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 issue of feedback inside of your hearing aids can possibly be corrected. That irritating high pitched noise can be better comprehended by learning 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 simply a microphone and a speaker. The speaker plays back the sound in your ear which the microphone picks up. It’s what happens between the microphone and speaker that gets complicated.

The sound is then translated to an analog electrical signal to be processed after entering the microphone. A cutting edge digital signal processing chip then changes the analog signal to a digital one. The sound is clarified after it becomes digital by the device’s properties and controls.

The signal is transmitted to a receiver after being modified back to analog by the digital signal processor. Now, what was once a sound becomes an analog signal and that isn’t something your ears can hear. The waves of sound, that the receiver changes the signal back to, are then transmitted through your ear canal. Ironically, the brain interprets sound by electrical signals, so elements in the cochlea turn it back into electrical signals for the brain to understand.

It’s hard to believe but all of this takes place in around a nanosecond. So if your hearing aid is so advanced why does it feedback?

Feedback Loops And How They Happen

Feedback happens in other systems besides hearing aids. You hear that same whistle in the majority of sound systems which utilize a microphone. Essentially, the microphone is picking up sound which is produced by the receiver and re-amplifying it. The sound wave goes into the microphone, then goes through the signal processing and then the receiver turns it back into a sound wave. A feedback loop is then created after the microphone picks up the sound again and re-amplifies it. The system hates hearing itself over and over again and that causes it to screech.

What Causes Hearing Aid Feedback?

There are quite a few things that might go wrong to create this feedback loop. If you turn on your hearing aid while it’s still in your hand prior to putting it in, you will get a very common cause. As soon as you press the on switch, your hearing aid begins processing sound waves. The feedback is caused when the sound coming from the receiver bounces off of your hand and right back into the microphone. If your hearing aid is snuggly inside your ear and then you turn it on, you will have solved this particular feedback hassle.

Sometimes hearing aids don’t fit as well as they should and that can lead to feedback problems. If you have lost some weight since you had your hearing aids fitted, or possibly if your hearing aids are older, you might have a loose fit. In that case, you need to head back to where you got it and have the piece adjusted so it will fit your ear properly again.

Earwax And Feedback

Earwax isn’t a friend when it comes to hearing aids. Earwax accumulation on the casing of the hearing aid stops it from fitting right. And we already know that a loose fitting device will be the cause of feedback. If you get in touch with your retailer or perhaps if you read the users-manual, you will find out how to safely clean this earwax off.

Perhaps It’s Only Broke

If everything else doesn’t work you need to consider this. A damaged hearing aid will definitely cause feedback. For instance, the outer casing may be cracked. It’s unwise to try and fix it yourself. Schedule a session with a hearing aid repair service to get it fixed.

When is Feedback Not Really Feedback

Hearing aids can make other noises that you may think sound like feedback but are really something else. Many hearing aids use sound to alert you of imminent problems like a low battery. The sound should be carefully listened to. Is it actually a screeching noise or does it sound more like a beep? If your device includes this feature, the manual will tell you.

It doesn’t make a difference what brand or style you own. Most hearing aids are capable of producing it and the cause is typically very clear.

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