Ball joints and cv joints don't squeak, at least not like that. There are squealers that when brake pads get low, they may seem ok but are needing replacement soon. See if one of those are hitting all 4 wheels have them.
There is a tool you might be able to borrow or rent from an auto parts store that borrows them called the "Chassis Ear". It is a set of six microphones, a switch box, and headphones. You clip the microphones to suspect points, then drive around while listening with the headphones. You can move the microphones around to zero in on the source of the noise. Be aware that many mechanics have never seen or even heard of this tool. Suspension and alignment mechanics use it to find rattles, squeaks, and other noises.
Some common but elusive causes of what you described include an axle seal in the transmission, a wear indicator on a brake pad, and a rubbing splash shield touching a brake rotor. I've into a half dozen squealing axle seals in the ten years I worked at a very nice Chrysler dealership. My '88 Grand Caravan started doing that about five years ago, ... So I kept driving. It stopped a year later, then just started doing it again last year. People walking through parking lots get out of my way for fear of parts falling off or something is about to explode! To verify this you need a can of spray oil with an extension tube. You have to douse the back side of the inner cv joint housing with a lot of grease or oil to insure some reaches the seal. That will stop the noise for an hour to few days, but the proper fix is to replace the seal.
It is common for brake pad wear indicators to start squealing already when half the lining is left. Those may not squeal on a hoist when the wheels are removed because the rotors aren't being clamped tightly and they can move away from the little metal tabs that make that sound. You can often identify that as the source of the noise by running it in gear with the front wheels raised off the ground. Also, the noise will almost always change by pressing the brake pedal. Usually the noise will stop when the brake pedal is applied lightly.
I have a metal splash shield rubbing on my van right now. The right wheel and rotor flex just enough to rub on the shield when I turn left, but that is more of a grinding sound, similar to a stuck tree branch dragging on the ground.
If none of these things seem to be the cause of the noise, you'll need that Chassis Ear, especially if the car has to be moving for it to occur.
Wednesday, June 5th, 2013 AT 9:44 PM