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

Are you starting to hear a high pitch noise coming from your hearing aids? The widespread problem of feedback inside of your hearing aids can possibly be fixed. That irritating high pitched sound can be better understood by learning how your hearing aids work. What can be done about hearing aid feedback?

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. When the microphone picks up the sound but prior to when it gets played back by the speaker, there are some complex functions that occur.

Once a sound wave enters the microphone it is modified to an analog signal to be further processed. A cutting edge digital signal processing chip then changes the analog signal to a digital one. The sound is cleaned up after becoming digital by the device’s features and settings.

The signal is transmitted to a receiver after being changed back to analog by the processor. At this stage, what was once a sound wave becomes an analog electrical signal and that’s not something you can hear. The receiver converts the signal back to sound waves and transmits them 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.

Amazingly all of this complicated functionality happens in a nanosecond. Despite all of this sophisticated technology, the hearing aid still feeds back.

How do Feedback Loops Happen?

Feedback happens in other systems besides hearing aids. You hear that same high pitched noise in the majority of sound systems that employ a microphone. In essence, the microphone is picking up sound that is produced by the receiver and re-amplifying it. After coming into the microphone and being processed, the receiver then turns the signal back into a sound wave. A feedback loop is then created after the microphone picks up the sound again and re-amplifies it. The hearing aid hates hearing itself over and over again and that causes it to screech.

Exactly What is The Cause of Hearing Aid Feedback?

A feedback loop may be caused by several difficulties. A very common cause is turning the hearing aid on in your hand and then putting it into your ear. As soon as you press the on switch, your hearing aid starts to process sound waves. The sound being produced by the receiver bounces off your hand back into the microphone generating the feedback. Before you switch your hearing aid on put it inside of your ear to eliminate this particular source of feedback.

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

Feedback And Earwax

Hearing aids certainly have problems with earwax. Earwax accumulation on the outer casing of the hearing aid keeps it from fitting properly. When that happens, the device becomes loose again and produces feedback. Look in the manual that came with your hearing aids or consult the retailer to learn exactly how to clean earwax off without damaging the device.

Maybe It’s Simply Broke

If all else fails you should take this into consideration. Feedback can absolutely be caused by a broken or damaged hearing aid. For instance, the outer casing may be cracked. It’s unwise to try to fix the unit yourself. Make an appointment with a hearing aid expert to get a repair.

Sometimes What Sounds Like Feedback is Really Something Else Entirely

You could be hearing something that you think sounds like feedback but it’s really not. Some hearing aids employ sound to alert you of imminent problems like a low battery. The sound should be carefully listened to. Is it a tone or a beep, or does it actually sound like feedback? If your device comes with this feature, the manual will tell you.

It doesn’t matter what brand or style you own. Usually, the cause of the feedback is pretty clear regardless of what brand you have.

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