When it comes to ears, we are all unique, so when it comes to hearing aid fittings, no two are the same. This is especially true with small or distorted ear canals.
Different adjustments for different hearing loss
If you believe you have hearing loss, often the first step is having a hearing evaluation. During the assessment, your hearing healthcare provider can determine
- Is there hearing loss? In cases of low-level loss, people may not even realize that they have hearing loss, but early identification and treatment is so important.
- If so, to what degree and configuration? Slight, mild, moderate, moderately severe, severe or profound. High-frequency or low-frequency. In just one ear or both ears.
- What is the cause? Is it noise-induced, the result of an underlying medical condition or simply due to a buildup of earwax
Once you have been diagnosed with hearing loss, the next step is usually selecting the best hearing aid for your hearing loss, lifestyle and needs.
What may be the most crucial step in the process is the fittings and adjustments to ensure that the hearing aid is comfortable and works correctly for each individual’s specific needs. It is the fitting that can make all the difference in hearing most effectively across the spectrum of sound from conversation to concerts.
Complications in fittings
While it may take more than one earmold and one fitting to get just the right shape, size, placement and sound quality, in cases of small and distorted ear canals it may take even more.
This is especially true due to the occlusion effect. The occlusion effect is when certain sounds, such as one’s own voice, become “trapped” in the ear canal. This can cause sound waves to bounce back towards the eardrum, increase pressure in the ear and affect the quality of the sound. This effect can be distracting and often frustrating, especially for new hearing aid users.
In the case of small and distorted ear canals, according to the Hearing Journal, the structure of the canal can cause “higher frequency canal resonances and acoustic gain that make feedback and over-amplification more likely.” Leaks and feedback are also common due to the size of the ear canal.
This is where a highly trained hearing healthcare provider well-versed in various techniques such as venting or the use of silicone impression material to find the perfect fit for every ear, can make all the difference.
After the fittings
The best fit doesn’t end with the final earmold or dome insertion. Whatever the shape and size of your ear canal, it’s important to work with your hearing healthcare provider on best practices for inserting your hearing aid. This simple training can help make your hearing aids more comfortable and effective in every situation.
If you believe your hearing aids require additional fittings or adjustments to improve comfort and sound quality, contact your hearing healthcare provider today to discuss options and next steps.
If you’re just getting started managing your hearing, contact our office to schedule a hearing evaluation.