by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
A lady explained:
Last night, all of a sudden my ear began itching so I took my hearing aid off and with my little finger I was scratching in my ear canal. When I put my hearing aid back on, it started to give feedback all the time. This morning I’m still getting enormous feedback when I put my aid in. It’s driving me crazy. What can I do?
There are two likely causes of your feedback. The good news is they are both easy to fix.
When you were scratching your ear, you likely dislodged a piece of wax (or other debris) and either one of two things happened.
One, the dislodged wax is now blocking your ear canal, so when you put your hearing aid in, the wax butted up against the hole in the ear mold, basically blocking it. The result is feedback. It’s basically the same thing as your hearing aid squealing when you cup your hand around it. This is not as true of modern aids that have feedback suppression.
Two, when you put your hearing aid on, you pushed the wax into the hole in the ear mold—again causing the feedback.
The first thing to check is your ear mold. If any wax is blocking the hole, clean it out. That should fix your problem.
If the ear mold hole is clear, then you likely need to clean out your ear canal. When we wear hearing aids, the body’s natural action to work wax and anything else in our ear canals out over time is prevented by the ear mold. Thus, each time we put in our hearing aids, we push wax further into the ear canal until it completely blocks it.
Therefore, it is a good idea to have your ears regularly cleaned out to prevent this from happening again in the future.
Epilogue: This lady went to her ear doctor, and he found her ear canal was completely plugged with wax. Cleaning out her ear canal instantly solved the feedback problem.