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Answers to Frequent Questions About Broken or Malfunctioning Hearing Aid Devices

We hear a lot of questions on hearing loss conditions and devices. That’s why we have compiled the most popular inquiries and our solutions onto one page, to help customers make the right decisions about their hearing health before they walk through our doors. Visit our FAQ page to learn more.

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  • What is the whistling sound I sometimes hear through my hearing aid?

    The squealing or whistling noise that hearing aids sometimes make is called feedback. You may have heard this type of screeching or loud tone if you have ever spoken through a microphone while standing too close to the speaker system. In a hearing device, feedback is created when the sound coming out of the hearing aid’s speaker is directed back into the microphone—and unlike a handheld mic, you cannot simply move the two further apart.

    How to Fix Feedback Problems in Hearing Aids

    Many high-end hearing devices are outfitted with feedback suppression systems to prevent these problems from happening. If your device is making these noises regularly, it can be helpful to identify the type of feedback to fix the problem.

    In general, hearing devices can give off three different types of feedback:

    • Acoustical feedback. Acoustical feedback is generally caused by a blocked microphone or ill-fitting device. If cleaning both your ears and your device does not stop the feedback, the direction of the receiver may be off. Your hearing care provider can adjust the speaker placement of your device and ensure a snug fit.
    • Mechanical feedback. This type of feedback is caused by contact between the hearing aid’s casing and speaker, which are then transmitted back to the microphone. This problem should only be corrected by a hearing health professional, as it involves changing the placement of the speaker.
    • Electronic feedback. Electronic feedback is a result of a malfunction in the computer components of the device. The solution involves opening the case and determining the source of the problem and possible replacement of the electronics of the device, and should only be attempted by a hearing device specialist.

    Our hearing care specialists can examine your device to determine the source of the feedback. If you need a new device, we can help you explore hearing aids equipped with feedback cancellation, freeing you from those annoying whistling sounds for good. Call or visit us today to have our technicians solve your hearing aid problems.

  • Can I wear my hearing aid in the shower or while swimming?

    Hearing aids rely on finely-tuned technology to deliver clear sound, but they are also placed very close to a wearer’s body. Even if a hearing aid protects the device from getting wet, the device may still suffer damage due to perspiration or exposure to a sudden rainstorm. Each device will handle water and moisture differently—and in most cases, it’s easy to tell how resilient the hearing aid will be.

    How to Check the Water Resistance Rating of Your Hearing Aid

    Many hearing aid providers use the Ingress Protection (IP) Code to rate a device’s ability to withstand certain penetrative damage. The IP Code rates the level of protection against water, dust, dirt, and debris provided by the device’s case. The two numbers that follow the initials “IP” on your device describe how well the electrical components are protected from:

    • Solid particles. The first number is a rating of protection from solid objects, such as dirt and dust. These numbers range from 0 (no protection) to 6 (no dust can enter the casing). Lower numbers indicate protection from larger objects (such as fingers), with each increasing number offering protection against smaller and smaller objects.
    • Water. The second number indicates the water resistance of the case, on a scale of 0 (no resistance) to 8 (immersion in water deeper than 1 meter). The lower the number, the less water resistant the device will be. The higher the number, the more likely the device is to work again once the device has been allowed to dry.

    Even if your chosen hearing aid has a high moisture resistance rating, it is not a good idea to wear these aids in the shower or while swimming. Modern water resistance ratings are based on how well the device will work after it has been removed from water and completely dried—not how well it will work while still underwater.

    If you are looking for a hearing aid to suit your active lifestyle, our hearing care providers will be happy to walk you through the capabilities of each of our devices. Call or visit us today, or use our location page to find our office nearest you!