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Ask Anna: Why do my hearing aids squeal when I’m on the phone?

My hearing aids squeal when I'm on the phone

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

Dear Anna,

Hi, I purchased the Phonak Audéo BR rechargeable hearing aids in December and for the most part I am extremely pleased with them. Lately, however when I’m in meetings at work and there is a someone on a conference call, my hearing aids begin to put out a high pitch squeal. This has happened on more than one occasion and is very embarrassing. I usually have to take them out to stop the noise feedback. Is there something I can do with them to change this or us this just something I need to live with? – Lewis, “Working with hearing loss” in Atlanta 

Hi Lewis, 

The first thing to check is if this high pitch whistling happens only when you are in conference calls or if it happens at any other time? If it happens at other times then it could be that the earpiece of your hearing aid has become  little loose or if there is some wax that has built up in your ear. It is unlikely that a conference call system is interfering with the hearing aid. Our rechargeable hearing aids do not behave any differently to non-rechargeable hearing aids, they just have a different battery that supplies the power they need.

However, this is not something you should have to live with. Unfortunately if there is no obvious cause of the whistling then it becomes a process of elimination, here are few things you can check. 

3 Tips for Troubleshooting Feedback in your Hearing Aids

  • Check if this only happens with one particular conference call system or with all conference call systems that you use?
  • Check if the high pitch whistle you hear is emitted from your hearing aids or from the conference call system?
  • Try a different conference call system and see if the same thing happens
  • Use a system where the speakers of the conference call phone are on the table so that you avoid covering the hearing aid microphones.

If none of these suggestions are helpful, I do think it would be worth speaking with your audiologist as they may have another idea and will be able to check  your ears and check that your hearing aid is working.

I hope you get to the bottom of this problem and please let me know the outcome or get back to me if you have further questions.


Do you have a question for Anna? Email: feedback@hearinglikeme.com or on Twitter @Phonak

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.
Author Details
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.