Correctly Fitted Hearing Aid Molds Make a Big Difference

Who knew hearing aids could were so important? Most all of us have experienced old, cracked tubes which reduce hearing aid output and moisture in the tubes can play havoc with our hearing aids too. Other than that, I think we take our hearing aid molds for granted but lately I’ve learned bad fitting ear molds can make or break or a hearing aid’s potential.

Last August I received new hearing aids, Siemens Carats and I’ve posted some about my problems with them. One of the biggest problems was bad fitting ear molds made my Siemens. Right from the start my ear molds kept working out of my ear and I kept having to push them back in. Then I noticed if I pushed them in and held them in tightly, I heard differently…better. So I went back to my audiologist who ordered another pair and they didn’t fit well either so he suggested using fingernail polish to thicken it up a little. I applied 2 coats of red fingernail polish(my favorite color) and it helped some. I really liked having red mold since I couldn’t have red hearing aids. My new pair of ear molds came in with the same problem so I painted them too.

Other problems included a software update that crashed my t-coil program along with making all my programs sound the same. I continued to have feedback problems when going to hug people, which made me pull back. Who likes to hear squealing hearing aids? There were troubles with the bluetooth and not hearing right through that program. There’s a huge disappointment in the iPhone app for the EasyTek which at first seemed cool but ended up feeling more like a tease. (I hardly ever open that up anymore.)  Then my ears started getting sore on the inside from constantly pushing them back in so I let my audi know I just about hated these new hearing aids. This is my fifth pair of hearing aids and the only ones I haven’t had a ‘wow’ factor when getting new hearing aids. I couldn’t recommend them to anyone and didn’t feel like talking about them. I don’t like being a complainer so I quit writing about them too.  

My audiologist listened to my complaints and offered to order me new hearing aid molds from another company. We agreed on the soft rubbery ones which I remember working with my Widex hearing aids 10 or so years ago when they had to crank up the power after a big drop in hearing. He knows I like red so he ordered me red hearing aid molds too.

We switched out the hard plastic molds for the rubbery, soft, red molds a couple of weeks ago. There was a little of the stuffed up sound that I remembered with the old molds back when but it wasn’t as bad because there is a little vent hole. They felt comfortable right away and had a snug fit.

Now I have to back up a little. With my Phonak Naidas my best word discrimination score was 50%. With the Siemens I had 60% right away but with all the troubles I had, I couldn’t get excited. With the new, better fitting rubbery molds my word discrimination shot up to 72%. That’s a huge jump! I haven’t seen a 72% word discrimination score in years. Six months later I can finally see what my audi kept bragging about with these hearing aids. They have a lot of potential with a proper fitting ear mold.

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Now as I watch tv, I pick up words here and there. That hasn’t happened in years either. I noticed in a classroom setting the other day I could look down and take notes and still understand most of what was being said. Finally, after 6 months, I get my wow factor and I’m excited about wearing them again.

We worked out a few more bugs on the programs adding a specific bluetooth program to my aids because last week I realized I could not understand my mom on the phone without captions. My mom has a strong, clear voice and usually I can understand her above anyone else. Not through the bluetooth program and I even tried the bass from the iPhone app (another tease, it wouldn’t let me). Last night I called my mom as a test and talked to her for over an hour without captions and only needed a repeat about 5 times. Another major improvement.

I wouldn’t trade my audiologist for anything. He’s been very patient through the whole thing and he can program like no audi I’ve ever known. Maybe now I can start going back every 3 months or so instead 2 or 3 times a month. That would sure be nice. I have one more visit first. My right ear mold works out still but not as bad as with the hard plastic kind. I’m pushing it in maybe 3 times a day compared to 3 times an hour. He’s making me a thicker mold on that side to help keep it in. I must have the strongest ear muscles in the world.

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9 responses to “Correctly Fitted Hearing Aid Molds Make a Big Difference

  1. This is my first time here and im so glad i found you! My story is very similar to yours. I had a rough day at work with a co worker making comments about my hearing that she thinks is funny so i was looking for a support group online when i ran across your blog. Love your positive attitude and outlook!!

