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The bad news? Hearing aids sometimes do create annoying feedback sounds. The good news? You can get rid of them very easily. No matter how stylish or upgraded your hearing aids are, you are sure to hear whistling sounds at some point while using them. While sometimes these sounds are normal, at other times it is an indication that something is wrong with your device. Even though the quality of sound you are experiencing with your hearing aid devices might be perfectly well, yet these whistling noises, known as feedback sounds might in a way affect your listening experience.

There are many updated digital hearing aids today which come with feedback reduction features. Feedback sounds occur when the sound finds its way back to the microphone from the receiver and hence it gets re-amplified, thus causing whistling sounds. It creates headache-inducing squealing or screeching sounds which are annoying like hell!

 

Causes of Feedback Sounds

  • Excessive buildup of earwax 

  • Poorly or improperly fitted hearing aid tube

  • Cracked or broken tubing

  • Dislodged microphones which distort the sounds

  • Too much higher volumes at certain frequencies

 

Types of Feedback Sounds

There are three types of feedback sounds that occur from hearing aid devices.

  • Acoustical feedback - It is caused when the amplified sound produced by the speaker of your hearing aid machine is picked up again by its microphone and in the process, it gets louder and screechier which is disturbing for the user.

  • Mechanical feedback - Even though it might be really very hard to deal with it, it is easily fixable. It is caused by vibrations that are created when the hearing aid speaker comes in contact with the device’s casing.

  • Electronic feedback - This occurs when there is some problem in the electrical circuits of the hearing aid machine.

 

How to Deal with Feedback Sounds?

  • Don’t tap the device hard, such as on the tabletop, thinking that it would stop the noises. No, it won’t. On the contrary, it might damage the internal parts of your ear machine.

  • Never try to fix it yourself just because you have mechanical knowledge unless you fix hearing aids for a living. You might not be able to diagnose and fix the problem. Take it to your Audiologist without a second thought!

  • Don't throw away your device out of frustration. Your hearing aid machine just needs a minor adjustment.

  • Switch to digital hearing aids. If you are from that old school who is unwilling to upgrade to the latest digital hearing aids, then it’s time that you must. Because you have so many reasons to do so. Not only will you have an enhanced listening experience, but the modern digital hearing aid devices also come with feedback suppression capabilities. However, if you are already a digital hearing aid user and you can still hear those disturbing sounds, then there might be some problem in your device.

  • Check the fit of your device. Try pushing your device deep inside your ear canal as far as possible to create a tighter seal. An improperly fitted hearing aid might allow the amplified sound waves to escape and find their way back to the microphone. This causes the sounds to be re-amplified for which they appear distorted. Ask your audiologist to fit your hearing aids properly, and also ensure that the ear tip of your machine is of the correct size and the right fit, and not just lie there in your ear canal loosely.

  • Check for earwax buildup. If sounds strike against a hard block of earwax, they might bounce back out of the ear, get re-amplified, thus producing annoying sounds.

It is always recommended to consult a professional audiologist to analyse the problem that is causing feedback sounds. If there is a problem with the device, he or she will make fine-tuning or adjustments. He or she might also recommend you to go for digital hearing aids having feedback suppression features.

Comments | Posted in Digital Hearing Aids Hearing Aid Devices By Phalguni Bannerjee

My Hearing Aids Got Wet! What to Do?

Wednesday, September 18, 2019 7:02:56 PM Asia/Calcutta

Did you just drop your hearing aid devices in water accidentally or forgot to take them out while having a cool shower? We know that you have been very careful with your devices since the first day, but accidents do occur! What to do in such a situation? We will talk about that in this blog.

Electronics and water don’t mix, but that doesn’t mean that everything is lost. And the good news is that some modern digital hearing aids of today come with moisture-proof features that can protect your device during the sweaty summer seasons. So if you accidentally drop your hearing aids in water or forget putting it off before going to bath, don’t panic! Here are some simple steps you can do to get them in full working position again.

  1. Remove the hearing aid machine as quickly as possible from water. The lesser the watery area it has fallen into, the better are the chances of recovery.

  2. Turn it right away and remove the battery immediately. Throw the battery and never use it again.

  3. Close the battery door and remove the tube (if any) and gently dry it with a soft towel. Also, gently shake the tube of your hearing aid devices to get as much water out as possible.

  4. Use a hearing aid dryer or other drying tools provided in the hearing aid kit to remove any trapped moisture. Never use a hair dryer or a microwave oven to do so. Extreme heat is harmful for hearing aid devices.

