Hearing Aid Feedback? One Possible Problem And How To Fix It

If your hearing aids are brand new but don't seem to be working well, you may be wondering what the deal is. One probable cause is ear wax. While ear wax, or cerumen, is an essential secretion that traps debris and cleans the eardrums, too much can be a hindrance for hearing-aid wearers.

Annoying Feedback

If you hear echos or your hearing aid chirps or whistles, this could actually be an ear wax problem and not just a mechanical problem. According to one site, as sound waves enter your ears and go through the hearing aid mold, they cause the eardrum to vibrate and interpret that sound. However, when ear wax gets in the way, the acoustics of the ear get thrown off and sound waves can be "sprayed" in all directions in the ear canal as vibrations either hit hardened wax or go through gaps in the wax. If you have a problem with feedback, have a friend or family member use a flashlight to check for wax in your ears. If your ears are clean, then you will want to go to an audiologist to make sure the hearing aid shell is the right size.

How to Fix the Issue

The NCBI says that hearing aids can change the bacterial flora in ears, thus making it more likely to develop excess ear wax if you are a hearing-aid wearer. So whether or not your hearing aids' problems come from wax, you should be giving your ears a thorough cleaning anyway. While you may be tempted to just stuff a q-tip down your ear to fix wax problems, there is a right and wrong way to do things. If you want to use a q-tip, make sure you are only cleaning your outer ears with it (a damp washcloth is better). For your inner ears, use an eyedropper to place a few drops of a commercial ear cleaner (you can also use glycerin, mineral oil, or baby oil to clean your ears in a pinch). Once the cleaner has set for a bit, fill the dropper with warm water to rinse out the ear. However, make sure that you do not stick the dropper into the ear canal! The water and cleaner need room to exit, so sticking the dropper into the canal will just force debris back in. If you still have wax in your ears, seek out an audiologist. He or she can use water pressure, curettes, or suction to dislodge the wax. If you stay on top of your ear hygiene, your new hearing aids should work very well.