Balancing Western Medicine and Alternative Methods

Fixing Hearing Aid Feedback

When you are hard of hearing, hearing aids can become an invaluable asset in your life. The typical mechanism of a hearing aid is that the in-built microphone picks up sounds from around you, and then an amplifier increases the volume of the sounds and directs them into the ear canal so you can hear them more clearly. Unfortunately, this handy little device is prone to its own faults, and one of the most annoying things that can happen when wearing hearing aids is experiencing sonic feedback.

What is feedback and how is it caused?

Most people have experienced feedback at some point in their life. Have you ever been to a concert and heard a screeching sound emanate from the speakers? This is feedback. Except with a hearing aid, the experience is much worse because the whistling or screeching sound is right in your ear.

There are actually three different ways that hearing aid feedback can be caused. The first is called acoustical feedback. This is when the amplified sound gets picked up once again by the hearing aid's microphone and the sound just keeps getting amplified on a loop until it becomes a screech. The second type is called mechanical feedback. This is when vibrations occur between the device speaker and the hearing aid casing, and the persistent vibrations get picked up by the microphone. And the final type of feedback is electronic feedback, which occurs as a result of faulty circuitry within the hearing aid.

Is there anything that can be done about hearing aid feedback?

The good news is that there are things that can be done to fix feedback issues with each of these three types of feedback. With mechanical and electronic feedback, you will have to take the hearing aid to the manufacturer or to a specialist who can fix the structure of the device or the circuitry so that the feedback no longer sounds. But with acoustical feedback, the ball is in your court. Here are a few things to look for.

The fit of your hearing aid. Your hearing aid should fit snugly within your ear with absolutely no sign of looseness. If there is any free space between the hearing aid and your ear, the amplified sound waves can be let loose from your ear and reach the microphone, resulting in feedback. There are two solutions for this: you can either have a refitting of your hearing aid, or you can purchase a hearing aid wrap, which allows for a tighter fit. If you have recently lost weight, you might not think that you have lost anything in your ear canal, but this could actually be the cause for the looseness of your hearing aids.

Ear wax. Everybody on the planet generates ear wax, but if you have an excess build up, this could spell problems for your hearing when using a hearing aid. The sound waves are likely to reverberate against the ear wax, heading out in all directions and potentially back into the reach of your hearing aid's microphone. If you suspect ear wax is the cause of your hearing aid's feedback, don't start digging around with a cotton bud, as this could cause even greater damage to your hearing. Instead, visit your doctor to have the ear wax removed professionally.

Position of the speaker. When hearing aids are manufactured, the speakers are placed so that they direct sound down the ear canal. But if you have a sharp bend in your ear canal, the sound waves can potentially bounce off the inside of your ears and find their way back to the microphone. If this is the case, you will need to have a professional hearing aid fitting, with aids made for the shape of your ear canal.

For more information, contact a local hearing aid company like Expert Hearing Care (Hearing Aids Perth)