  5. Leave the hearing aid machine to dry out completely.

  6. Put in a fresh battery and try using it.

  7. It it still doesn’t work, then send the device immediately to your service centre for repair.

So before you give up, there might still be a chance. However, make sure to be more careful with your hearing aid devices from now onwards.

This blog on care and maintenance tips for hearing aids might help: https://hearingplus.in/ourblog/How_to_Increase_the_Longevity_of_Your_Hearing_Aids

Consult your audiologist from time to time in case you notice hearing changes. He or she will adjust your digital hearing aids according to your hearing needs. For guidance with decision-making while you plan to buy hearing aids or to follow some other hearing loss treatment, get expert advice from our professional audiologists at your nearest hearing aid clinic.

9 Tips to Protect Our Hearing Health

Friday, September 13, 2019 8:11:45 PM Asia/Calcutta

While you have been worrying about how to choose the right hearing aid devices or which would be a reliable hearing aid clinic, did you know that you could have prevented this from happening? It would have been better if you turned the volume down while watching the favourite show of yours or listening to that favourite music. Yes, there are a host of reasons that might cause hearing loss, but most of the time it is due to exposure to loud noises. And surprisingly, most hearing loss problems are preventable. Prevention is always better than cure!

Why Should I Protect My Hearing?

It’s simple! You need to prevent yourself from acquiring hearing loss! Because a healthy hearing health means a healthy and happy life.

We often take our hearing for granted and never even realise that we need to take care of it! We listen to music, watch TV shows or listen to our favourite radio programme, for hours together, without almost giving a break in between. We don’t care to protect our ears while stuck in a noisy road full of honking of vehicles. We love attending rock concerts and dance to the rhythm of the playlist played by some cool DJ at a disco. The list is endless!

Among all these activities, your ears are crying for help! You might fail to realise that such habits and activities might damage thew very hearing that is enabling us to hear! So while you enjoy listening, take care that you do it responsibly and within certain limits!

Hearing loss, in most cases, it is progressive in nature and is irreversible if it is a permanent one. So let’s face the harsh truth. Once you lose your hearing, it’s gone forever! Yes, it’s true that as you start ageing, you are going to face certain loss of hearing. But the more careful and protective you are about your hearing health, the more would be the years you are going to enjoy with a healthy hearing.

 

What Causes Hearing Loss?

Most of us are sure to experience hearing loss at some point in our lifetime because it is almost inevident as we start ageing. But delaying the age of onset is in our hands, and we can prevent it till as long as possible. While some causes are not in our hands, but the major cause is preventable - that being exposed to very loud noises.

 

What occurs in your ears that leads to hearing loss?

Now, coming to the main scenario that causes you to suffer from a hearing impairment, let’s understand a bit of hearing mechanism first. The inner ear has a spiral-shaped cochlea which receives sound waves from the middle ear, after getting amplified by the ear ossicles. Our cochlea consists of thousands of tiny hair-like sensitive structure called hair cells. After receiving these sound waves, the hair cells in the cochlea convert them into electrical impulses and send them to our brain via the auditory nerve. It is at this point when sound is perceived by us.

This is why it is necessary to go for an early hearing diagnosis than regretting later! So before it’s too late, here are nine easy tips for you to protect that vital organ of yours!

 

9 Ways You Can Protect Your Precious Ears!

  • Use earplugs or earmuffs while you are around some loud noises. Always make it a point to carry a pair in your bags wherever you travel. According to studies, noise-induced hearing loss or NIHL is the most popular cause of permanent hearing loss across the world.

  • Turn the volume down. While listening to music, make sure that you don’t put the volume too high. Also, lessen the duration of listening at a stretch. Many audiologists suggest following the 60-60 rule while listening to your favourite music - which states that the ideal and safe volume should not be more than 60%, having a duration of not more than 60 minutes.

  • Take listening breaks. It is always recommended that one should not listen to anything for hours together. You must always take listening breaks in between. This will give time for your ears to recover, especially if you are at a loud listening situation like rock concerts or a disco. If possible, step outside for 5-10 minutes after every half an hour or so and give your ears the required time to rest.

  • Take medications only as directed. There are certain ototoxic medications which are harmful to your hearing health. So always refer a doctor before taking any.

  • Stop using cotton swabs or sharp tools to clean your ears. Firstly because your earwax has a lot of beneficial qualities like keeping away dirt and infection germs, and secondly because these might hurt or injure the internal delicate parts of your ears.

  • Keep your ears dry. Make sure you wipe your ears dry with a soft cloth or better still you can block water from entering the ear canal with the help of custom-fit swimmers’ earplugs after bathing or swimming. Excess moisture can be harmful to your ears as it attracts bacteria which might attack your ear canal and cause infections.

