Nearly 477 million people around the world suffer from some form of hearing loss. This is a serious problem that can have long-term effects on a person's ability to enjoy life, work, and relationships. Fortunately, as medical technology has advanced, it has become possible and affordable for many people to purchase custom-built hearing aids.
However, there are some problems that are common with hearing aids that can lead to them whistling or hissing during use. Read on for the five most common causes of this irritating side effect and how you might go about fixing them.
1. Too high volume
Whistling, hissing and other background noises can be signs that the gain is set too high. This is especially true among people who have had their hearing loss for some time and are used to overcoming background noise all the time.
All hearing aids have some degree of built-in volume control. However, users are often not aware that it exists or how to use it properly. If you notice whistling and hissing when you turn up the volume too much, ask your audiologist or hearing aid retailer what you can do to make sure that this doesn't cause problems for you in the future.
2. Poor fit
If you are experiencing whistling and hissing, it may be due to a poor fit of the hearing aid. If your audiogram shows that you have some degree of hearing loss in the higher frequencies, it is very important to pay close attention to how the hearing aid sounds.
If it seems that there is too much whistling or hissing, you will need to work with your audiologist or hearing aid retailer to get a better fit. It is also possible that your audiologist can recommend different models for you from which to choose if this is the case.
3. Too much wax or debris in the ear canal
Hearing aids are generally placed inside of the ear canal instead of directly into the eardrum. This means that wax and debris can get into the ear canal and block it. A common cause of this problem is the use of earwax softeners, which can accumulate in the ear canal over time. It is vital to remove as much wax as possible from your ears with a proper cleaning regimen that does not include a wax softener.
4. Displaced microphone
In some cases, a whistling sound can be caused by a misplaced microphone. This can be especially true if earwax is getting into the hearing aid. If you are experiencing a whistling or hissing sound that seems to emanate from the back of your ear, your microphone may have gotten dislodged from its proper place inside your ear canal. In most cases, this problem can be fixed simply by removing and reinserting the hearing aid properly.
5. Broken tubing
If the tubing that connects your hearing aid to your ear canal is broken, it can lead to a whistling sound. In many cases, all you may need to do is clean up the wax and debris in your ear canal. However, if this doesn't fix the problem, you may need to have your hearing aids cleaned by your audiologist or hearing aid provider.
To learn more about whistling and hissing in hearing aids and how you might go about preventing them from occurring, contact your audiologist or hearing aid provider.