Tinnitus and Hearing Health Calgary, Calgary AL

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

Are you starting to hear an annoying high pitch noise coming out of your hearing aids? Feedback is a common issue with hearing aids but it’s not something that can’t be fixed. The irritating high pitched sound can be better grasped by learning how your hearing aids work. So what can you do about it?

How Do Hearing Aids Work?

A simple microphone and a speaker are the basics of hearing aid technology. When a sound is picked up by the microphone, the speaker then plays it back in your ears. When the microphone picks the sound up but prior to when it is played back by the speaker, there are some complex functions that happen.

Because the sound is going to be further processed, it must first be changed into an analog signal. A state of the art digital signal processing microchip then converts the analog signal to digital. The device’s sophisticated properties and settings activate to amplify and clarify the sound.

The processor then transforms the signal back to analog and sends it to a receiver. At this point, what was once a sound becomes an analog electrical signal and that isn’t something you can hear. The receiver converts the signal back into sound waves and transmits them through your ears. Elements in the cochlea translate it back into an electrical signal that the brain can interpret.

It’s hard to believe but all of this takes place in around a nanosecond. In spite of all of this state-of-the-art technology, the hearing aid still has feedback.

Feedback Loops And How They Happen

Feedback doesn’t exclusively happen inside hearing aids. You hear that same whistle in many sound systems which utilize a microphone. The receiver generates sound which the microphone then picks up and re-amplifies. After entering the microphone and getting processed, the receiver then converts the signal back into a sound wave. The sound is then re-amplified after the microphone picks it up again which creates a loop of feedback. The hearing aid hates hearing itself over and over again and that causes it to scream.

Exactly What is The Cause of Hearing Aid Feedback?

There are a number of things that can become a problem which could cause this feedback loop. If you turn your hearing aid on in your hand prior to putting it in, you will get one of the most common causes. Your hearing aid begins processing sound right when you press the “on” button. This feedback is produced when the sound coming out of the receiver bounces off of your hand and right back into the microphone. The resolution to this problem is pretty simple; you should wait until after the device is snuggly in your ear before hitting the button.

Occasionally hearing aids don’t fit as well as they ought to and that leads to feedback problems. Maybe you’ve lost some weight since you last had your hearing aids fitted, or if your hearing aids a bit older, you may have a loose fit. In that case, you should head back to the retailer and have the piece adjusted so it will fit your ear properly again.

Earwax And Feedback

Hearing aids definitely have issues with earwax. Hearing aids usually won’t fit right if there is earwax built up on the casing. Now, feedback is once again being caused by a poor fit. If you get in touch with your retailer or maybe if you study the users-manual, you will learn how to safely clean this earwax off.

Perhaps It’s Just Broke

When you’ve attempted everything else but the feedback continues, this is what you do next. Feedback can definitely be caused by a broken hearing aid. For instance, the outer casing may be cracked. You should not attempt to fix this at home. Make an appointment with a hearing aid expert to get a repair.

When is Feedback Not Actually Feedback

There is a chance that what you are hearing is not really feedback to begin with. Some hearing aids use sound to warn 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 really sound like feedback? Consult the manual to find out if your device includes this feature and what other warnings you should listen for in the future.

Feedback doesn’t discriminate by brand or style. Typically, the cause of the feedback is pretty clear no matter what brand you own.

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