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Ask Anna: Do new hearing aids whistle?

Do new hearing aids whistle?

Ask Anna is a weekly advice column for the hearing loss community. 

Dear Anna,

Sometimes when I cup my hand over my hearing aids I hear a whistling sound. Is this supposed to happen? It doesn’t bother me when I’m wearing them, but I wonder if other people also hear it. Why does a hearing aid squeal? Do new hearing aids whistle? – Susan in California

Dear Susan,

Whistling or squealing is referred to in the hearing aid industry as feedback and it is essentially when amplified sound gets fed back into the hearing aid microphone. One of the most common causes of feedback is when the ear canal gets blocked with wax so a good thing to do if your hearing aid starts whistling is to get your ear checked for wax.

Another cause is when the earpiece is loose or does not fit well so that sound can leak out of the ear. If you think this could be the problem visit your hearing care professional and ask them to check the fit and condition of the hearing aid earpiece. Normally this is solved by replacing the dome or making a new earmold.

“Whistling or squealing is referred to in the hearing aid industry as feedback and it is essentially when amplified sound gets fed back into the hearing aid microphone.”

Other commonly reported problems like buzzing, bubbling or crackling noises could mean there is a problem with the internal electronics of the hearing so it is always a good idea to get your hearing care professional to check but sometimes it can be buzzing that is being picked up by another electrical device nearby so make a note of when it happens if it is an intermittent buzzing and see if there is a pattern. Bubbling or crackling sounds can be because small water droplets or wax in the tube that fits into the earpiece moving around in the tube, so take a look and see if this is the case. Tapping the tube or blowing air through the tube with a hearing aid puffer can help.

Do new hearing aids whistle?

Blue hearing aid puffer with Phonak care kit

If the hearing aid continues to make unusual noises then the best thing to do is to get your hearing care professional to check the hearing aid. They will have equipment called a test box that can check if the hearing aid is performing as it should to standardized readings.

Hopefully now you have a little more insight into why and what is making that strange noise in your hearing aids and what you can do about it.

– Anna

Do you have a question for Anna? Email: feedback@hearinglikeme.com

The information provided through this website should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your health care provider. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the Hearing Like Me website. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or emergency medical services immediately.
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Anna is currently the Senior Audiology Manager at Phonak. She has worked in the field of audiology and hearing aids for 25 years, and is passionate about all things audiology.
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Anna is currently the Senior Audiology Manager at Phonak. She has worked in the field of audiology and hearing aids for 25 years, and is passionate about all things audiology.