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How to Stop Hearing Aid Feedback

Find out about the latest news when it comes to topics in hearing health and hearing aids. This week, we focus on hearing aid feedback: when is happens, why it happens, and what you can do to prevent it.

 

Hearing aid feedback is the creation of excess noise, usually in the form of squealing or whistling, when a hearing aid is in use. Although hearing aid feedback is a common occurrence, there are a number of actions that can be taken to prevent it.

Hearing Aid Feedback

 

Hearing aid feedback is caused by certain mechanisms in the hearing aid system. In a hearing aid system, sound is converted to an electric signal, and these electric signals are then converted to digital signals inside the hearing aid processor.

 

Depending on the settings specified by the hearing aid user, sounds can be amplified or modified accordingly. The digital signals are then converted back into their electric form and are sent to the receiver, where the signals are transformed into sound waves for the user to hear via the ear canal.

 

Feedback occurs when the sound that is transmitted from a microphone to its speakers is continuously received and amplified by the microphone.

 

The microphone will amplify a given sound multiple times if the sound is continually transmitted from the receiver to the microphone. The feedback loop that takes place is what results in the characteristic whistling or squealing that people experience during feedback.

 

Hearing aid feedback is most prevalent when people eat, speak, put on a hat or comb their hair. Hearing aid vents, or holes drilled into the hearing aid so that amplified noise can escape from the ear canal, are sometimes a source of hearing aid feedback.

 

Despite its many possible origins, hearing aid feedback usually takes place because the dome does not fit properly. It can also be due to a buildup of earwax and fluid.

Preventing Hearing Aid Feedback

 

The best way to prevent hearing aid feedback is to change the dome. Audicus hearing aid products have a disposable silicon dome. The hearing aid should fit like a cork in a wine bottle. Because hearing aid feedback can also be the result of earwax and liquid buildup, your hearing aid should be kept clean for optimal function.

 

Changing the ear mold is another method to counteract hearing aid feedback, and although it is relatively effective for people with severe hearing loss, the newly configured mold can often times be uncomfortable for the wearer.

 

Hearing aid users can be fitted for different ear molds by their clinician and can even adjust the diameter of their hearing aid vents to find vent sizes that cause the least amount of feedback.

 

Other innovations to help counteract hearing aid feedback are feedback cancellation systems, or FBC’s. They work by reducing the degree of amplification that is produced at the feedback frequencies. These systems have limited effectiveness and their performance varies depending on the hearing aid manufacturer.

 

If hearing aid feedback continues to be a problem despite having replaced the hearing aid dome, feel free to consult your audiologist!

 

Sources:  NIDCD, RERC

By: Aaron Rodriques

9 responses to “How to Stop Hearing Aid Feedback

  1. I was having terrible feedback that kept getting worse. Then I started having an ear ache and went to the doctor and found out my ears canals were almost completely closed off with build up of wax. They cleaned them out and completely cured the feedback problem. I believe the domes can actually increase the potential for build up of wax.

    1. Hello Dan. The domes are a foreign object in your ear, so you need to take extra precaution if they are causing wax buildup. You should be cleaning the domes after each use. If your domes become so clogged, to the point that they are yellow in color and not letting sound through, then you need to replace your domes with a new set. Take a look at our accessories here: https://www.audicus.com/pages/hearing-aids

  2. I keep my ears very clean but I had a feedback problem with a hearing aid from another manufacturer. The fix was simple, I switched to an open dome rather than a closed dome. I hardly ever experience feedback anymore.

  3. I would not the noise in my Alto feedback, but I do experience a “chirping” sound. It does become quite loud at time. In fact, my wife hears it when she is nearby. I see Kim states that an open dome rather than a closed dome (which I have) stopped the feedback. I sometimes get the chirping sound even when it is is quiet in the room. Another question…I have a bluetooth remote controller. The main center button has four programs…1) one beep for smart program…does not require manual change for different situations, 2) three beeps for the Loop Program, 3) two beeps if phone comes close the the hearing aid. Question: I also get another setting with four beeps. What setting are the four beeps?

  4. Just received my new open domes from you and now I am getting feedback. Very strange. The new domes have much bigger holes than the old ones. Did I get the wrong ones?

    1. Hi Ginny. Our customer service team will be contacting you to discuss different dome options. Thanks for commenting!

  5. Not an expert at it (I’ve had my Dia II hearing aids for less than 1 month) but I’d like to share my experience about feedback. My hearing aids came with medium closed domes. Sitting in some parts of my house (close to a wall, etc.) or on a La-Z-Boy chair with a high back next to my ears, soon became very annoying. As mentioned in this blog, the solution for me was replacing the Medium domes by large domes or Medium double domes. This has for effect to stop the loss of sound that is otherwise picked up by the microphone and re-amplified, causing the annoying squeak. I hope this will help Audicus customers appreciate the quality products they own and support the Audicus team in making a difference for deaf people.

  6. What are open domes and how would I obtain them? (my ears are clean of wax and yer in the past year or more I get terrible squealing.)

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