Hearcare  INC., & Associates - Sherman & Gainesville, TX

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

Are you starting to hear a high pitch noise coming out of your hearing aids? The common issue of feedback inside of your hearing aids can most likely be corrected. Knowing exactly how hearing aids operate and what might be the reason for that incessant whistling will get you a little closer to getting rid of it. So what can you do about it?

How Do Hearing Aids Work?

At their core, hearing aids are just a microphone and a speaker. After a sound is picked up by the microphone, the speaker then plays it back in your ears. When the microphone picks up the sound but prior to when it is played back by the speaker, there are some sophisticated functions that occur.

The sound is translated into an analog signal for processing after being picked up by the microphone. A high-tech digital processing chip then changes the analog signal to a digital one. The sound is clarified after becoming digital by the device’s functions and controls.

The signal is transmitted to a receiver after being modified back to analog by the processor. At this point, what was once a sound wave becomes an analog signal and that’s not something your ears can hear. The receiver converts the signal back to sound waves and sends them through your ears. Ironically, the brain interprets sound by electrical signals, so elements in the cochlea turn it back to electrical signals for the brain to understand.

Incredibly all of this complex functionality takes place in a nanosecond. So if your hearing aid is so advanced why does it still feedback?

How do Feedback Loops Occur?

Hearing aids are not the only place where you hear feedback. You hear that same whistle in the majority of sound systems that utilize a microphone. The receiver generates sound which the microphone then picks up and re-amplifies. The sound wave enters the microphone, goes through the processing and after that the receiver transforms it into a sound wave. A feedback loop is then created when the microphone picks up the sound again and re-amplifies it. Put 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 can be caused 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. As soon as you press the on button, your hearing aid begins processing sound. This feedback is caused as the sound coming out of the receiver bounces off of your hand and right back into the microphone. The answer to this issue is quite simple; you should wait until after the device is inside your ear before hitting the button.

Feedback is sometimes caused when your hearing aid doesn’t fit as well as it should. If you have lost weight since you last had your hearing aids fitted, or possibly if your hearing aids are 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 to fit your ear properly again.

Earwax And Feedback

Earwax isn’t a friend of your hearing aids. One of the major explanations for why hearing aids don’t fit properly is because of the accumulation of earwax on the casing. When that occurs, the device becomes loose again and triggers feedback. If you consult your retailer or perhaps if you read the users-manual, you will determine how to safely clean this earwax off.

Perhaps It’s Just Broke

This is your next thing to consider when you’ve attempted everything else. Feedback can definitely be caused by a broken hearing aid. For example, the outer casing might be cracked. It’s unwise to try to fix the unit yourself. Make an appointment with a hearing aid expert to get a repair.

When is Feedback Not Actually Feedback

You could be hearing something that you think sounds like feedback but it’s actually not. There are a few other things that can go wrong with your hearing aids, such as a low battery, which will give you a warning sound. 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 owners manual will tell you.

It doesn’t matter what brand or style you have. Typically, the cause of the feedback is very clear no matter what brand you have.

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