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Why do hearing aids whistle?

Thomas Goyne, AuD

Doctor of Audiology

04 May 2016 - 2.21K Views

Similar to a public address system, a hearing aid can hum, whistle, or ring when amplified sound comes out of the hearing aid’s loudspeaker and is picked up by the microphone and re-amplified, over and over again. This creates what’s called an acoustic feedback loop.

Possible causes of feedback include:

  • Improper insertion into the user’s ear.

  • Improper physical fit of the hearing aid.

  • Improper calibration of the hearing aid.

If you are having any of these issues, the best solution is to visit a professional who is capable of adjusting the devices or working with you on the proper physical fit or insertion.. Modern hearing aids can easily be adjusted by a professional to permanently avoid feedback. If you have the capability to adjust the volume of your hearing aid, turn the volume down until the feedback stops. This is a fine temporary solution until you can see your hearing health professional.

For a much more in-depth explanation on acoustic feedback in hearing aids, more can be found here.

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