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Hearing Blog

The importance of a great fitting hearing instrument

May 17, 2022

There are many variables when it comes to a perfect "fit" with a hearing instrument.  For this article I am going to discuss the physical fit of hearing instruments.  It is important that a hearing instrument fits properly in the ear to ensure that the patient is getting the sound reproduction that they are supposed to be receiving.

Whether you wear an ear mold with a behind the ear instrument, a custom in the ear/canal aid, or even just an ear bud, the seal of the ear is very important.  Sound is pressure... so when sound goes in your hearing aid and gets reproduced and re shaped for your prescriptive needs it then comes out the other end into your ear canal.  The prescription that is being delivered thru your computerized hearing aid calculates the type of "earbud", mold, or style aid that you are wearing... it even takes the vent into consideration for the calculation of your specific prescription.  Therefore, you need the proper seal of the part in your ear to get the correct prescription for your hearing loss.

What causes problems with the seal?  One problem may be weight loss.  Whether it is a custom product or an ear bud, if you lose more than about 8 pounds it can cause a difference in your ear canal.  The instrument may slip out, or perhaps you are hearing whistling or peeping out of your hearing aid.  This is because the aid no longer has a proper seal.  What that means is your "sound pressure" is also slipping out of your ear instead of properly reflecting off your eardrum and therefore, you are no longer getting your appropriate prescription and thus not hearing and understanding as well as you should or could be.  A loose-fitting hearing aid may also make your ear sore as it may rock and shift while you chew.  Please note that a little movement of hearing instruments is normal due to jaw movement that cannot be avoided.   

As we age, from the time we are born, our ears continue to grow... until the day we die.  I have had patients that have had several sets of hearing instruments from our office over the last 54 years and even though it is the same custom model or style (and components are smaller today than 5 years ago) they ask why their new tiny little custom aid is slightly larger than their previous one.  There are a couple reasons.  The first is that your ear has continued to "grow" even if you have lost weight.  Our ears also sag some, and sometimes our ear canal slightly collapse.  If your ear canals collapse and get thinner, then more of the components must be put into the bowl area of the ear canal.  The new instrument must fit the "new" ear.  You may need larger stronger components due to additional hearing loss.  These take up more room in the shell.  If your hearing instrument is over 5 years old or if you have lost weight or muscle mass, you may not be getting the actual prescription that the hearing instrument was designed to provide.  If you are experiencing these types of difficulties, you should contact your hearing health care provider for a solution.  To Hear Better Is To Live better!! 


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