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Natalie Harvey

Senior Assistant Technical Officer - Team Lead

How to stop a hearing aid from whistling or buzzing?

Posted on 2021-06-02 08:13:00 in General

If patients have a whistling or buzzing from a hearing aid this can be due to several reasons. As an Assistant Technical Officer (ATO) running busy repair clinics we see a lot of this in our appointments.

What happens if a hearing aid is buzzing?

Firstly, we would service the hearing aids and listen to them using stetaclips, this gives us a clear understanding of what the patient is hearing if there is a ‘buzz’ or audible white noise this can be down to the aid becoming faulty and needing replacing.

What happens if a hearing aid is whistling?

Some patients come in and explain they are experiencing a whistling sound which can become worse when the aid is turned up.

This is usually due to the ears being blocked with wax or an infection. Although we can identify if a patient has an infection, we cannot prescribe any antibiotics this, needs to be done by a GP.

If there is ‘occluding’ wax, this means the ear canal is completely blocked and will cause the hearing aids to whistle.  This is because there is nowhere for the sound to go, and it bounces off the wall of wax causing a whistling or ‘feedback’ sound.

Blocked ears may require wax removal

If a patient has blocked ears, we advise them to seek wax removal. The method used is either syringing or micro suction, the latter is preferrable as it is less likely to cause a perforation.

This can be done at local GP surgeries, unfortunately due to covid many practises have stopped this.  We can put in an ENT referral for microsuction, or patients can pay to have the wax removal privately, we offer this service at Chime Hearing Centre in the Harlequins.

Patients are advised use olive oil spray for 7-10 days before removal to soften the wax particularly if it is dry impacted wax.  It is wise to use olive oil at night when the hearing aids will not be worn for several hours. 

If a patient needs help stopping a hearing aid from whistling or buzzing or they think may have wax they can come to come to our walk-in hearing aid repair clinics based at the Royal Devon and Exeter, Wonford and Chime Hearing Centre in the Harlequins Centre or one of our booked locality repairs clinics where you can see an ATO to have your queries answered.