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This entry was posted on 21st May 2012 by Gary.
The main function of a hearing aid is to the help hard of hearing to improve their lives while allowing them to recognize and hear sounds and voices they were previously unable to due to their condition. Hearing aids use digital sound processing to reproduce sounds and deliver them to the ear as naturally as possible.
However, sometimes the hearing aid picks up not only the sounds that the wearer wants to hear but noise and feedback that are unpleasant to the ear. Many modern hearing aids have multiple features for suppressing background noise and eliminating feedback. Occasionally though, we cannot prevent such noises or occur due to problems with the electronics, poor maintenance or signal intermittence. An example of such undesired noise is static noise.
Static noise or white noise is a common disturbance of the an electronic signal. It can be caused by electromagnetic noise or thermal noise. The usual sources for these types of noises are electrical appliances or fluorescent light fixtures. The hearing aid receiver may pick up electromagnetic radiation from many types of electronic equipment if it is sensitive enough. Recent regulations have set a standard for such electrical equipment to lower the permitted radiation designed to help reduce/eliminate the issue of interference with other devices.
Static noise can also be a result of a problem inside the hearing aid. If that is the case, the problem needs to be corrected. There are several reasons why a hearing aid can produce static noise including dirt, moisture or battery depletion.
There are four main sources of static noise in hearing aids:
Battery status and quality are essential for the performance of hearing aids and their amplification and sound quality. You should ensure that the battery supplies the correct voltage to the hearing aid and that the battery makes the correct contacts. To prevent dirt from causing a disturbance in the signal, you should always insert batteries with clean hands. If you suspect that the problem is with the batteries, you can check if they are inserted correctly or replace them with new ones.
Another reason for static noise may be a manufacturing defect in some of the components, usually in the amplifier or wearing of a part. If that is the case, you need to turn to your audiologist or dispenser for information about replacement of the component or the whole hearing aid.
Avoid humidity as much as possible as it is very detrimental for hearing aids. That means not wearing or at least protecting hearing aids whilst out during rain or during heavy exercising that leads to excessive perspiration. Moisture and accumulated dirt may cause disturbances in the signal. You should clean and dry the hearing aid regularly.
Sometimes a noise that you perceive as a static noise may in fact be a noise that you have forgotten or not paid attention to before (e.g. a noisy fridge compressor). It will take time and patience to get used to all the sounds you hear with hearing aids. Sounds that you may confuse with static noise include rustling leaves, wind, rattling paper, etc.
If after cleaning the hearing aid or changing the batteries, the noise continues, it is best to turn to a specialist for a check or advice, as your hearing aid may be defective and in need of replacement.
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Author: Gary Hill
Gary comes from 16 years’ experience in the hearing aid industry in both manufacturing and retail. Before co-founding HearingDirect, Gary was Marketing Director for a leading global hearing aid brand; GN ReSound where he worked for the UK sales division and latterly in their global headquarters in Copenhagen. He was responsible for developing and launching major global hearing aid models, conducting extensive research into the needs of the hearing impaired community and their performance demands of hearing aids and other devices.
This entry was posted in Hearing Aids and tagged hearing aids, help & advice on 21st May 2012 by Gary.
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