Soundscape Hearing Aids - Medford, OR

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

Are you beginning to hear an annoying high pitch noise coming from your hearing aids? A very common problem with hearing aids which can probably be fixed is feedback. That irritating high pitched sound can be better grasped by getting some understanding of how your hearing aids operate. So what can you do about it?

How Do Hearing Aids Work?

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

Because the sound is going to be further processed, it must first be converted into an analog signal. The analog rendition is then converted into digital by the device’s digital signal processor. The device’s advanced properties and settings activate to amplify and clarify the sound.

The signal is sent to a receiver after being modified back to analog by the digital signal processor. Now, what was once a sound wave becomes an analog signal and that’s not something you can hear. The sound waves, that the receiver converts the signal back to, are then sent through your ear canal. Elements in the cochlea translate it back into an electrical signal that the brain can understand.

This all sounds quite complex but it occurs in a nanosecond. Despite all of this advanced technology, the device still feeds back.

How do Feedback Loops Occur?

Feedback doesn’t just happen inside of hearing aids. Sound systems with microphones generally have some degree of feedback. The receiver produces sound which the microphone then picks up and re-amplifies. The sound wave goes into the microphone, then goes through the signal processing and then the receiver transforms it into a sound wave. The sound is re-amplified after the microphone picks it up again which produces a loop of feedback. Put simply, the hearing aid is listening to itself and it doesn’t like it.

Exactly What is The Cause of Hearing Aid Feedback?

A feedback loop can be caused by several issues. If you turn on your hearing aid while it’s still in your hand before you put it in, you will get a very common cause. Your hearing aid begins processing sound waves right when you press the “on” button. The feedback is triggered when 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 of your ear and then you turn it on, you will have eliminated this particular feedback issue.

Feedback can also be caused when your hearing aid isn’t fitting properly. If you have lost some weight since you last had your hearing aids fitted, or possibly if your hearing aids a bit older, you may have a loose fit. Getting an adjustment from the retailer is the only real solution to this problem.

Feedback And Earwax

Hearing aids absolutely have problems with earwax. One of the main reasons that hearing aids don’t fit properly is because of the accumulation of earwax on the casing. When that happens, the device is once again loose and causes feedback. If you ask your retailer or if you read the manual, you will learn how to safely clean this earwax off.

Maybe 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 damaged hearing aid. For example, the outer casing might be cracked. You should not try to fix this at home. Take it in for professional repair.

When is Feedback Not Actually Feedback

You might be hearing something that sounds like feedback but it’s really not. Some hearing aids employ sound to alert you of impending problems such as a low battery. Pay attention to the sound. Is it actually a whistling noise or does it sound more like a beep? Consult your users-manual to see if your device comes with this feature and what other warnings you should listen for in the future.

It doesn’t matter what brand or style you own. Many brands of hearing aids are going to produce it and the cause is typically quite clear.

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