  • Exercise properly. Do you know exercise is good for your ears as well? Activities like walking, cycling, running or jogging improve blood circulation in your ears, thus keeping them healthy and properly functional. However, while you are cycling or riding a motorbike, make sure to wear a helmet, so that if you fall you can protect your head, along with your ears.

  • Manage stress levels. Too much stress and anxiety are often linked to permanent or temporary tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Stress creates pressure on your nerves and blood vessels, thus affecting blood circulation in your body parts - including your ears.

  • Regular hearing check-ups are a must! Even if you might feel that you are hearing fine, you might never know. It’s always better to be sure. Get your hearing tested from time to time by consulting a professional and certified audiologist at your nearest hearing aid clinic.

A hearing loss treatment or the act of wearing hearing aid devices is not as easy as you might think. They will definitely help you out, especially if you buy the latest digital hearing aids. But they can do nothing other than making the most out of your residual hearing abilities. Once your hearing is gone, it won’t come back again! So protect it while you can! Isn’t it better to prevent it than buying hearing aid devices?

Stay healthy and be a responsible family member!

Are You Fed Up of Your Hearing Aid Whistling Sounds?

Thursday, March 29, 2018 5:29:07 PM Asia/Calcutta

Hearing aids are very delicate devices that need proper care and maintenance, otherwise it might backfire on you. If you have been experiencing feedback sounds, such as whistling, quite often from your hearing aid devices, do not tolerate these noises. It’s high time that you need to change them. It is quite annoying and in fact, harmful for the hearing aid user. In such a case, instead of treating your hearing loss, hearing aid devices with annoying whistling sounds might even damage your overall hearing health. Are you paying for making your hearing health grow more adverse?

Health Issues Caused due to Untreated or Improperly Treated Hearing Loss

Now you may ask the most obvious question, “How is my hearing health going to be affected due to feedback sounds arising out of hearing aid devices?” Untreated or badly treated hearing loss can have a negative effect on the brain. This is to say, that if the sound processing (auditory) centre of the brain is not properly stimulated with all kinds of sounds, then a time may come, when the brain will forget the sounds it did not hear properly for a long time. As a result, it would not recognise those sounds, and the person might eventually suffer from Auditory Deprivation. Studies show that a person suffering from Auditory Deprivation for a long time would gradually develop the risks of Dementia - a condition in which the affected person suffers from mental disorders like anxiety and forgetfulness. All these issues will lead to social isolation and loneliness. So it is extremely important for you to not only treat your hearing problems on time, but you should also wear your hearing aid devices properly.

 

Causes of Feedback Sounds

There can be many causes of feedback sounds arising out of your hearing aids, the most obvious being -

  • Improperly fitted ear mold or shell.

  • Excessive accumulation of earwax in your ear canal, for which the hearing aid devices are not in their proper place.

  • Another astonishing reason of feedback sounds is when the ear mold of the listening device is pointed in the wrong direction, that is, instead of being pointed towards the eardrum, the mold is pointed towards the walls of the ear canal. This causes the sound waves to strike hard against these ear canal walls, thus creating feedback sounds.

  • Some internal damages in the parts of the hearing aid devices might also result in acoustic leakages and the production of feedback sounds. This may include hole in the ear mold due to rough cleaning.

 

How to Fix It?

Too much accumulation of earwax might block the ear canal, and this has become the major cause of feedback generation from your hearing aids. While sound waves leave the ear mold, they get reflected back from the solid walls of the earwax and if the mold is fitted improperly the sound leaks out and thus they create disturbing whistling sounds. It is very similar to a hose pipe spraying the water all over the garden, in all directions. Hence, it is very important for you to consult an ENT Specialist to get your ears cleaned of any excessive earwax and dirt.

Another common reason of feedback sounds is loosely fitted hearing aid devices. In case of children who are at their growing stage, due to the growth of their ear canals, their hearing aids become loose. So it is very important to change the ear mold of your hearing aid devices from time to time so as to make them properly fitted in your ears, and not experience any annoying sounds. Also, these annoying feedback sounds affect the user’s listening experience tremendously, as a result of which the person might altogether lose the interest to wear hearing aids. Not wearing hearing aids might in turn have adverse effects on the hearing impaired person.

A complete solution to all the above problems is to opt for digital hearing aid devices, which not only take care of these issues but also have a feedback cancellation technology. These are custom made and easily adjustable user-friendly devices, wearing which you will feel comfortable.

