Hearing.