Inside of my Hearing Aids I Can Hear The Sound of Feedback, Why is This?

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

Does your hearing aid sound a bit like a teakettle these days? The common problem of feedback inside of your hearing aids can most likely be corrected. If you would like to get quite a bit closer to knowing why you keep hearing that high pitch whistling noise, you need to learn how your hearing aids work. So what can you do about it?

How Do Hearing Aids Work?

Hearing aids, at their core, are really simply a microphone and a speaker. The speaker plays back the sound in your ear which the microphone picks up. But there are complex functions between the time that the microphone picks up the sound and when the speaker plays it back.

Because the sound is going to be further processed, it must first be translated into an analog signal. A sophisticated transformation from analog to digital is then done by a signal processing chip. The device’s sophisticated features and controls activate to amplify and clarify the sound.

The signal is transmitted to a receiver after being modified back to analog by the processor. At this stage, what was once a sound wave becomes an analog electrical signal and that isn’t something your ears can hear. The receiver converts it back to sound waves and transmits them through your ear canal. Ironically, the brain interprets sound by electrical signals, so elements in the cochlea translate it back into electrical signals for the brain to understand.

It’s hard to comprehend but all of this takes place in around a nanosecond. What goes wrong to cause the feedback whistle, though?

How do Feedback Loops Occur?

Feedback doesn’t only happen in hearing aids. If there is a microphone, most likely there is some feedback. In essence, the microphone is collecting sound which is coming from the receiver and re-amplifying it. The sound wave enters the microphone, goes through the signal processing and then the receiver transforms it into a sound wave. A feedback loop is then produced after the microphone picks up the sound again and re-amplifies it. Simply put, the hearing aid is listening to itself and it doesn’t like it.

What Causes Hearing Aid Feedback?

A feedback loop can be brought about by several issues. If you turn your hearing aid on in your hand prior to putting it in, you will get a very common cause. Your hearing aid starts to process sound waves as soon as you hit the “on” switch. The feedback is produced when the sound coming from the receiver bounces off of your hand and then right back into the microphone. The resolution to this concern is very simple; wait until the device is snuggly in your ear before pushing the switch.

If your hearing aids aren’t fitting as well as they should, this can also result in feedback. Loose fitting devices tend to be a problem with older hearing aids or if you’ve lost some weight since having them fitted. In that case, you need to head back to the retailer and have the piece re-adjusted so it will fit your ear properly again.

Feedback And Earwax

With regards to hearing aids, earwax is not a friend. One of the main explanations for why hearing aids don’t fit right is because of the accumulation of earwax on the casing. And we already know that a loose fitting device will cause feedback. If you get in touch with your retailer or maybe 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 think about when you’ve attempted everything else. A broken hearing aid will definitely cause feedback. The casing could have a crack in it somewhere, for example. You should never try to fix this at home. Schedule a session with a hearing aid repair service to get it fixed.

When is Feedback Not Actually Feedback

Hearing aids can make other noises that sound like feedback but are in fact something else. 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? Check your manual to see if your device includes this feature and what other warnings you should pay attention to in the future.

Feedback doesn’t discriminate by brand or style. Typically, the cause of the feedback is quite clear no matter what brand you have.

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