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Why does my hearing aid whistle?

Hearing aids can greatly improve the quality of life for people with hearing loss. For those who struggle to follow conversations, can’t hear the TV at the same volume as others in the household, or avoid going out because it is too hard to socialize, hearing aids can be a life-saver. However, when hearing aid wearers experience high-pitched whistling from their devices, they may begin to doubt the benefits.

Whistling Is Caused by Feedback

Like any electronic device with a speaker and a microphone, hearing aids are prone to feedback. Feedback happens when the sound that travels through the microphone to the speaker is picked up by the microphone and re-amplified. This re-amplification manifests in hearing aids as a squeal or whistling sound. Hearing aids are designed to avoid this feedback loop, but the following problems can cause feedback:

  • Improper fitting. To channel the sound correctly from the receiver to the amplifier, the hearing aid’s ear piece must be fitted correctly to the wearer. If there is too much space around the ear mold, feedback—and therefore whistling—can occur. Even if a hearing aid is fitted correctly initially, various factors can change the fit, including weight gain or weight loss. If you notice an increase in the frequency of unwanted squeals, visit our office to check the fit.
  • Ear wax. A build-up of wax in the ear canal can also change the fit of a hearing aid ear mold and lead to feedback. Removing wax from the ear canal should be done by a professional. Do not attempt to clear the wax out yourself.
  • Full volume. If you are wearing your hearing aids on full volume, that could be the cause of the feedback. Turn the volume down to stop the whistling in the short term and schedule an appointment with one of our audiologists to discuss a new hearing aid.
  • Damaged tubes. If the tube connecting the hearing aid to the ear mold is cracked or hardened, this can lead to unwanted noises. Replacing the tubes can fix the problem.
  • Temporary loosening. Chewing, talking, putting on a hat, brushing your hair, and even receiving a hug can cause your hearing aid to loosen in the ear canal and squeal.
  • Damaged hearing aid. If none of these issues seem to be the cause of the whistling in your hearing aid, the device itself may be damaged. Schedule an appointment with us for an evaluation.

We Are a Full-Service Hearing Healthcare Center

If you are struggling with your hearing aids in any way, we are here to help. We offer routine hearing aid checks, re-fittings, help with self-care, and anything else you need to be satisfied with your hearing. Call us at (866) 330-3991 to schedule an appointment for any reason.