Is that a teapot or is that just your hearing aids? Feedback is a common problem with hearing aids but it’s not something that you can’t have fixed. That aggravating high pitched noise can be better understood by learning how your hearing aids function. What can you do about hearing aid feedback?
What Exactly Are The Functions of Your Hearing Aids?
A simple microphone and a speaker are the basics of a hearing aid. The speaker plays the sound into your ear that the microphone picks up. But there are advanced functions between the time that the microphone picks up the sound and when the speaker plays it back.
Because the sound is going to be further processed, it needs first to be changed into an analog signal. The analog version is then translated into a digital signal by the device’s processor. The sound is cleaned up after it becomes digital by the device’s properties and controls.
The signal is sent to a receiver after being modified back to analog by the processor. It’s not possible to hear these electrical signals that were once a sound. The waves of sound, which the receiver changes the signal back to, are then sent through your ear canal. Elements in the cochlea turn it back into an electrical signal that the brain can understand.
This all sounds quite complicated but it occurs in about a nanosecond. What goes wrong to cause the feedback whistle, though?
How do Feedback Loops Occur?
Feedback doesn’t only happen in hearing aids. If the sound system uses a microphone, it is likely that there is some feedback. In essence, the microphone is picking up sound which is coming from the receiver and re-amplifying it. After entering the microphone and being processed, the receiver then turns the signal back into a sound wave. The microphone then picks up that same sound wave again and amplifies it generating the feedback loop. The system hates hearing itself over and over again and that causes it to screech.
What Causes Hearing Aid Feedback?
A feedback loop might be caused by several difficulties. One of the most common causes is turning the hearing aid on in your hand and then putting it into your ear. Your hearing aid starts to process sound waves right when you press the “on” switch. The sound coming from the receiver bounces off of your hand back into the microphone causing the feedback. Before you decide to switch your hearing aid on put it inside of your ear and you will eliminate this particular source of feedback.
Feedback is sometimes caused when your hearing aid isn’t fitting properly. If you have lost some weight since you had your hearing aids fitted, or 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 one.
Feedback And Earwax
Earwax isn’t a friend of your hearing aids. Earwax buildup on the casing of the hearing aid stops it from fitting properly. And we already learned that a loose fitting device will cause feedback. If you consult your retailer or perhaps if you read the manual, you will learn how to safely clean this earwax off.
Maybe It’s Just Broken
If all else fails you should take this into consideration. A broken hearing aid will indeed cause feedback. For example, the outer casing may be cracked. It’s unwise to try and fix the unit on your own. Schedule a session with a hearing aid repair service to have it fixed.
When is Feedback Not Really Feedback
You might possibly be hearing something that sounds like feedback but it’s actually not. There are a few other things that can go wrong with your hearing aids, like a low battery, which will give you a warning sound. The sound should be carefully listened to. Is it really a screeching noise or does it sound more like a beep? Consult the manual to see if your device has this feature and what other warning sounds you should listen for in the future.
It doesn’t matter what brand or style you own. Typically, the cause of the feedback is pretty clear no matter what brand you have.