What’s The Reason For All The Feedback Coming From my Hearing Aids?

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

Does your hearing aid sound a bit like a teakettle right now? The well-known problem of feedback inside of your hearing aids can most likely be fixed. The annoying high pitched sound can be better grasped by learning how your hearing aids work. So what can you do about it?

How Do Hearing Aids Work?

As a basic rule, hearing aids are just a microphone and a speaker. After a sound is picked up by the microphone, the speaker then plays it back. It’s what happens between the microphone and speaker that gets a little complicated.

Because the sound is going to be further processed, it needs first to be translated into an electrical analog signal. A sophisticated conversion from analog to digital is then done by a signal processing microchip. The sound is cleaned up after becoming digital by the device’s properties and controls.

The processor then changes the signal back to analog and sends it to a receiver. It’s not possible to hear these electrical signals which were once a sound. The sound waves, that the receiver converts the signal back into, are then transmitted through your ear canal. Ironically, the brain interprets sound by electrical signals, so elements in the cochlea translate it back into electrical signals for the brain to understand.

Surprisingly all of this complex functionality happens in a nanosecond. So if your hearing aid is so advanced why does it still feedback?

Feedback Loops And How They Happen

Hearing aids are not the only place that you notice feedback. You hear that same high pitched noise in many sound systems which utilize a microphone. The receiver produces sound which the microphone then picks up and re-amplifies. The sound wave goes into the microphone, goes through the processing and then the receiver turns it back into a sound wave. The microphone starts to pick up that same sound wave again and amplifies it producing the feedback loop. Put simply, the hearing aid is hearing itself and doesn’t like it.

What Causes Hearing Aid Feedback?

There are a number of things that could go wrong to create this feedback loop. A very common cause is turning the hearing aid on in your hand and then putting it in your ear. Your hearing aid starts to process sound waves right when you hit the “on” switch. The sound being produced by the receiver bounces off of your hand back into the microphone producing the feedback. The resolution to this difficulty is pretty simple; wait until after the hearing aid is snuggly in your ear before hitting the switch.

If your hearing aids aren’t fitting as well as they should, this can also lead to feedback. Loose fitting devices tend to be a problem with older hearing aids or if you’ve lost some weight since having them fitted. Getting it adjusted by the seller is the only real answer to this problem.

Earwax And Feedback

Hearing aids certainly have problems with earwax. One of the main explanations for why hearing aids don’t fit properly is because of the accumulation of earwax on the casing. And we are already aware that a loose fitting device can cause feedback. If you get in touch with your retailer or if you study the users-manual, you will determine how to safely clean this earwax off.

Perhaps It’s Only Broke

When you’ve attempted everything else but the feedback continues, this is where you head next. Feedback can certainly be caused by a broken hearing aid. For instance, the outer casing might be cracked. You should never try to fix this damage at home. Schedule a session with a hearing aid repair service to have it fixed.

When is Feedback Not Actually Feedback

There is a possibility that what you are hearing is actually not really feedback to begin with. A low battery or other potential problems can cause a warning sound in many devices. Listen to the sound. Is it a tone or a beep, or does it really sound like feedback? If your device comes with this feature, the owners manual will tell you.

It doesn’t make a difference what brand or style you have. Usually, the cause of the feedback is pretty clear no matter what brand you have.

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