Do Hearing Aids Whistle?

Modern hearing aids have come a long way since the days of your grandparents. Hearing aids are no longer big and bulky but discreet and customized. Today’s hearing aids offer better sound, more control and come in many styles to match your lifestyle. The issue of feedback has also greatly improved.

In the past, feedback was a common complaint of hearing aid users. Acoustic feedback takes the form of a whistling or screeching sound. This whistling sound occurs when the amplified sound from the receiver re-enters the hearing aid microphone and is amplified once again. Modern hearing aid technology is much more sophisticated and hearing aids now have internal systems in place to reduce and prevent feedback. That is great news for all of us!

There are still times when today’s hearing aids may experience feedback, but mostly due to external or maintenance factors. The most common example is when the ear canal is blocked. This blockage is usually due to ear wax. Ear wax can block the direct path to the eardrum and even bounce the sound back through the hearing aid microphone causing feedback. If you are experiencing feedback, first get your ear checked for wax. Another common cause of feedback is when the earpiece is loose or does not fit well. If you think this is the case, contact your hearing care professional to have the fit reviewed. On occasion, a hearing aid user may even hear a bubbling or crackling noise which can be due to water or ear wax getting into the tube. Learning how to properly care for your hearing aids can prevent this from occurring as well.

Feedback can still happen, but for the most part modern hearing aid technology has reduced its frequency. Your hearing care professional is available to help you if you experience any issues with fit or with ear blockage. He or she can also teach you how to care for and clean your hearing aids to ensure peak performance.