Feature Contributors Archives for 2023-03

Why Does my Hearing Aid Whistle?

Why Does my Hearing Aid Whistle?


Have you heard someone’s hearing aid make an embarrassing, high-pitched noise? A blockage or leak in the transmission of sound results in an annoying, squealing sound called “feedback.”

Below are a few reasons for feedback along with some simple solutions.


Excessive ear wax is one common cause of feedback.

Hearing aid microphones have the job of picking up sound, which gets funneled through the ear canal. When the ear canal is filled with wax, the amplified sounds make their way back to the microphone. Removing earwax should remedy the problem.


Check the plastic tube if your ear mold is designed that way.

A small tear in the tube can be the culprit. Wear and tear of an old tube can result in shrinkage, leaving a gap between the mold and tubing. A new tubing can easily solve the feedback issue.


Misaligned hearing aid microphones can create feedback.

Your Hearing Care Practitioner can troubleshoot to determine if the problem requires a repair. This malfunction is typically covered under the manufacturer’s original warranty.


A poorly fit hearing aid or earpiece can be the root of feedback issues.

A too small, too open, or ill-fitting earpiece can create feedback. Designing a custom earpiece can easily correct this or changing the style of disposable dome may help.


When a hearing aid is set too loud, feedback can result.

This problem can be resolved by visiting an Hearing Care Practitioner . There are tricks to remedy this, or it is possible that you may need a different solution with more power.


Don’t accept feedback as normal. There are solutions. Ask an Audiologist. We’d love to help.

How to know if our loved ones have a hearing loss

Our loved ones mean the world to us, and it can be difficult when they start to pull away from social situations. As we watch them age, we may notice changes in their behavior that could indicate a hearing loss. Hearing loss is a progressive condition that can go unnoticed for years, making it essential to identify the signs of hearing loss as early as possible. Here are some signs to look out for:

  1. The "Huh's" or "What's"? One of the most common signs of hearing loss is difficulty hearing conversations. You may notice that your loved one is always asking people to repeat themselves, or they may complain that others are speaking too softly. They may also turn up the volume on the television or radio to levels that others find uncomfortable.
  2. Avoiding Group Situations If your loved one starts to avoid social gatherings or group settings, it could be a sign of hearing loss. This is because it becomes increasingly difficult to follow conversations when there is background noise or when multiple people are talking at once. You might notice that they nod along to conversations without engaging, or they may not participate in discussions as actively as they once did.
  3. Forgetting Things Hearing loss can also impact memory retention. If your loved one starts to forget things more often, it could be because they did not hear the information in the first place. This can lead to feelings of frustration and may also cause them to withdraw from social situations.
  4. Asking for Repetitions If your loved one often asks people to repeat themselves or complains that they are mumbling, it could be a sign of hearing loss. People with hearing loss often rely on lip reading and facial cues to understand what others are saying, and if they cannot see your face when you're talking, they may not hear you well.

If you notice any of these signs in your loved one, it's important to approach the issue with empathy and understanding. Start by asking them how they feel about their hearing and be open and honest about what you've noticed. Encourage them to have a hearing test to understand their hearing ability and what they can do about it.

In Australia, it is recommended that adults aged over 50 should have an annual hearing check. Having a supportive person by their side can make all the difference in their health and wellbeing. Help them take the first step to better hearing and better relationships. Book a hearing test appointment with your local ihear clinic.

Remember, hearing loss can be managed effectively with the right treatment, and by addressing it early, you can help reduce frustrations and improve your loved one's quality of life.

Cerumen management

Cerumen, also known as ear wax, is a natural substance produced by the glands in the ear canal. While it serves a protective role in the ear, excessive or impacted ear wax can lead to hearing difficulties, discomfort, and even infection. In such cases, cerumen management, including ear irrigation, may be necessary.

Ear irrigation is a safe and effective method for removing excess ear wax. It involves flushing the ear canal with a gentle stream of water to loosen and flush out the wax. You can schedule and appointment with your physician an ENT or other hearing healthcare professional, like myself, to assist you if needed. At Affordable Hearing, we utilize the first ever automated and FDA-cleared ear cleaning device to help get the job done quickly and painlessly.

If you are going to attempt to perform an ear irrigation at home, you can simply follow these steps.

