When your hearing is at a level where it is necessary to wear behind the ear hearing aids (or BTEs), then the ear mould fit quality is crucial to the effectiveness of the devices.
By the way, when talking about BTEs, we mean hearing aids with thick 3mm tubing and ear hook. Those with thin 1mm tubes are termed THIN TUBE (commonly dispensed by NHS), and those with thin wires are termed RIC (receiver in the ear).
So, I notice certain common problems with severe to profound hearing loss fittings:
1. One is that the ear mould is aged (get it replaced if it is yellowing or orange colour, brittle, or in any way damaged);
2. The tubing is not being changed regularly (the ear mould tubing should be soft and pliant when pinched). If the tubing is brittle, discoloured, cloudy, torn or if it has debris inside, then you need new tubing.
3. The mould itself is too shallow. As a rough indicator, ear moulds should be extended down the ear canal if the hearing loss is severe+. For various reasons, many ear moulds in use are too shallow in the ear canal. This will cause loss of useful gain and increase feedback issues (whistling).
4. The mould is ill-fitting. Unfortunately, ears change shape through life, so it is quite plausible that your ear moulds do not fit as well as they need to (very snug, without being uncomfortable).
5. The aid itself over-compresses. Many modern digital hearing aids which may perform quite wonderfully for those with a mild to moderate hearing loss do not work so well for severe+ losses as they may adjust volume downwards when not required.
6. Loop / T-coil (and FM / Radio) function is under-utilised. There are additional features in most BTEs that can assist you to hear better in challenging environments. However, I’m continually surprised at the lack of awareness in this area.
7. The most frustrating problem is so common. It is the way the ear mould is situated in the user’s ear. If it’s not right, then volume is lost and whistling occurs.
These two photos above show the ear mould helix part (top) not fitted into the ear correctly.
This 3rd photo shows a great quality ear mould (Starkey Silicone E2108) fitted into the concha of the ear correctly.
We are experts in handling the complexities of severe to profound hearing loss. Call us to book an appointment with Jo or Alan.