Center for Hearing - Sarasota, FL

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

Does your hearing aid sound a bit like a teapot these days? Feedback is a very common concern with hearing aids but it’s not something that you can’t have fixed. Knowing exactly how hearing aids work and what is behind that constant high pitched whistling noise will get you one step closer to eliminating it. What can you do about hearing aid feedback?

What Exactly Are The Functions of Your Hearing Aids?

A simple microphone and a speaker are the core of hearing aid technology. The speaker plays back the sound into your ear which the microphone picks up. It’s what happens between the microphone and speaker that gets complicated.

The sound is then changed into an analog signal to be processed after entering the microphone. A cutting edge digital processing microchip then turns the analog signal to digital. The device’s advanced features and settings activate to amplify and clean up the sound.

The processor then transforms the signal back to analog and sends it to a receiver. At this point, what was once a sound becomes an analog signal and that isn’t something you can hear. The receiver converts it back to sound waves and sends them through your ear canal. Ironically, the brain interprets sound by electrical signals, so elements in the cochlea translate it back to electrical signals for the brain to understand.

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

How do Feedback Loops Happen?

Feedback doesn’t exclusively happen inside of hearing aids. If the sound system uses a microphone, it’s likely there is some amount of feedback. Basically, the microphone is picking up sound that is produced by the receiver and re-amplifying it. After coming into the microphone and getting processed, the receiver then converts the signal back into a sound wave. The sound is re-amplified after the microphone picks it up again which creates a loop of feedback. The hearing aid doesn’t like hearing itself over and over again and that causes it to screech.

Exactly What is The Cause of Hearing Aid Feedback?

There are several things that can go wrong to create this feedback loop. If you turn your hearing aid on in your hand before you put it in, you will get a very common cause. Your hearing aid begins processing sound as soon as you hit the “on” button. The feedback is caused as the sound coming out of 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 resolved this particular feedback issue.

If your hearing aids aren’t fitting as well as they should, this can also lead to feedback. If you have lost weight since you had your hearing aids fitted, or if your hearing aids a bit older, you may have a loose fit. If that’s the case, you need to go back to where you got it and have the piece re-adjusted so it will fit your ear properly again.

Feedback And Earwax

Hearing aids absolutely have problems with earwax. Earwax accumulation on the casing of the hearing aid keeps it from fitting right. When that occurs, the device becomes loose again and triggers feedback. If you ask your retailer or if you study the manual, you will learn how to safely clean this earwax off.

Perhaps It’s Just Broke

This is your next thing to start thinking about when you’ve tried everything else. Feedback can certainly be caused by a broken hearing aid. As an example, the outer casing may be cracked. Don’t try and fix it yourself. Take it in for expert repair.

Occasionally What Sounds Like Feedback is Really Something Else Altogether

There is a possibility that what you are hearing is not feedback at all. There are things that can go wrong with your hearing aids, such as a low battery, which will give you a warning sound. The sound should be carefully listened to. Is it a tone or a beep, or does it actually sound like feedback? If your device comes with this feature, the owners manual will tell you.

It doesn’t matter what brand or style you use. Most hearing aids are capable of producing it and the cause is usually pretty clear.

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

Does your hearing aid sound a bit like a teapot these days? Feedback is a very common concern with hearing aids but it’s not something that you can’t have fixed. Knowing exactly how hearing aids work and what is behind that constant high pitched whistling noise will get you one step closer to eliminating it. What can you do about hearing aid feedback?

What Exactly Are The Functions of Your Hearing Aids?

A simple microphone and a speaker are the core of hearing aid technology. The speaker plays back the sound into your ear which the microphone picks up. It’s what happens between the microphone and speaker that gets complicated.

The sound is then changed into an analog signal to be processed after entering the microphone. A cutting edge digital processing microchip then turns the analog signal to digital. The device’s advanced features and settings activate to amplify and clean up the sound.

The processor then transforms the signal back to analog and sends it to a receiver. At this point, what was once a sound becomes an analog signal and that isn’t something you can hear. The receiver converts it back to sound waves and sends them through your ear canal. Ironically, the brain interprets sound by electrical signals, so elements in the cochlea translate it back to electrical signals for the brain to understand.

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

How do Feedback Loops Happen?

Feedback doesn’t exclusively happen inside of hearing aids. If the sound system uses a microphone, it’s likely there is some amount of feedback. Basically, the microphone is picking up sound that is produced by the receiver and re-amplifying it. After coming into the microphone and getting processed, the receiver then converts the signal back into a sound wave. The sound is re-amplified after the microphone picks it up again which creates a loop of feedback. The hearing aid doesn’t like hearing itself over and over again and that causes it to screech.

Exactly What is The Cause of Hearing Aid Feedback?

There are several things that can go wrong to create this feedback loop. If you turn your hearing aid on in your hand before you put it in, you will get a very common cause. Your hearing aid begins processing sound as soon as you hit the “on” button. The feedback is caused as the sound coming out of 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 resolved this particular feedback issue.

If your hearing aids aren’t fitting as well as they should, this can also lead to feedback. If you have lost weight since you had your hearing aids fitted, or if your hearing aids a bit older, you may have a loose fit. If that’s the case, you need to go back to where you got it and have the piece re-adjusted so it will fit your ear properly again.

Feedback And Earwax

Hearing aids absolutely have problems with earwax. Earwax accumulation on the casing of the hearing aid keeps it from fitting right. When that occurs, the device becomes loose again and triggers feedback. If you ask your retailer or if you study the manual, you will learn how to safely clean this earwax off.

Perhaps It’s Just Broke

This is your next thing to start thinking about when you’ve tried everything else. Feedback can certainly be caused by a broken hearing aid. As an example, the outer casing may be cracked. Don’t try and fix it yourself. Take it in for expert repair.

Occasionally What Sounds Like Feedback is Really Something Else Altogether

There is a possibility that what you are hearing is not feedback at all. There are things that can go wrong with your hearing aids, such as a low battery, which will give you a warning sound. The sound should be carefully listened to. Is it a tone or a beep, or does it actually sound like feedback? If your device comes with this feature, the owners manual will tell you.

It doesn’t matter what brand or style you use. Most hearing aids are capable of producing it and the cause is usually pretty clear.

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