Before irrigating, it is important to soften the wax for several days by using over-the-counter ear drops, such as mineral oil or a brand like Debrox. This will help to make the irrigation process more comfortable and effective. We ask our patients to make sure to do this 3 to 5 days prior to their appointment.

Here is a step-by-step guide to properly irrigating your ears at home:

  1. Fill a bulb syringe with warm water (not hot) and add a pinch of salt to help break up the ear wax.
  2. Lean your head to the side with the affected ear facing upwards.
  3. Hold the bulb syringe with the tip pointed toward the ear and gently squeeze the bulb to release the water into the ear canal.
  4. Keep the head tilted for several minutes to allow the water to penetrate the ear canal and loosen the wax.
  5. Tilt your head to the opposite side to allow the water and wax to drain out of the ear.
  6. Repeat the process for the other ear, if necessary.

It is important to avoid using cotton swabs, paper clips, or any other foreign objects to try to remove ear wax, as this can push the wax further into the ear canal and potentially cause damage.

Additionally, it is essential to avoid using irrigation if you have any of the following conditions:

  1. A perforated eardrum
  2. A history of eardrum surgery
  3. An ear infection
  4. A foreign object in the ear canal

If you have any of these conditions, it is best to seek professional assistance from a hearing healthcare professional. They can safely remove the wax and determine if there are any underlying issues that need to be addressed.

In conclusion, ear wax build-up can be a common and frustrating problem, but it can easily be managed through proper cerumen management techniques, such as ear irrigation. By following the steps outlined above, you can help keep your ears healthy and free of excess wax. However, if you experience any discomfort, pain, or hearing difficulties, it is essential to seek professional help from a hearing healthcare professional. They can evaluate your ear health, provide safe and effective treatment options, and help you maintain good hearing health.

When should we get our hearing tested?

Hearing is an important sense that plays a crucial role in communication, balance, and overall quality of life.


As we age, our hearing abilities can decline, which can contribute to cognitive decline and even increase the risk of developing conditions such as dementia. That is why it is essential to get your hearing tested regularly and address any hearing issues as soon as possible.


According to recent research, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to when and how often someone should get their hearing tested. The frequency of hearing tests will depend on several factors, including age, lifestyle, and overall health.


Here are some general guidelines to help you determine when and how often you should get your hearing tested:

  1. Age: As you get older, your risk of developing hearing loss increases. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) recommends that adults over the age of 50 get their hearing tested at least once every decade. If you have a family history of hearing loss, it is recommended to get your hearing tested more frequently.
  2. Lifestyle: If you are regularly exposed to loud noise, such as music or machinery, you may be at an increased risk of developing hearing loss. In such cases, it is recommended to get your hearing tested at least once every three to five years.
  3. Overall health: If you have any medical conditions that can affect your hearing, such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease, it is recommended to get your hearing tested more frequently. Your healthcare provider can help determine the appropriate frequency of hearing tests for your specific needs.

In addition to these guidelines, it is important to get a hearing test if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  1. Difficulty hearing conversation or sounds around you
  2. Trouble understanding speech, especially in noisy environments
  3. Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  4. Dizziness or balance problems

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to seek professional assistance from a hearing healthcare professional. They can conduct a thorough hearing assessment and determine if you have a hearing loss and if so, what type and to what degree.


When it comes to getting your hearing tested, there are several types of hearing tests available, including:

  1. Pure-tone audiometry test: This test measures your ability to hear different frequencies and is typically conducted in a soundproof room using headphones.
  2. Speech audiometry test: This test measures your ability to understand speech and is conducted in a quiet room.
  3. Tympanometry: This test measures the movement of the eardrum in response to changes in air pressure and can help identify problems with the middle ear, such as fluid buildup.

Hearing tests are quick, painless, and non-invasive, and they provide valuable information about your hearing health. By getting your hearing tested regularly and addressing any hearing issues as soon as possible, you can help maintain good hearing health and reduce the risk of cognitive decline.


