You finally did it. You decided to do something about your hearing loss and have been fit with hearing aids. You are looking forward to hearing what you’ve been missing when suddenly…the dreaded squeal of feedback.
Are your hearing aids broken? Will this be an ongoing issue? You’ve heard it happens…should you just deal with it? The answer to all of those questions is no.
Hearing aid feedback is simply sound that escapes from the ear canal and travels back to the hearing aid microphone. Usually presented as a high-pitched squealing or whistling sound; when feedback enters the equation, it can cause frustration and even headaches. Thankfully, feedback doesn’t need to be a recurrent problem.
The following are a few simple solutions to some of the most common causes of hearing aid feedback.
- Feedback cancellation technology- Some hearing aids come equipped with specific programming options that will help eliminate feedback in various situations. If yours are, this should be a simple adjustment in settings. If you are unsure, make a quick call to your audiologist.
- Clean hearing aids/wax traps- One ongoing at-home solution is to simply make sure you keep your hearing aids clean and free of wax accumulation. “Wax traps” are tiny filters that keep wax from damaging the inner mechanism of your hearing aids and can be changed at home to ensure minimal feedback.
- Have your ears cleaned- Hearing aids can cause ear wax to accumulate over time and if feedback is becoming an issue, it is always a good idea to have your audiologist check to make sure your ear canals are free of wax. Wax can accumulate and form a temporary wall in the ear canal. When this happens, the hearing aid sound has nowhere else to travel except back out through the ear canal and into the hearing aid microphones causing feedback. Clean ear canals always make for a better hearing experience.
- Check your tube length- Certain hearing aid users may be able to have their audiologist adjust the tubing that runs from their earmold to the behind-the-ear portion of the hearing aid. If a tube is too short or too long it can cause the earmold to rest incorrectly in the ear canal which can lead to feedback.
- Adjust the volume- Some sound must be able to leave the ear canal in order to prevent feedback. Sometimes the answer is as simple as turning the volume on your hearing aids down a bit.
- Proper positioning- Even if your hearing aids have been fit correctly, it is always worth checking to see if adjusting their position can help tame your feedback. On some occasions, you may need to work with your audiologist to try out a different hearing aid piece on the end of your hearing aid. Switching the size or style of the bell-shaped silicone piece that goes into the ear (often referred to as a dome) or even getting a custom molded piece to go in the ear can help reduce or eliminate feedback.
Find your solution and get ready to be free from the excess noise of feedback. If you’ve exhausted some of these options on your own and are still experiencing feedback, contact your audiologist for additional assistance.