Man holding ear because his hearing aid is whistling.

It’s difficult to accept, for many, dealing with and acknowledging the reality of hearing loss. Because you realized that it was best for your health, you made the decision to go and get fitted for a hearing aid by a hearing specialist. Most likely, you immediately recognized the benefits one receives from wearing a hearing aid, including the ability to deal with tinnitus, hear speech (even amidst the buzz of background noise), and the potential to recover from cognitive decline.

But sometimes you get a loud, piercing, shrieking negative amongst all the life changing positives. You get a loud squealing noise from your hearing aids. The squealing you’re hearing is more typically known as feedback. It’s just like what happens to a sound system when you bring a microphone too close, but it’s directly in your ears. This, luckily for you, is a problem that can be corrected fairly easily. We’ve put together a recap of three tried-and-true ways to stop your hearing aid from whistling.

1. The Way Your Hearing Aid Fits Can be Adjusted

Probably the most prevalent reason for feedback or whistling in the ear involves the positioning of your hearing aid in your ear or the earmold it’s connected to. If the hearing aid doesn’t fit correctly within your ear, sound can get out and reverberate through the hearing aid’s microphone. The result of that leakage can be a whistling that’s either intermittent or constant, depending on how much sound has escaped and how poorly the fit really is. With some hearing aid designs, a plastic tube will connect the actual device with the earmold. As time passes, this piece can harden, shrink or crack, which unseats the earmold from its best position. If you replace the plastic piece, you can correct the whistling which is caused by this movement.

2. Excessive Earwax Should be Removed

Earwax is actually good for our bodies, even though, ironically, we usually think of it as unwelcome or even nasty. Dirt and other substances are stopped from getting into the ears by this icky substance which acts as a defense. While your ears will self-regulate the quantity of earwax you hold, through actions like chewing or talking, there are times when an accumulation of too much earwax can have negative repercussions. Feedback will inevitably occur if you insert a hearing aid on top of an excessive amount of earwax. Because of the blockage from earwax, the amplified sound has nowhere to go and this is the reason for the feedback. With no clear place to go, the sound circles and goes through the microphone again. Doing things like letting warm shower water run into your ears can help remove excessive earwax. However, the best idea could be to make an appointment with a hearing specialist about properly cleaning your ears to avoid undue accumulation and subsequent whistling.

3. Make Sure The Microphone is Uncovered

Often times the most reliable solution is the most evident. How often have you seen someone try to take a photo with the lens cap on their camera and watched as they became temporarily perplexed about why the picture didn’t come out? With hearing aids the same thing can occur. Whistling can happen when something is covering the device. You may even get the same outcome by covering the microphone with your hand or another object, like if you give someone a hug and put your ear into their shoulder. Uncovering the hearing aid should be enough to fix the problem.

Here’s a bonus tip: A new hearing aid might be the best solution. Some causes for concern are being alleviated by modern hearing aid models and manufacturers are integrating new technology all of the time. Give us a call if you are interested in learning about new hearing aid technology or if you are having a problem with your current hearing aids whistling.