If you have recently been informed that you have a hearing loss problem, then it is wise to choose your hearing aid as soon as possible so you can start hearing properly again. If you are waiting to pick one out due to concerns about the feedback that it may create, then you should know that you can stop feedback before it occurs. Keep reading to understand where the feedback comes from and how it can be avoided.
Understanding Hearing Aid Feedback
Hearing aids work by pulling in sound from the environment, altering it, and feeding it into your ear. Sound is first picked up by the microphone part of the device that sits on the very outside of the aid. The microphone converts the sound into electrical analog signals. The signals are then moved to the processor, where they are converted into digital ones. After the sound information has been transformed, the processor will change it according to the settings of the hearing aid. Ambient noise reduction, wind sound elimination, sound frequency elevation, and volume increase will occur. The final product will be transformed back into analog sound where a receiver gets the information and transforms it into sound waves. The waves then move through the ear canal where you hear it.
This four step process will go smoothly most of the time, but it can be interrupted. When this happens, feedback occurs. Typically, the whistling and high-pitched sounds happen when the microphone on the hearing aid picks up sounds that are released from the speaker. The sounds go through the processor and receiver again where they are amplified and the result is the feedback. The whistling will continue as the microphone continues to pick up sound over and over again in a loop. This means that hearing aid feedback can be controlled as long as the microphone piece is not able to pick up sounds from the speaker.
Choosing a Hearing Aid for Feedback Reduction
One of the simplest ways to stop feedback from occurring is to make sure that the hearing aid variety you choose has a microphone that is far from the speaker part of the device. Behind-the-ear devices are a good choice for this. The main controls, processor, and microphone sit in a piece behind the ear. A small, flexible plastic piece sits around the top and front part of the ear. This piece holds the speaker in front of the ear or in the ear. While this device does help to hold the microphone far from the speaker, some people do not like the appearance of the aid, especially if they have short hair. Also, digital varieties of the aids are often bigger than analog styles due to the inclusion of a small computer chip. You can go with an analog aid, but digital ones do generally offer feedback controls that help to further reduce whistling sounds.
If you do not want a noticeable behind-the-ear hearing aid, then you can opt for a digital in-the-ear device. While the microphone will be closer to the speaker when you use one of these aids, the aid should sit in the canal tight enough so that sound does not slip out and reach the microphone. For a tight fit, you will need to work with your audiologist so that a mold can be made of the ear canal.
However, you will need to see the hearing professional at least once a year to make sure that the device still fits tight since the inside of the ear can stretch out a bit from prolonged hearing aid use. You should also see the audiologist if the hearing aid seems loose or if you hear feedback. If the aid is loose, then speak with your doctor about taking an ear canal impression when your mouth is open. Your ear canal will be stretched the widest during this time. Also, a multilayer technique that involves layers of impression material and the movement of your mouth into different position will help to create a more airtight hearing aid shell.
For further information about this topic, speak with a representative from a company like Audiology Consultants, P.C.