What’s The Reason For All The Feedback Coming From my Hearing Aids?

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

Are you starting to hear an annoying high pitch noise coming from your hearing aids? Feedback is a very common issue with hearing aids but it’s not something that can’t be fixed. If you want to get quite a bit closer to knowing why you keep getting that high pitch whistling noise, you should try to understand how your hearing aids operate. What can you do about hearing aid feedback?

What Exactly Are The Functions of Your Hearing Aids?

As a basic rule, hearing aids are just a microphone and a speaker. The microphone picks up the sound and the speaker plays it back in your ear. When the microphone picks the sound up but before it gets played back by the speaker, there are some intricate functions that occur.

After the sound is picked up by the microphone it gets transformed into an electrical analog signal for processing. The analog form is then translated into digital by the device’s processor. Once digital, the various features and settings of the device start working to intensify and clarify the sound.

The processor then transforms the signal back to analog and transmits it to a receiver. Now, what was once a sound becomes an analog signal and that’s not something you can hear. The receiver converts it back to sound waves and sends them through your ear canal. Elements in the cochlea translate it back into an electrical signal that the brain can understand.

It all sounds very complicated but it occurs in about a nanosecond. What goes wrong to cause the feedback whistle, though?

Feedback Loops And How They Happen

Hearing aids are not the only place where you notice feedback. Systems that come with microphones normally have some degree of feedback. Essentially, the microphone is collecting sound that is coming from the receiver and re-amplifying it. After going into the microphone and being processed, the receiver then transforms the signal back into a sound wave. A feedback loop is then produced when the microphone picks up the sound again and re-amplifies it. To put it simply, the hearing aid is listening to itself and it doesn’t like it.

Exactly What is The Cause of Hearing Aid Feedback?

A feedback loop might be created by several difficulties. If you turn on your hearing aid while it’s still in your hand before you put it in, you will get a very common cause. Your hearing aid begins processing sound as soon as you press the “on” button. The sound being produced by the receiver bounces off your hand and then back into the microphone causing the feedback. When your hearing aid is snuggly inside of your ear before turning it on, you will have resolved this particular feedback problem.

Occasionally hearing aids won’t fit as well as they should and that can lead to feedback. Loose fitting devices tend to be a problem with older hearing aids or if you’ve lost weight since you last had them fitted. Getting an adjustment from the seller is the only good remedy to this problem.

Earwax And Feedback

When it comes to hearing aids, earwax is not a friend. Earwax buildup on the outer casing of the hearing aid keeps it from fitting right. And we already know that a loose fitting device can cause feedback. Read the manual that you got with your hearing aids or else check with the retailer to determine how to clean earwax off safely.

Perhaps It’s Just Broke

If all else fails you should consider this. Feedback can definitely be caused by a broken hearing aid. For example, the outer casing might be cracked. You should never try to fix this at home. Schedule a session with a hearing aid repair service to have it fixed.

When is Feedback Not Actually Feedback

Hearing aids can make other noises that you may think sound like feedback but are actually something else. A low battery or perhaps other possible problems can cause a warning sound in many devices. The sound should be carefully listened to. Is it actually a screeching noise or does it sound more like a beep? If your device comes with this feature, the manual will tell you.

Feedback doesn’t discriminate by brand or style. Typically, the cause of the feedback is quite clear regardless of what brand you own.

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