Woman suffering from feedback in her hearing aids covering her ears.

Does your hearing aid sound a bit like a teapot right now? The widespread issue of feedback inside of your hearing aids can most likely be fixed. If you would like to get one step closer to understanding why you keep hearing that high pitch whistling noise, you need to understand how your hearing aids work. What can be done about hearing aid feedback?

How Do Hearing Aids Work?

A simple microphone and a speaker are the basics of a hearing aid. The speaker plays back the sound in your ear which the microphone picks up. When the microphone picks the sound up but prior to when it gets played back by the speaker, there are some intricate functions that occur.

Once a sound wave is picked up by the microphone it is translated to an analog signal for processing. A high-tech digital signal processing chip then turns the analog signal to a digital one. The sound is cleaned up after becoming digital by the device’s features and controls.

The signal is transmitted to a receiver after being changed back to analog by the processor. At this stage, what was once a sound becomes an analog signal and that isn’t something you can hear. The sound waves, which the receiver converts the signal back into, are then sent through your ears. Ironically, the brain interprets sound by electrical signals, so elements in the cochlea translate it back to electrical signals for the brain to understand.

It’s hard to believe but all of this happens in a nanosecond. What goes wrong to cause the feedback whistle, though?

How do Feedback Loops Occur?

Feedback doesn’t exclusively happen in hearing aids. If the sound system uses a microphone, it is likely that there is some amount of feedback. Basically, the microphone is collecting sound that is produced by the receiver and re-amplifying it. After coming into the microphone and getting processed, the receiver then converts the signal back into a sound wave. A feedback loop is then created after the microphone picks up the sound again and re-amplifies it. Put simply, the hearing aid is listening to itself and doesn’t like it.

Exactly What is The Cause of Hearing Aid Feedback?

A feedback loop can be caused by several difficulties. One of the most common causes is turning the hearing aid on while it’s still in your hand and then putting it into your ear. Your hearing aid starts to process sound waves right when you hit the “on” button. The sound coming from the receiver bounces off of your hand and then back into the microphone triggering the feedback. The resolution to this difficulty is very simple; you should wait until the device is inside your ear before pushing the button.

If your hearing aids aren’t fitting as well as they should, this can also lead to feedback. If you have lost weight since you last had your hearing aids fitted, or if your hearing aids a bit older, you may have a loose fit. In that case, you need to go back to where you got it and have the piece re-adjusted so it will fit your ear properly again.

Feedback And Earwax

When it comes to hearing aids, earwax is in no way a friend. One of the main explanations for why hearing aids don’t fit properly is because of the buildup of earwax on the casing. Now, feedback is once again being caused by a loose fit. If you ask your retailer or perhaps if you study the manual, you will determine how to safely clean this earwax off.

Perhaps It’s Simply Broken

This is your next thing to consider when you’ve attempted everything else. A damaged hearing aid will definitely feedback. For example, the outer casing might be cracked. You should not attempt to fix this at home. Schedule a session with a hearing aid repair service to get it fixed.

When is Feedback Not Really Feedback

There is a possibility that what you are hearing is actually not really feedback at all. Many hearing aids employ sound to warn you of impending issues like a low battery. The sound should be carefully listened to. Is it a tone or a beep, or does it really sound like feedback? If your device includes this feature, the manual will tell you.

Feedback doesn’t discriminate by brand or style. Usually, the cause of the feedback is pretty clear no matter what brand you have.

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