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Man holding ear because his hearing aid is whistling.

It’s a tough pill to swallow, for many, dealing with and admitting the truth of hearing loss. Nonetheless, you soldiered through and went to a hearing specialist for a hearing aid fitting appointment, because you knew that’s what is best for your health. Most likely, you quickly recognized the benefits one gets by using a hearing aid, including the ability to hear speech (even amidst the buzz of background noise), the potential to recover from mental decline and the ability to treat tinnitus.

But on occasion you get a loud, piercing, shrieking negative among all the life changing advantages. You get a loud whistling sound 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 for you, this is a problem you can fix relatively easily. We’ve organized a recap of three tried-and-true ways to stop your hearing aid from squealing.

1. Modify The Fit of Your Hearing Aid

Possibly the most predominant reason for feedback or whistling in the ear involves the placement of your hearing aid in your ear or the earmold connected to it. If the hearing aid doesn’t fit properly within your ear, sound can escape and reverberate through the hearing aid’s microphone. Depending on how poorly the fit is and how much sound has escaped, the consequences of the leakage can be either a constant or an intermittent whistling. With some hearing aid designs, a plastic tube will connect the actual device with the earmold. Over time, the earmold can become unseated from its proper position due to shrinking, cracking and hardening. This movement can cause whistling, but you can correct the problem by replacing the plastic piece.

2. Excessive Earwax Should be Removed

It’s strange to think of something like earwax, which is thought of by many people to be foul or unwelcome, as beneficial to our bodies, but it really is. This gooey compound acts as a defense against irritants such as dirt and stops them from entering our ears. Actions, like talking or chewing help your ears regulate the amount of earwax they generate but there can be an adverse effect if too much earwax accumulates. When you place a hearing aid on top of an excessive amount of earwax, you’re bound to receive feedback. Because of the blockage from earwax, the amplified sound can’t go anywhere and this is the reason for the feedback. With no clear place to go, the sound comes around and goes through the microphone once more. Doing things such as letting warm shower water run into your ears can help remove excessive earwax. In order to prevent undue buildup, however, the best strategy is to have your ears properly cleaned by a hearing care expert.

3. Make Certain The Microphone is Uncovered

Often times the most successful solution is the most obvious. Have you ever seen someone attempting to take a picture which didn’t come out, only to find that the lens cap was still on? The same principle is applicable here. Whistling can happen when something is covering the device. If you cover the microphone with your hand or something else, you get the same result, like if you give someone a hug and bury your ear into their shoulder. This issue should be easy to correct just by uncovering the hearing aid.

Here’s a bonus tip: Consider getting a new hearing aid. Manufacturers are routinely developing new hearing aid technology into devices, and we’ve definitely seen modern models decrease some of these causes for worry. Give us a call if you are interested in checking out new hearing aid technology or if you are having trouble with your current hearing aids whistling.