by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
A woman asked:
I have had the experience of my hearing aids cutting off the sound with some loud noises and when I yawn. What’s the problem?
There are actually two different things happening here. Some hearing aids cut off in response to loud sounds in order to protect your ears from these sounds. This is called “peak clipping” and is old technology. This is not good as it means that you may not hear the very sounds (e.g. fire alarms) that are meant to save your life!
You need to get your audiologist to reprogram your hearing aids so they don’t clip loud sounds, but instead, automatically turn down the volume to a comfortable level. My hearing aids never cut out in response to loud sounds–they just quickly turn the volume down in a small fraction of a second. This is the proper way for hearing aids to handle loud sounds.
Now, in regards to yawning, this is not your hearing aids fault! What happens is that when you yawn, your middle ears automatically cut down the sound level. This is very noticeable when you have a more severe hearing loss–so much so that you think your hearing aids cut out all sound. It wasn’t your hearing aids, it was the accoustic reflex in your middle ears kicking in and reducing the volume! So don’t blame your hearing aids for this one.