In a nutshell, always wear custom-made hearing aid devices, that fits properly in your ear. Never compromise on listening devices, as a wrong decision might make situations adverse. However, always keep in mind to consult a trained Audiologist before arriving at a final conclusion.

Comments | Posted in Hearing Aid Devices By Phalguni Bannerjee

How to Improve Sound Quality of Your Hearing Aids?

Tuesday, January 16, 2018 2:10:18 PM Asia/Calcutta

Hearing aids are delicate instruments that need proper care regularly so as to increase the machine’s longevity. Your Audiologist will give you proper guidance for keeping your hearing aid in good condition for as long as possible. This will not only improve the performance of the device, but will also provide a better sound quality. At the end of the day, it is your responsibility to take care of your precious device, and your hearing health as well.

Researchers are continuously working on making hearing aid devices better, so as to improve the listening experience of the hearing impaired persons. So accordingly it is their duty to take extreme care of their devices, so as to keep them functional for as long as possible. Here are some tips that Audiologists give to the users of hearing aid devices worldwide, so as to keep their quality and performance intact.

  • Clean your device regularly - You must clean your device daily with a soft, dry cloth to remove dirt and impurities so as to avoid any blockages or disturbances in the hearing aid devices. Remove the earmolds to clean them up in mild soap solution. Dry them properly using forced air blower or hearing aid dryers (not with hair dryers, microwave or oven), and make sure that they are completely dry before replacing them in the hearing aid devices. Consult your product literature for getting a proper guidance on cleaning your device.

  • Replace batteries regularly - Consult your Audiologist and/or your product literature for instructions on how frequently you are required to change and/or recharge the batteries of your hearing aid devices. Generally batteries last for about 1-2 weeks; however, it may vary from product to product. You should always keep spare batteries handy, so as to avoid any issues during emergency situations. Also, test your batteries with a battery tester regularly, to check whether they are in full strength. Always store your batteries in a cool and dry place. Another tip to increase the longevity of the batteries of hearing aid devices is to remove the batteries from your device whenever you are not using it, for example, while you are sleeping or taking a shower. Also, keep in mind to dispose off weak and old batteries properly, as they contain toxic substances.

  • Perform listening checks daily - Your Audiologist will show you how to perform a listening check of your device, generally by using a listening tube. You should do this regularly to test whether your hearing aid devices are producing good quality and distortion-free sound. If you find the sound to be cracked or raspy even after changing the batteries, immediately consult your Audiologist.

  • Check whether the volume keys and program keys are properly controlled - If you hear weak and feeble sounds even with fresh batteries, then check whether your volume keys are turned up. Even after turning them well up if you hear weak and feeble sounds, then consult your Audiologist for reprogramming your hearing aid devices and properly regulating the program keys.

  • Avoid feedback sounds - Wear your hearing aid devices properly so as to avoid any feedback from within the device, like annoying whistling sounds. Feedback occurs when sound comes out of the earmold and re-enters the microphone. It arises mainly when they are fitted improperly. These noises affect the sound quality, and the overall performance of the machine. Hearing feedback might suggest that the earmold is too small, and it needs to be changed. So clean your device and your ear canal regularly, or get your earmolds changed, by consulting with your Audiologist. You can also try turning down the volume, as it not only reduces feedback, but also allows you to hear only the important sounds. However, modern digital hearing aid devices come in a feedback cancellation feature.

  • Prevent moisture from entering the hearing aid devices - Avoid your device from getting wet or catching moisture. So it is very important to dry clean your hearing aid from time to time, and to take it off before going to the shower. Always remove hearing aid devices in a safe and dry place, such as your bedroom where you can sit down and remove them properly, and not in your bathroom. Also, remove them by laying a soft cloth, to cushion the blow and to avoid bouncing of their parts over a hard surface. Always store your hearing aid devices properly in the product box, and in a cool and dry place. If by any chance your device falls in water, then immediately remove its batteries and keep the battery doors open, and dry them completely with hearing aid dryers. Rest them for about an hour or two, or if possible, overnight. If they do not work in the morning, even with fresh batteries, then consult your Audiologist immediately. Preventing moisture from entering into your hearing aid devices will not only improve their sound quality, but will increase their longevity as well.

In the end, you should always consult your Audiologist regularly to give you the right type of hearing aid devices according to your specific needs and to make minor adjustments in them. Never take any decision yourself, as all hearing aids would not suit you. It is your duty and responsibility to take proper care of your ear, which is an extremely important organ of your body, and your ear health determines your overall quality of life.

Comments | Posted in Hearing Aid Devices By Phalguni Bannerjee
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