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

Is that a teakettle or is it just your hearing aids? The common issue of feedback inside of your hearing aids can possibly be corrected. If you would like to come quite a bit closer to understanding why you keep hearing that high pitch whistling noise, you need to understand how your hearing aids work. So what can you do about it?

What Exactly Are The Functions of Your Hearing Aids?

At their core, hearing aids are just a microphone and a speaker. When a sound is picked up by the microphone, the speaker then plays it back in your ears. But there are advanced functions in between the time that the microphone picks up the sound and when the speaker plays it back.

The sound is changed to an analog signal for processing after being picked up by the microphone. A cutting edge digital signal processing chip then changes the analog signal to a digital one. Once the signal is converted to digital, the numerous features and settings of the device start working to intensify and clean up the sound.

The signal is transmitted to a receiver after being modified back to analog by the digital signal processor. You’re ears don’t hear these electrical signals which were once a sound. The receiver converts the signal back to sound waves and sends them through your ear canal. Elements in the cochlea convert it back into an electrical signal that the brain can understand.

Incredibly all of this complex functionality takes place in a nanosecond. Despite all of this advanced technology, the hearing aid still has feedback.

How do Feedback Loops Occur?

Hearing aids are not the only place where you hear feedback. If there is a microphone, it is likely that there is some feedback. In essence, the microphone is picking up sound that is produced by the receiver and re-amplifying it. The sound wave goes into the microphone, goes through the processing and after that the receiver turns it back into a sound wave. The microphone then picks up that same sound wave again and amplifies it creating the feedback loop. The hearing aid hates hearing itself over and over again and that makes it screech.

Exactly What is The Cause of Hearing Aid Feedback?

There are a number of things that can become a problem which could cause this feedback loop. 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 begins processing sound as soon as you press the “on” button. The sound being produced by the receiver bounces off your hand back into the microphone generating the feedback. The resolution to this difficulty is quite simple; wait until the hearing aid is snuggly in your ear before pushing the button.

Feedback can also be caused when your hearing aid isn’t fitting properly. Loose fittings tend to be a problem with older hearing aids or if you’ve lost some weight since having them fitted. Getting an adjustment from the retailer is the only real solution to this one.

Feedback And Earwax

With regards to hearing aids, earwax is in no way a friend. Earwax buildup on the outer casing of the hearing aid stops it from fitting right. When that occurs, the device becomes loose again and produces feedback. Read the manual that came with your hearing aids or ask the retailer to find out how to clean earwax off without damaging the device.

Maybe It’s Just Broken

This is your next thing to think about when you’ve attempted everything else. Feedback can definitely be caused by a broken hearing aid. For instance, the outer casing may be cracked. It’s unwise to try to fix it on your own. Instead, take it in for professional repair.

Occasionally What Sounds Like Feedback is Actually Something Else Entirely

You could very well be hearing something that sounds like feedback but it’s actually not. A low battery or perhaps other possible issues will cause a warning sound in many devices. The sound should be carefully listened to. Is it a tone or a beep, or does it really sound like feedback? Consult the manual to find out if your device comes with this feature and what other warning sounds you should pay attention to in the future.

It doesn’t make a difference what brand or style you use. Typically, the cause of the feedback is pretty clear no matter what brand you own.