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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.

I Can Hear, But I Cannot Understand!

Sunday, September 8, 2019 11:22:50 PM Asia/Calcutta

Do you know what is the most received complaint from people who have recently started facing hearing difficulties? It’s ‘I can hear, but I cannot understand!’ or ‘the words appear blurry and unclear’, or ‘why don’t you speak clearly and stop mumbling?’, and the like. If this is the case with you, then yes it’s most likely that you have hearing loss. Or if you have faced any of your loved ones coming up with statements like this, try to help them out. You (or your loved one) need to treat this condition at the earliest - because most of the times, hearing loss is progressive in nature. Hearing loss treatment is not a big deal nowadays, with such advanced technological innovations in the field of audiology.

Our Hearing Mechanism

This brings us to the question of how the hearing procedure works and what are the steps involved in it.

Our hearing is a complex process which is not limited to the functioning of the ears itself but involves the brain as well. It is our brain that is responsible for the actual part of hearing. If your brain fails to work properly, you won’t be able to understand or decode the meaning of the sound you are hearing. And this is why some people with untreated hearing loss complain that even though they could hear, they find it difficult to understand the meaning of it, and this is most evident in speech understanding such as during conversations.

While it is the job of the brain to translate the sounds as they receive into meaningful words, our ears are responsible for amplifying and delivering the sounds to the brain after converting them into meaningful signals which can be decoded easily by our brain.

To know more about how the hearing mechanism of human beings and other mammals works, consider going through this blog: https://hearingplus.in/ourblog/How-Do-We-Hear-An-Insight-into-Our-Hearing-Mechanism/

 

Hearing vs. Understanding

The first thing that you must do is getting a hearing test done. In a hearing diagnostic test, your results would be plotted on an audiogram. If you are diagnosed with a high-frequency hearing loss, you would find it difficult to hear the high-pitched sounds. While on the other hand, you might have a completely normal hearing ability in the low-frequency range and can hear low-pitched sounds quite perfectly. In speech, the high-pitched sounds include the consonant sounds like S, F, Th, Sh, V, K, P, while the vowels A, E, I, O and U are low in pitch. Studies show that most of the people with hearing impairment experience a high-frequency hearing loss. This explains why some people with hearing loss find it difficult to get hold of the meaning even though they can hear the sounds.

 

Signs of High-Frequency Hearing Loss

Check out for these signs that are common with people suffering from high-frequency hearing loss.

  • Difficulty following and understanding conversations both in quiet and in noisy listening situations

  • Difficulty talking over the phone

  • Trouble understanding TV or radio shows even after turning the volume up

  • You no longer find listening to music soothing or pleasurable as they seem distorted, especially at higher volumes

  • Trouble understanding the voices of women and children because they are usually high-pitched in nature

  • Friends, family members or colleagues often get frustrated and feel you aren’t listening to them

  • This leads to misunderstandings in your personal relationships

  • You feel tired and exhausted from listening

So the next time your spouse accuses you of having a ‘selective hearing’ you must not delay on getting a proper hearing loss treatment, because it’s high time that you should! An untreated hearing loss would bring along more health issues including both physical and psychological.

Talk to your audiologist today and get the right hearing aid machine. The digital hearing aids of today not only help you get rid of all these difficult situations but would also make your life a healthy one, making this world a happy place to live in.

Do I Have Hearing Loss? 5 Early Signs and Symptoms

Saturday, August 31, 2019 1:25:28 PM Asia/Calcutta

Hearing loss often comes in creepingly and gradually stealing your hearing ability without your knowledge until the damage is done. And in most of the cases, hearing loss is due to ageing - a condition known as presbycusis and is permanent in nature which is irreversible. In other words, once you lose your hearing, it is gone forever. You will, of course, be able to hear again with the help of hearing aids, but your natural hearing abilities won’t be recovered.

One doesn’t realise that hearing loss has already entered into one’s happy life until the individual starts facing various problems. You might start noticing changes in your hearing like missing out your favourite sounds or parts of an important conversation. All these changes are so gradual that often people with hearing loss can’t realise it until it’s quite too late.

You might think that people are mumbling or that the TV or the radio needs repairing because they are not as audible as before. But the fact is your hearing changed, so it is you who needs to consider taking part in a proper hearing loss treatment programme from a recognised hearing aid clinic.

So here are five most common signs of hearing loss which would help you to understand where the problem lies behind your missing out being a part of this beautiful world of sounds.

  • You have difficulty hearing consonant sounds. If you are old enough to have developed age-related hearing loss or presbycusis, then you could probably relate to this. Presbycusis usually comes with high-frequency hearing loss, that is one would not be able to hear the high-pitched sounds. In speech, one would have difficulties hearing the consonant sounds like S, F, Th, Sh, V, K, and P.

