Squeaky hearing aids. I’m sure you’ve heard that annoying high pitched squeal that is almost as irritating as fingernails on a chalkboard. If you wear hearing aids, you have likely heard this before. If you don’t own hearing aids, maybe you’ve noticed someone else trying to adjust theirs in a futile attempt to stop the noise. This is one issue that often concerns people that are new to using hearing aids.
So, what is this phenomena, what causes it, and most importantly, is there anything that can be done to make it not happen in the first place?
Whenever a hearing aid squeaks it is called feedback. It’s simply the amplified sound of the speaker going back into the microphones and getting re-amplified. It’s like at my wedding when the minister’s microphone was too close to the speakers and an awful ear piercing shriek would fill the church. The sound guy would then frantically scramble to adjust the speaker volume.
With hearing aids the biggest reason for feedback is a poor fit. The earpiece needs to be fit correctly to block the speaker sound from getting back out to the microphones. We want the sound to just stay in your ear where it belongs.
Sometimes it means the hearing aid needs to be adjusted to compensate for the feedback. Yes, there are lots of adjustments that can be made!
And, it should be noted that modern hearing aids deal with feedback way better than older ones did. They have sophisticated ways of electronically canceling it out in many situations.
That said, the higher the power of the hearing aids, the more likely it may be. This is when careful selection of the hearing aid brand and fit is very important, as some do a better job than others at cancelling feedback.
Finally, it’s often normal for hearing aids even when fit properly, to squeak a little while inserting them, and if you get something, like a hand, really close.
Bottom line, modern hearing aids should not be squeaking and squealing all over the place. They should discreetly help you hear the sounds that you are missing…for your ears only!