Whistling and whining hearing aids

Can I stop my hearing aids whistling?

A hearing aids squeals when its earpiece does not fit perfectly.

This most obviously occurs while the hearing aid is being inserted, ie while there is necessarily an imperfect fit between the earpiece and the ear. Modern aids get round this by incorporating a few-second delay between closing the battery case - which turns the aid on - and the electronics starting up. If one is quick, which is reasonably straightforward after a little practice, the aid can be put in place quickly enough to prevent whistling. Of course an alternative solution is to turn the aid on, (ie close the battery case) once the aid is in place, but the problem for anyone with long hair is that hair then gets trapped inside the battery case. This seems to happen however careful one is.

This said, it can be virtually impossible to make an earpiece that does not allow whistling in certain circumstances. Even well-fitting earpieces tend to work slightly loose over time which makes for an increased likelihood of whistling. One way round this is to push the aid more and more firmly in - but then it becomes uncomfortable, even with the soft, flexible earpieces.

Whistling is worse with aids with higher gains, ie for aids programmed for greater degrees of hearing loss. I am much more deaf in one ear than the other and the likelihood of whistling is far greater with the deafer ear.

Whistling is also worse when something is close to the aid. In fact audiologists often test for whistling by waving their hands close to an inserted aid.

This tendency to squeal with something close can be particularly embarrassing because of the common practice of hugging to greet family and friends. As someone's face approaches the side of one's own face, one is tense with fear that the hearing aid is going to squeal - and of course the other person will necessarily hear it, being so close. I tend to decide in advance which side I am going to steer people to and turn down that aid in advance.



Disclaimer: The information on this site is for a lay audience and I cannot be responsible for errors or omissions. The views, strategies, advice and suggestions etc are based on my personal experience and are not necessarily appropriate for anyone else. They should, hopefully, stimulate individuals to develop their own strategies.