What the heck is all that noise?! Even the best hearing aids will whistle; when you put your hand to your ear, when you are putting the aid on or taking it off or even when you give someone a big wonderful hug! Sometimes this sound, referred to as feedback, is perfectly normal. Sometimes, feedback is an indication that something is wrong.
Feedback is nothing more than a little amplified sound escaping your ear and finding its way back into the microphone. This can be because your hand (or the seat-belt, the window or the back of your favorite easy-chair) it too close to your ear and the sound is reflecting off of the surface. If the hearing aid only squeals when there is an object within 3-4 inches of your ear, then chances are that all is well. Newer hearing aids have very good feedback cancelers, so even this type of feedback will be history.
If your hearing aid whistles or squeals when you move your jaw, turn your head, or for no apparent reason, make an appointment with your provider. This type of feedback is virtually always due to poor fit or a wax build up. Your audiologist can easily take care of this and you will be back to normal in no time.
If the feedback is persistent and uncontrollable, there might be something wrong with the hearing instrument. Internal feedback is a problem with the assembly of the hearing instrument and can usually be blamed on a dislodged microphone. A skilled technician can fix it in the office or the instrument might need to go to the lab for repair. Be sure to ask your provider if they have a hearing instrument that you can borrow! Hearing is fun and you shouldn’t have to miss a minute!