by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
Do your hearing aids squeal or whistle (produce feedback) without your being aware of this annoying sound? If so you are not alone.
Multitudes of hard of hearing people can’t hear their hearing aids squealing or whistling because they have a high frequency hearing loss. This means they don’t hear higher-pitched sounds including the annoying feedback sounds their hearing aids sometimes produce. The result is that they needlessly annoy hearing people around them, overwork their hearing aids, and greatly reduce battery life.
In case you are interested, this feedback (squealing) is the result of the output of your hearing aids feeding back into the microphone–thus producing an endless oscillation.
No matter what kind of hearing aid you have, it should not be pumping out power to those frequencies you cannot hear, no matter how much they are amplified. It’s not helping you hear better and can end up causing annoying feedback.
Fortunately, this this kind of feedback is easy to fix. The solution, if you have digital hearing aids, is to have your audiologist/hearing aid dispenser selectively shut down those higher-frequency bands you can’t hear. If you have analog hearing aids, they can reduce the high-frequency output to try to eliminate this feedback.
The result will be that if your hearing aids ever do produce feedback in the future, you will also hear it. That way you can immediately take steps to stop it.