If you have a hearing loss, you might sometimes hear a whistling or whooshing sound in your ears. This is because when the air pressure is changed in your ear, it can send an echoing noise to certain parts of the ear.
A hearing aid may whistle if it has not been custom fitted to the person that wears it. If you're wearing a hearing aid, make sure that it is fitted by a professional and fully adjusted so that it sits properly on your ear and doesn't cause any whistling.
It is a good idea to have your hearing tested regularly so that you can keep an eye on the state of your hearing and make sure that it has not been affected by any problems such as exposure to high levels of noise.
If you use a hearing aid and start to hear whistling in your ear, you should make an appointment with your doctor. There could be an underlying problem that needs attention. You don't want to go on ignoring what could be a sign of something serious such as Ménière's disease.
Hearing aids do whistle occasionally because of the way they get adjusted and positioned on your ear. You should always make sure that your hearing aid fits properly on your ear before you leave for work or on a long journey.
Some people think that whistling in their ears is caused by compression in the eardrum and blowing out the compressed air into their ears, but this is not correct.
Hearing aid feedback usually occurs when the microphone, amplifier or receiver is set at a volume setting that is too high.
The feedback begins when the microphone picks up ambient sounds picked up by the receiver from the loudspeaker and sends them to the ear through amplification. The receiver amplifies these sound waves before sending them back to the ear as an uncomfortably loud hissing or screeching sound.
Hearing aid whistling can be unpleasant and even painful, but it is often easy to avoid by making sure that hearing aids are properly adjusted so that they fit snugly on your ears and don't whistle.
As hearing aids age, they become less effective and cause more whistling in ears as well as other problems.
One of the most common causes of whistle from a hearing aid is a loose fitting device. You can eliminate this problem by making sure that your hearing aids fit well in your ears and are not too loose or too tight.
Another common cause of audio feedback, and whistling, occurs when you turn the volume on the amplifier up too high. The patient will often complain that his or her hearing aids are whistling or squealing when the hearing aid is being used in public places such as a restaurant or meeting room.
Sometimes people with tinnitus hear an even louder sound in their ears because their hearing aids make a whistling noise which adds to their tinnitus.
Acoustical feedback happens when you use your hearing aids in an environment where their audio signal is amplified non-linearly. This happens when the ambient sound from a loudspeaker is amplified by the microphone of your hearing aid.
You might get feedback (or high pitched whining, shrieking, shrill or hissing) when using your hearing aids in public places such as restaurants or halls. It's often more noticeable if you're talking to someone and you turn the volume up too high while you're both trying to have a conversation.
As we have said above, feedback may occur even at lower levels of amplification and at no matter how well adjusted your hearing aids are.
You may hear a whistling sound in your ears if you move too close to a TV, or you are at the theater and too close to the speakers.
If you already have tinnitus, don't increase your hearing aid amplification too much above the level you normally use since this can aggravate your tinnitus. As we have said, this will happen if you have tinnitus and hearing aids as well as when hearing aids are used without tinnitus.
Hearing aids may whistle because of an amplified input from your ear canal and/or due to audio feedback through the microphone-loudspeaker system.
Try to avoid wearing them while in loud, crowded places such as restaurants or bars.
Wearing a hearing aid will not make your hearing progressively worse. However, if you continue to wear a hearing aid that does not fit properly on your ears, it will result in increased annoyance and even pain.
The reason why wearing hearing aids causes discomfort is because they are designed to pick up very weak sounds from far away and amplify them so that the person who wears the hearing aids can hear them comfortably. These amplifiers are very sensitive and pick up even sounds from the other side of a room where they are not amplified by the microphone.
This is well known among audiologists and requires no explanation.
An older person who has never had a hearing aid can have a very difficult time adjusting to wearing it. In the beginning, most people who wear hearing aids feel self-conscious about their conduct, their conversations as well as about everything they hear.
Hearing aids are not like glasses or contact lenses where people become used to the changes that occur with good fitting and using them over a period of time. Since this is not the case with hearing aids, most people will continue having problems until they get used to wearing them.
Follow these steps to adjust to your new hearing aid.
When you first start wearing a hearing aid, it will make sounds in your ear that are very different from what you've been accustomed to. You will probably first notice sounds of high pitch that are unpleasant and may be similar to whistling or chirping birds.
To help make this adjustment as positive as possible, start using the hearing aid for a short time each day before bedtime. Try starting with 5 minutes per day on the days when you need to be more alert later in the day. For the rest of the time, try listening to the soft music you normally listen too each night and wear your hearing aids all night long.
You may be able to adjust the volume so it is soft enough that you can sleep through the night even though you are wearing them.
If this does not work for you, try other ways to get used to wearing your hearing aids each night. It may take several nights before you are able to go without them. If this doesn't work, another strategy is to wear them all day long except when listening to music or watching television.
This will allow your ears and brain time for adjustment without any distraction from other sounds.
If you do not wear your hearing aids, chances are you will continue to have problems with understanding conversations and sounds in your environment. You may feel frustrated and unhappy with the help others can provide you.
People who do not wear their hearing aids often feel guilty, embarrassed or self-conscious about not wearing them because they know it's having an effect on their lives. They may begin to withdraw from activities such as attending church, watching television, taking part in conversations or just socializing with family and friends in a comfortable way.
When we stop speaking or listening to others in social situations, we usually feel one of three emotions: rejection, hurt or anger.
The following infographic shows a list of the various noises when you are out and about. Any noise over 70-80db over a long period of time may cause damage to your hearing. A noise of over 120dB may cause immediate harm to your ears
Getting used to wearing hearing aids is very important if you want to hear well and have a better quality of life. It will take time, patience and sometimes creativity for you to adjust to your new solution. Practice makes perfect. If you can afford it, working with an Audiologist is a good idea so he or she can help get these hearing aids adjusted to your unique form of hearing loss.
I hope this article has given you some ideas on adjustment and strategies for getting used to wearing your hearing aid after it's been fitted at your audiologist's office.
Remember, any time you decide not to wear your hearing aids, the sooner you start the more problems you will experience when inside and outside the home.
Other than the initial getting used to wearing your new hearing aid, what are the side effects of a hearing aid?
The only possible side effect is that you may hear sounds from the environment that you did not hear previously. You may hear noises you did not realize were there. Other than this, it should be rare for anyone to have a reaction to wearing a hearing aid. When fitted correctly, and with care taken in using the controls and adjusting them correctly, your hearing aids should protect your ears from damage and allow you to work more productively in social situations and reduce stress in your life.
Sometimes people with hearing loss feel that they hear high pitched noises or whistling in the absence of any sound. Many people get this type of symptom even if their hearing aids are not whistling.
This symptom is called Tinnitus and is more common among older people, but it can also affect younger subjects as well, especially among those who have suffered from exposure to loud noises at work or in leisure activities.
Tinnitus can also cause a lot of distress and discomfort by affecting a person's quality of life to a great extent. People with tinnitus often complain that when they turn the volume down on their hearing aids, although they hear less noise, the tinnitus becomes more noticeable.
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