Does your hearing aid sound a little like a teakettle these days? The well-known problem of feedback in your hearing aids can most likely be corrected. That aggravating high pitched noise can be better grasped by learning how your hearing aids operate. But exactly what can you do about it?
What Exactly Are The Functions of Your Hearing Aids?
Hearing aids, basically, are really just a microphone and a speaker. The microphone picks up the sound and the speaker plays it in your ear. When the microphone picks the sound up but prior to when it gets played back by the speaker, there are some intricate functions that occur.
After the sound enters the microphone it gets converted to an electrical analog signal to be further processed. A sophisticated transformation from analog to digital is then carried out by a signal processing microchip. The sound is clarified after becoming digital by the device’s features and controls.
The processor then transforms the signal back to analog and transmits it to a receiver. 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 transmitted through your ear canal. Elements in the cochlea convert it back into an electrical signal that the brain can interpret.
This all sounds quite complicated but it happens in about a nanosecond. In spite of all of this state-of-the-art technology, the device still has feedback.
Feedback Loops And How They Happen
Feedback happens in other sound systems besides hearing aids. You hear that same whistle in most sound systems that utilize a microphone. The receiver generates sound which the microphone then picks up and re-amplifies. After going into the microphone and getting processed, the receiver then transforms 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. Put simply, the hearing aid is hearing itself and doesn’t like it.
What Causes Hearing Aid Feedback?
A feedback loop can be brought about by several difficulties. A very common cause is turning the hearing aid on while it’s still in your hand and then putting it in your ear. Your hearing aid starts to process sound as soon as you press the “on” button. This feedback is caused when the sound coming out of the receiver bounces off your hand and then right back into the microphone. The answer to this issue is quite simple; you should wait until the device is inside your ear before pressing the button.
Occasionally hearing aids don’t fit quite as well as they should and that can lead to feedback. Loose fitting devices have a tendency to be a problem with older hearing aids or if you’ve lost some weight since you last had them fitted. In that case, you need to head back to where you got it and have the piece adjusted to fit your ear properly again.
Feedback And Earwax
Earwax isn’t a friend when it comes to hearing aids. One of the major reasons that hearing aids don’t fit properly is because of the accumulation of earwax on the casing. And we are already aware that a loose fitting device will be the cause of feedback. Look in the manual that came with your hearing aids or else check with the retailer to learn exactly how to clean earwax off safely.
Maybe It’s Simply Broken
This is your next thing to consider when you’ve attempted everything else. Feedback can certainly be caused by a broken or damaged hearing aid. For example, the outer casing may be cracked. You should never attempt to fix this damage at home. Schedule a session with a hearing aid repair service to get it fixed.
Occasionally What Sounds Like Feedback is Actually Something Else Entirely
Hearing aids can make other noises that you may think sound like feedback but are really something else. A low battery or maybe even other potential issues can cause a warning sound in many devices. Listen to the sound. Is it actually a screeching noise or does it sound more like a beep? If your device has this feature, the owners manual will tell you.
Feedback doesn’t discriminate by brand or style. Usually, the actual cause of the feedback is pretty clear regardless of what brand you own.