    • Thanks. I’m sorry it took so long to reply. I was traveling for over a week and somehow the email telling me I had a comment went into the wrong folder.
      Some people have a weird sense of humor. It’s hard not to roll my eyes when I tell someone I’m hard of hearing and they just keep repeating “What? What? What?” Someone who works with you makes it even worse, ugh. Maybe it’s time to sit them down for a serious chat? I’ve tried that in the past and most of the time it’s worked though a few times it didn’t. Maybe we can just turn our hearing aids off when we see them coming???

  2. I am a waitress and wear hearing aids and a customer came in who likes to tease me and started using his fingers like he was using sign language, and I told him I wasn’t there yet but I was thinking of 1 finger

    • I get a lot of jokers too, that a few times but mostly wanting to repeat “what” several times. They think it’s funny and I just stand there looking at them. The finger, an eye roll, a duh slap on the forehead…hard to resist at times!

  3. I am writing this for my mum. She has hearing Starkey? aids from Hidden Hearing. She will not wear them because all the background noise like boiling a kettle is so loud but she can’t hear us talking sat right next to her. They cost nearly £3500 and it is making her so depressed. They told her she would be able to hear the TV and Radio but she cannot and now they say she has to spend hundreds more for another piece of equipment if she wants to hear the radio even though they said her hearing has not deteriorated in the 7 months she has had them. Seems like a total rip off to me.
    One other question I cannot get my head around is she can hear me perfectly ok when I phone her. Her phone is a £50 bog standard BT phone straight out of the box with no amplifier or loop system. How can she hear through a basic phone but not hear through a hearing aid packed with all the latest so called digital technology? It doesn’t make any sense to me.
    Any advice gratefully received. My mum is 85 and I hate seeing her getting depressed because of her hearing aids.
    Kind regards
    Tony

    • It sounds to me like she needs to have the sounds in her hearing aids turned down until she adjusts to all the noise again. Getting used to noise is hard and takes a lot of patience. She could wear them an hour every day for a week in a quiet environment then maybe try an hour in a noisy environment the next week. Then increase the time if she can but first her audiologist needs to know she hates the noise so he make adjustments on his end.
      Hearing aids aren’t called hearing miracles for a reason, unfortunately. Someone lied to her if they said she would understand the TV and radio with hearing aids alone. She will hear more but if she has a high frequency hearing loss, she won’t understand everything. Certain vowels disappear and it’s hard to distinguish them even with hearing aids. Captions can help fill in the gaps on TV and even reading those take some time to get used to. TV streamers help a great deal and will make it lots better but they can be costly. There’s a lot about hearing loss that isn’t fair. ;-(
      I can hear my husband and my mom on the phone and that’s mostly because I know them so well I can predicts the words they use and I’m relaxed with them. They will repeat as often as necessary without complaint which helps me relax further and understand them above anyone else. He has a voice in the low tones where I have a mild/moderate loss. My mom has a strong voice for a woman and is kind of loud which helps me too. As I get to know people I understand them easier and that’s because they know too they have to face me (because I’m upfront about my hearing loss). With TV and especially radio, there is no lipreading. Most actors/actresses don’t talk straight into the camera, it’s often side shots and such so there goes lipreading ability. Anything that comes across mechanically is harder to understand; phone, TV, radio, PA systems are all through mechanical means and that messes with hearing loss.
      Sometimes my hearing is a mystery to me even still. Why did I hear that and not that? Why out of the blue did I hear that sentence perfectly but can’t understand the next one? I don’t know.
      Sorry it took me a bit to respond. There was family emergency last week which kept me occupied.

  4. HI
    I am exactly like the first want message and the one who talk about his mom.
    Do you know a Dr who can help me here in Washington?
    I wear a pair Pure Siemens hearing aids. They cost around $5,800.00, must be a great a one, but not work for me. I went several time to my audiologist office in my country and here in WA too, but nobody can help.
    thanks

    • I don’t know of any doctors/audiologists outside of my area, sorry. I’m not sure what kind of hearing loss you have so its hard to make suggestions too. Even then I’m not the person to recommend hearing aids. I’ve bought a different brand each time I needed new ones. I currently have Siemens Carat and they work fairly well for me. My favorite hearing aids were my last pair, Phonak Naidas.
      I have a profound high frequency hearing loss. Hearing aids will never give 100% hearing. The technology just isn’t there. I figure I get a 70% word discrimination in the BEST of circumstances which I rarely have for one reason or another. In typical circumstance I figure more like 50-60% with hearing aids in which is a lot better than the 30% I have without hearing aids.

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