  • You can no longer hear the sounds of nature. When did you last hear the beautiful sounds like the birds chirping, or the pitter-patter of the rain, or the leaves rustling on the blowing of a gentle breeze? Yes, you have been missing them out for quite a long time.

  • Understanding conversations in crowded places is a challenge. For instance, if you are in a restaurant you would find it difficult to focus on what the person you are conversing with is trying to say. In such a situation, audiologists often suggest opting for advanced digital hearing aids with noise reduction features that would eliminate the background noises and help you stay focused on your conversation.

  • Listening is strainful for you! Hearing loss means you are bound to miss out on parts of the conversation you are taking part in. And naturally, you would try not to miss out any, and hence end up putting more effort to listen properly. This would tire out your brain, making you feel more tired and fatigued at the end of the day.

  • You hear ringing sounds constantly. Nothing is more annoying and disturbing than constant sounds like ringing or buzzing running on persistently. They are quite unpleasant, often making it difficult for you to stay focused on your work.

If you consult a professional Audiologist, you would probably be recommended wearing good digital hearing aids, which perform better than the analog ones. Buy hearing aids only after getting expert consultation to have the best listening experience. So no more missing out on the wonderful moments of life!

How Loud is Too Loud?

Sunday, August 18, 2019 11:05:11 PM Asia/Calcutta

You may be a great music lover and love to keep your favourite playlist running on for hours with your headphones put one. You love to dance to its rhythm and be absolutely lost in your own world. But do you know that even that lovely tune is harmful to your ears?

Each day we are exposed to harmfully loud sounds - be it traffic, loudspeakers on the streets, construction equipment, televisions, and the like - which means a constant attack to our ears and hence our precious hearing! Most of the times you get tempted by those loud songs and end up being exposed to high decibels of noises, such as going to a rock concert, burning firecrackers in celebration or during Diwali - our favourite festival of lights, blowing the horn in impatience while travelling to office, or as simple as turning the TV or radio volume or playing some music player at the comfort of your room. All these little activities might greatly increase the risks of hearing loss and it’s high time that you must be cautious.

Yes, there are advanced methods of hearing loss treatment today - be it high quality digital hearing aids packed with a host of smart and intelligent features or cochlear implants, which are designed to provide you the best listening experience, but the harsh reality is no treatment of hearing loss can ever bring back your natural hearing, once it’s gone! And in most cases, noise-induced hearing loss or NIHL is permanent in nature and the damage remains forever. A good hearing aid machine can only amplify the sound for you and do nothing more!

 

How Will You Know If You Are at Risk of Hearing Loss?

Did anyone ever tell you to turn down the volume of your music in your headphones, or your television or radio? If yes, then do listen to them; they might be right! It is simply because the music which you feel is okay or you are comfortable in, might be too loud for others. Now before you turn up the volume again, learn how loud is really very loud for your ears? And what is the safe listening duration for each decibel of sound? Here’s a table describing each sound decibel along with their sources.

 

Noise Source

    dB   

  Safe Exposure Time

  Effect on Humans

Whisper

30

Infinite

None

Rain

50

Infinite

None

Dishwasher

60

Infinite

None

Food Mixer

70

Infinite

None

Washing Machine

80

Infinite

None

Traffic

85

8 hours

Risk

Lawnmower

90

2 hours

Risk

Power Tools

100

15 minutes

Injurious

Chainsaw

110

2 minutes

Injurious

Jackhammer

120

15 seconds

Injurious

Ambulance Siren

130

0 seconds

Dangerous

Firecrackers

140

0 seconds

Dangerous

Gunshot

165

0 seconds

Dangerous

 

When to Seek Help?

While some noises can be avoided easily, others are not in your hand. In such a case where you can’t help it but be exposed to these loud noises, do consider self-protecting your ears with the help of earplugs or earmuffs. Do consider carrying them wherever you go, because in certain situations you are really going to need them.

However, if you do find certain hearing problems, do get a hearing test done immediately. Learn about the signs and symptoms of hearing loss in our previous blog: ‘Hearing Loss: Early Signs and Treatment’.

Depending on how loud the sound is and how long the duration of exposure is, you can be at risk of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). While some noises can cause mild to moderate hearing loss, other extremely loud ones can cause severe to profound loss - thereby, damaging your hearing permanently.

But there is nothing to panic in such a case. There are so many advanced hearing loss treatment technologies like digital hearing aids or cochlear implants, which are both highly effective and risk-free.

Learn about some cool must-have features in the modern-day digital hearing aids, if you are planning to buy one: ‘7 Must-have Features in Your Digital Hearing Aids’.

Consult a certified Audiologist before making a decision, and get your hearing checked from a recognised hearing aid clinic from time to time. Based on your test results your Audiologist will decide the best solution for you in case you are diagnosed with a hearing loss.

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