Man holding ear because his hearing aid is whistling.

For many of you, acknowledging and dealing with the truth of hearing loss is difficult to accept. Because you realized that it was best for your health, you made the choice to go and get fitted for a hearing aid by a hearing specialist. Most likely, you quickly recognized the benefits one receives from using a hearing aid, including the ability to treat tinnitus, hear speech (even among the buzz of background noise), and the potential to recover from mental decline.

But sometimes, amongst all those life-changing advantages, you get one loud, piercing and shrieking downside. You get a loud whistling sound from your hearing aids. The whistling you’re hearing is more generally known as feedback. It’s just like what happens to a sound system when you bring a microphone too close, but it’s directly in your ears. This, luckily for you, is an issue that can be corrected fairly easily. We’ve organized a recap of three tried-and-true ways to stop your hearing aid from squealing.

1. Adjust The Fit of Your Hearing Aid

The positioning of the hearing aid in your ear or the earmold it’s connected to is probably the most prevalent reason for feedback. If the hearing aid doesn’t fit correctly within your ear, sound can get out and reverberate through the hearing aid’s microphone. Depending on how poorly the fit is and how much sound has escaped, the consequences of the leakage can be either a continuous or an intermittent squealing. With some hearing aid designs, a plastic tube will connect the actual device with the earmold. Over time, the earmold can become unseated from its proper position due to hardening, cracking and shrinking. If you switch out the plastic piece, you can improve the whistling which is caused by this movement.

2. Remove Excessive Earwax

It’s strange to think of something like earwax, which is perceived by most people to be foul or unwelcome, as beneficial to our bodies, but it really is. This gooey compound acts as a defense against irritants such as dirt and stops them from getting into our ears. While your ears will self-regulate the quantity of earwax you hold, through actions such as Talking and chewing, there are times when a buildup of too much earwax can have negative consequences. Feedback will inevitably happen if you put a hearing aid on top of an excessive amount of earwax. This is because the amplified sound has nowhere to go due to the blockage from the wax. With no clear place to go, the sound comes around and passes through the microphone again. There are a few ways to remove an abundance of wax from your ears like letting a warm shower run into your ears. However, the best idea could be to make an appointment with a hearing specialist about correctly cleaning your ears to prevent excessive accumulation and subsequent whistling.

3. Make Sure The Microphone is Uncovered

Often times the most successful solution is the most obvious. How many times have you seen somebody try to take a photo with the lens cap on their camera and watched as they became momentarily puzzled about why the picture didn’t develop? The same principle applies here. Anything covering the hearing aid can cause them to whistle. You might even get the same outcome by covering the microphone with your hand or another object, like if you bury your ear in someone’s shoulder while hugging them. This problem should be easy to fix just by uncovering the hearing aid.

Here’s a bonus tip: Think about getting a new hearing aid. Manufacturers are routinely integrating new hearing aid technology into devices, and we’ve already seen modern models decrease some of these causes for concern. Call us if you are interested in checking out new hearing aid technology or if you are having trouble with your current hearing aids whistling.