Hearing Aid Acoustic Feedback: Causes And Treatments

Hearing aids can enhance the quality of your life if you have hearing deficits. People with hearing loss often feel isolated and self-conscious because they do not feel comfortable in social situations. They may be afraid of missing parts of a conversation or responding inappropriately because of interpreting something wrong. While modern hearing devices are technological wonders, people wearing them can still experience acoustic feedback. This phenomenon can cause sounds such as buzzing, screeching, and buzzing in hearing devices, leading to anxiety, frustration, and even further hearing loss. Here are some causes and treatment options for acoustic feedback.

Acoustic Feedback Causes

While there are a few different types of feedback known to those who wear hearing devices, acoustic feedback is the most common. Other types of feedback include electronic feedback and mechanical feedback, which refers to sounds that are elicited when the device's speaker touches the device's casing. Acoustic feedback is typically caused when the sounds generated by the speaker of the hearing aid are detected by the device's microphone.

Acoustic feedback can occur if the hearing aid does not fit properly as a result of inflammation of the outer or middle ear or if the person has a significant amount of wax inside their ears. Another reason for an improper hearing aid fit is excessive weight gain or weight loss.

Treatment Options

If you experience acoustic feedback, make an appointment with your audiologist as soon as possible. You will need a comprehensive examination to determine the cause. Your hearing doctor will examine your ears and hearing aids to determine if they fit properly. If you have excessive wax inside your ears, the audiologist will remove it by gently flushing it out. If the insides of your ears show signs of inflammation, the audiologist may refer you back to your primary care physician for further evaluation.

Ear canal inflammation can be caused by an infection, and if your physician determines you have a bacterial infection of the ear canal, antibiotics may be prescribed. In addition to antibiotics, your doctor may prescribe a topical corticosteroid ointment to further reduce ear inflammation. Once the inflammation has subsided, your hearing aids may fit better, eliminating acoustic feedback. If your hearing devices do not fit properly because of changes in your weight, you may need to get fitted for new ones.

If you experience acoustic feedback, work with your audiologist and primary care physician to determine the cause and effective treatment options. While feedback is not typically harmful, it can prevent you from enjoying the things you love to do. Contact an audiologist who handles hearing aids to learn more.