In conclusion, getting your hearing tested regularly is an essential component of maintaining good hearing health. The frequency of hearing tests will depend on several factors, including age, lifestyle, and overall health. If you are experiencing any hearing symptoms, it is important to seek professional assistance from a licensed hearing healthcare professional. They can conduct a thorough hearing assessment and provide you with the information and treatment options you need to maintain good hearing health and reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

Keeping Active During Winter Months

If You Don’t Use It, You Lose It…Keeping Active During Winter Months


Editors Note: Amy is Physical Therapist at Woodlawn Hospital. If you would like to schedule an appointment with her or one of her colleagues, please call 574-224-1160.


Indiana winters seem to drag on forever during the early months of the year, and those few warm days send everyone outside to get some much-needed Vitamin D and fresh air. These brief periods of high activity during an otherwise sedentary time of the year can put you at increased risk of injury. Staying active during the colder months will allow you to safely jump right back into those spring activities, like golfing, hiking, pickleball, or gardening.


Here are three tips to keep you moving this winter.

1. Try indoor workouts. There are thousands of free online exercise programs available to meet all levels of physical activity.

2. Park far away from the supermarket entrance and walk briskly through the parking lot when weather conditions allow. Avoid icy areas and watch for traffic.

3. Set ‘activity reminders’ on your phone or smartwatch to encourage walking throughout the day. It’s easy to get cozy on the couch and without realizing it, be inactive for hours at a time! Little reminders throughout the day can be super beneficial to increasing your activity.


You don’t have to hibernate during winter months. Stay active and spring will arrive before you know it!

Orthopedic Update

In my practice, I occasionally get asked to explain the difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as osteoporosis. It is a good question and it is important to understand the difference, as these diseases are diagnosed and treated differently.

Osteoarthritis (OA): The most common form of arthritis and often referred to as the "wear and tear" arthritis. The smooth, protective cushion of cartilage on the bones gradually wears away and this leads to stiffness and pain and eventually, difficulty with activities. It is commonly found in the middle to older age groups. Other causes include obesity, prior injury, and family history.

Osteoarthritis can be diagnosed with an x-ray.

Although there is no cure for osteoarthritis, there are treatment options that can offer benefits for pain relief, and to help with strength and mobility. These treatments may include over-the-counter or prescriptive anti-inflammatories; such as Ibuprofen, Aleve, Celebrex, or Mobic, etc. Other treatments include physical therapy, weight loss, steroid and lubricant injections in the arthritic joint, bracing, ice and elevation, and vitamin supplements. Finally, when nonsurgical medical management of the osteoarthritis is no longer effective, total joint replacements are considered. Treatment is provided by primary care and orthopedic specialty

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): The lining of the joints and surrounding tissue swell and eventually attacks and destroys the joint surface. This has an erosive effect on the cartilage and leads to deformity and pain. While it is not believed to be hereditary, there may be a gene that makes some people more susceptible to RA. Joint stiffness, pain, and swelling, including ultimate deformity are common symptoms. Triggers may include infection or environmental factors, and susceptible genes. The immune system then, designed to protect, begins to attack the joint instead.

RA is diagnosed with physical examination, medical history, x-rays, and labs including Rheumatoid Factor.

Again, there is no cure for RA, but treatment options include: physical and occupational therapy and medications. Surgical joint replacement can also be considered. Treatment is provided by a primary care provider and/or a rheumatologist.

Osteoporosis: Condition where the bones become thin and weak, and more prone to fracture. The bones decrease in strength and quality as we age and the bone remodeling process is slowed down. More common in women, than in men. Loss of estrogen in women at menopause causes rapid bone loss. Poor nutrition and a sedentary lifestyle can cause adverse changes in the bone mass at earlier ages.

Osteopenia (Low Bone Mass): This is a "pre-osteoporosis" condition. Osteopenia and osteoporosis are sometimes diagnosed when a person experiences a bone fracture with a minor injury, that would otherwise not cause a fracture in a healthy person. Causes include aging, hormonal changes, and a genetic disposition. Certain medications can increase your risk for osteoporosis, so this should be discussed with your primary care physician when starting a new medication. Health conditions and lifestyle choices such as excessive alcohol use, smoking, and inactivity can also increase risk of osteoporosis.

Diagnosis includes a physical examination, medical history, family history; specialized x-ray called a bone densitometry or DXA scan.

All information was gathered from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) website. Free patient teaching guides on these diseases and more are available at orthoinfo.aaos.org