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.

Are you beginning to hear an annoying high pitch noise coming out of your hearing aids? The common issue of feedback in your hearing aids can possibly be corrected. That irritating high pitched sound can be better grasped by getting some understanding of how your hearing aids function. But exactly what can you do about it?

What Exactly Are The Functions of Your Hearing Aids?

Hearing aids, basically, are actually just a microphone and a speaker. The microphone picks up the sound and the speaker plays it in your ear. When the microphone picks the sound up but before it is played back by the speaker, there are some complex functions that happen.

The sound is then transformed to an analog signal for processing after being picked up by the microphone. A state of the art digital signal processing chip then turns the analog signal to a digital one. The sound is cleaned up after becoming digital by the device’s features and settings.

The digital signal processor then transforms the signal back to analog and transmits it to a receiver. At this stage, what was once a sound becomes an analog electrical signal and that isn’t something you can hear. The waves of sound, which the receiver changes the signal back into, are then transmitted through your ear canal. Ironically, the brain interprets sound by electrical signals, so elements in the cochlea turn it back to electrical signals for the brain to understand.

This all sounds very complex but it happens in about a nanosecond. Despite all of this state-of-the-art technology, the device still has feedback.

Feedback Loops And How They Happen

Feedback doesn’t exclusively happen inside of hearing aids. You hear that same whistle in the majority of sound systems that employ a microphone. The receiver puts out sound which the microphone then picks up and re-amplifies. After coming into the microphone and getting processed, the receiver then converts the signal back into a sound wave. A feedback loop is then produced 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 scream.

What Causes Hearing Aid Feedback?

There are a number of things that might become a problem which could cause this feedback loop. If you turn your hearing aid on in your hand before you put it in, you will get one of the most common causes. As soon as you press the on switch, your hearing aid begins processing sound. This feedback is produced as the sound coming out of the receiver bounces off your hand and then right back into the microphone. If your hearing aid is snuggly inside of your ear and then you turn it on, you will have eliminated this particular feedback problem.

Feedback can also be caused when your hearing aid isn’t fitting properly. Loose fitting devices have a tendency to be a problem with older hearing aids or if you’ve lost some weight since you last had them fitted. Getting it adjusted by the retailer is the only good solution to this problem.

Feedback And Earwax

Hearing aids certainly have problems with earwax. Earwax accumulation on the outer casing of the hearing aid keeps it from fitting properly. Now, feedback is once again being caused by a poor fit. If you ask your retailer or if you study the manual, you will determine how to safely clean this earwax off.

Perhaps It’s Simply Broke

If all else fails you should take this into consideration. A broken hearing aid will indeed feedback. For example, the outer casing may be cracked. You should not attempt to fix this damage at home. Instead take it in for expert repair.

Occasionally What Sounds Like Feedback is Really Something Else Altogether

You could very well be hearing something that sounds like feedback but it’s really not. There are a few other things that can go wrong with your hearing aids, such as a low battery, which can give you a warning sound. Listen closely to the sound. Is it actually a whistling noise or does it sound more like a beep? Check the users-manual to see if your device has this feature and what other warning sounds you should pay attention to in the future.

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.

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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