Hearing Services of Nashville

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

Is that a teapot or is that just your hearing aids? The well-known problem of feedback inside of your hearing aids can possibly be fixed. That irritating high pitched sound can be better grasped by learning how your hearing aids function. But exactly what can you do about it?

What Exactly Are The Functions of Your Hearing Aids?

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

Because the sound is going to be further processed, it must first be transformed into an electrical analog signal. The analog version is then converted into a digital signal by the device’s processor. The sound is clarified after it becomes digital by the device’s features and controls.

The signal is sent 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 sound waves, that the receiver converts the signal back into, are then sent through your ear canal. Elements in the cochlea translate it back into an electrical signal that the brain can interpret.

It all sounds quite complicated but it takes place in about a nanosecond. What happens to cause the feedback whistle, though?

Feedback Loops And How They Happen

Hearing aids are not the only place that you find feedback. You hear that same whistle in the majority of sound systems which utilize a microphone. Essentially, the microphone is picking up sound which is coming from the receiver and re-amplifying it. The sound wave enters the microphone, goes through the processing and after that the receiver transforms it into a sound wave. The sound is re-amplified after the microphone picks it up again which creates a loop of feedback. Simply put, the hearing aid is listening to itself and doesn’t like it.

What Causes Hearing Aid Feedback?

There are several things that can become a problem which could cause this feedback loop. A very common cause is turning the hearing aid on in your hand and then putting it into your ear. Your hearing aid begins processing sound as soon as you hit the “on” switch. The sound being produced by the receiver bounces off your hand and then back into the microphone creating the feedback. When your hearing aid is snuggly inside of your ear and then you turn it on, you will have resolved this particular feedback issue.

If your hearing aids aren’t fitting as well as they should, this can also lead to feedback. Maybe you’ve lost some weight since you had your hearing aids fitted, or if your hearing aids a bit older, you may have a loose fit. Getting an adjustment from the seller is the only good solution to this one.

Earwax And Feedback

When it comes to hearing aids, earwax is in no way a friend. Hearing aids won’t always fit well if there is earwax built up on the casing. When that happens, the device is once again loose and causes feedback. Look in the manual that came with your hearing aids or else consult the retailer to find out exactly 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 tried everything else. Feedback can certainly be caused by a broken or damaged hearing aid. As an example, the outer casing might be cracked. It’s unwise to try to fix it on your own. Schedule a session with a hearing aid repair service to get it fixed.

Sometimes What Sounds Like Feedback is Actually Something Else Altogether

There is a chance that what you are hearing is not really feedback to begin with. A low battery or perhaps other potential issues can cause a warning sound in many devices. The sound should be carefully listened to. Is it actually a whistling noise or does it sound more like a beep? Consult the users-manual to see if your device comes with this feature and what other warning sounds you should pay attention to in the future.

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

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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