What’s with that whistling hearing aid?

Written by:  Angela E. Katzfey, Au.D., CCC-A of Agnesian HealthCare

When a hearing aid whistles or buzzes in someone’s ear, audiologists* call it feedback.  If you experience whistling or buzzing noises, here are a few important things to know. It should never happen with a properly placed hearing aid, and you should not have to turn the hearing aid volume down to make it stop during normal use (turning the volume down will take away what the hearing aid is designed to do!). It is normal to have feedback when cupping your hand over the hearing aid or when inserting/removing it.

What can you do?

1)  Make sure the hearing aid(s) are completely in the ear; if the hearing aid is not properly inserted, this can cause whistling or some other noises.

2)  Have the ears checked for wax build-up; even a small amount of wax in the right place can make someone more likely to experience whistling. We recommend having a healthcare professional check the ears for wax and remove it if necessary; not use of Q-tips.

If you do the above and still experience whistling/buzzing, an audiologist can look for other causes.

Other causes of whistling/buzzing may include: 1) A hearing aid or ear piece that is too small or too loose in someone’s ear; 2) An internal issue with the hearing aid; or 3) A crack in ear piece tubing or other part of the hearing aid. These other causes of whistling are best handled by a hearing professional.

For more information, contact our audiologists at (920) 926-8460.

*Audiologists, like those at Agnesian HealthCare’s Fond du Lac Regional Clinic South, are medical professionals that treat people with hearing disorders.




About Nicole Auxier, AuD, CCC-A

Areas of Interest: Audiologic Testing (Children and Adults) Hearing Aids Tinnitus Management Education: Ohio University, Master of Arts in Audiology, 2004 Salus University, Doctor of Audiology, 2009 Professional Affiliations: American Academy of Audiology Certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Clinical Competence in Audiology Licensed with the Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing Member of Wisconsin Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Professional Association


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