What to Do If Your Hearing Aid Starts Whistling

Whistling is an unpleasant noise in many contexts, but your hearing aid whistling might be a sign that something is wrong. Multiple things can cause hearing aids to whistle, but all of them are solvable

Many people cringe when they hear unpleasant noises, whether it's the screech of a chair or a loud noise in a song. For those with hearing loss, a sudden, abrupt whistling sound in your hearing aid can be caused by a number of things, including mundane actions like giving someone a hug. While some of these whistles might mean your hearing aid needs repairing, others can be solved with simple adjustments.

Earwax blockages

Your hearing aids work by transmitting sound into your ear canal. If this sound has nowhere to go, it will bounce back into your hearing aid, causing a whistling feedback. If you have a buildup of earwax, it can cause a blockage in your aural canal. This can cause earaches, interfere with your hearing aid, and even damage your hearing aid if left untreated. Make sure to get your ears professionally cleaned and check your hearing aid for any clogged receivers or vents.

You're not wearing your hearing aid properly

Don't worry, this happens to everyone. When you put your hearing aid in your ear incorrectly, it can cause feedback issues like whistling. Try taking out your hearing aids, and make sure they are in the right ears. If this doesn't solve the issue, try putting the receiver further into your ear. Wearing your hearing aids too loosely can cause whistling, so make sure you're wearing them properly.

Ill-fitting earmolds or tubes

Over time, your ears might change in shape. This can cause your earmolds to begin failing. A loose seal can allow sound to leak out, causing your hearing aid to whistle. To fix this, simply go to your hearing care professional (HCP) and ask for a newly-fitted earmolds. Like earmolds, tubes can also deteriorate over time and require replacement. The tube might shrivel up or split, causing unpleasant feedback. A visit to your HCP can solve this easily.

Volume is too high

Turning up the volume on your hearing aids can force sound back into them, causing feedback issues and whistling. Simply turn down your hearing aid to avoid this and avoid turning it up beyond a certain point. If you're having trouble hearing, speak to your hearing care professional about solutions for that problem.

Other sources

Wearing hats, scarves, and other head coverings can change the feedback path of your hearing aids. This can result in the infamous whistle or a series of annoying beeps and sound interference. To avoid this, remove your scarf or hat. Turning down the volume on your hearing aid can also help with this issue.

Giving people hugs can also result in short beeps or whistles. Like hats or scarves, the person's body is changing the feedback path to your hearing aid. While these unpleasant side-effects are an inescapable part of many hearing aids, it shouldn't affect your experience too much. If you're suffering from constant, annoying feedback, talk to your HCP. You might also be suffering from one of the above issues.

While whistling from your hearing aid might seriously concern you, it usually isn't something to worry about. As mentioned above, it happens occasionally, and is fixable most of the time. While it might be troublesome to replace parts of your hearing aid or get your ears cleaned, it's a necessary part of maintaining your hearing and aural health.

If you have questions or concerns about your hearing aid and how it works, try using our store locator to find a hearing care professional near you.

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