Am I suitable for air conductive hearing aids?


I have conductive hearing loss in my right ear only. The air bone gap is about 35db around the 1khz region and 20db in the other frequencies. See attached hearing test.

I’ve never considered hearings aids before as i have tried to look for medical and surgical solutions to my hearing loss. Strangely no ENT doctor has ever suggested them in my 30 years of hearing problems.

I had chronic ear infections as a child which over time has thickened my ear drum due to sclerosis. My latest Ent doctor has said that my middle ear ossicular chain is working correctly but I’m not so sure.

I currently have a t-tube placed in the right ear drum due to a life time of eustachian tube dysfunction. This was supposed to drain fluid from my ear and restore some of my hearing, but unfortunately is currently adding a bit more hearing loss and distortion to my hearing even after the ear fluid has gone.

If suitable I would prefer an ITE air conductive hearing aid rather than surgery with a bone conductive hearing aid. But I’m not sure if my conductive hearing loss is to severe for it work.

I would love to hear from anyone who has similar conductive loss and uses hearing aids to their benefit.

Thank you for reading.

You can absolutely get an air conduction hearing aid for that ear, though if you have chronic drainage that might complicate things and an ITE might not work well. Is the tube permanent?

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Thanks for the reply. It’s a long term tube that could potentially stay in for 2 years.

So far there has been no drainage aside for a few days when it was first inserted. The tube should aerate the middle ear space which has been chronically inflammed for years due to eustachian tube dysfunction.

Maybe the ITE hearing might be ok as long as I dont wear it all the time so as to allow air to reach the middle ear.

Ideally I would like to try a few different hearing aids to see which ones work.

My conductive loss is similar to yours, also in one ear, and trialing a hearing aid (right now, a CIC) has been amazing for me; I’m more sensitive than the average person so YMMV. Also, my issue is congenital middle ear issue so I don’t know how that would differ for you.

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Short answer, yes an ITE should be fine.
Long answer, if drainage is expected then models with the speaker in the canal (ITE, RIC/RITE) as opposed to traditional behind-the-ear devices may be more susceptible to fluid messing up the speaker. ITE hearing aids can feel heavier in the ear canal than more open fit RIC styles, which can invite a comfort issue. You also possibly run into insertion loss i.e. the physical hearing aid blocking naturally hearable sound from entering the ear canal. Also, the smaller you go in the canal the less likely you will be able to have wireless connectivity or rechargeability.

I don’t think your hearing loss or having a PE tube in the eardrum disqualify an ITE hearing aid, and as long as you are aware of the potential pitfalls unique to ITE styles you should be okay.

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Thanks for the replies.

So today I went to see the Audiologist at my ENT clinic for a hearing aid try out. We did a conduction hearing test (see attached image) and strangely the hearing test is indicating that the hearing in my right ear has improved since the T-Tube was inserted.

I can honestly say that the hearing in my right ear still sounds as muffled as before. When I say muffled I mean my right hearing sounds like I’m underwater or when someone speaks through a face mask. I have right ear fullness and can hear my own voice quite noticeably. So I’m a bit confused with the new hearing test result.

Anyway, after the hearing test we tried a ReSound ONE hearing aid in my right ear. After a very quick configuration and using what seemed like a small open vent, the hearing aid was turned on.
At first I noticed a slight gain in my overall hearing. But when I plugged my left ear (the good ear!) I noticed no improvement in clarity in the right hearing aid ear. Even after the audiologist increased the gain there was a volume increase but still no clarity in hearing during our conversation.

We then tried an ADHEAR Bone conduction hearing aid, which sticks onto a sticky pad which they place behind the ear (no surgery). The audiologist didn’t appear to setup or configure it via a computer, it was just turned on and the volume increased until I could hear some gain. But again there was a bit more volume but no clarity in my hearing. I thought this was strange as the bone conduction hearing aid should bypass my middle ear problems. Anyway, we re-installed the ReSound ONE hearing aid and I borrowed it for around 30 minutes, going for a walk outside (wind noise!) and also trying to listen to sounds in the large waiting room inside the clinic. I would try and listen to conversations taking place around me just trying to listen through my right ear. Again, I couldn’t hear much benefit from the hearing aid.

It could be that the audiologist didn’t set up both types of hearing aids correctly, hence why my right hearing still sounded muffled. It looked like a quick profile of my hearing test result was configured using the software on his laptop and then downloaded to the ReSound hearing aid.

Or it could be that the muffled distortion is due to my ETD and ear drum sclerosis, but the bone conduction hearing aid should have bypassed this. So basically I’m none the wiser as to find a solution to the problem. I’m back to speak to my ENT in a couple of weeks. But I’m not sure what else he will suggest. He did want to perform a balloon dilation of the eustachian tube during the insertion of the T-tube. I declined this due to occasionally suffering from a patulous eustachian tube whereby the tube stays open and doesn’t close properly leading to autophony and a feeling of breathing through your eardrum.

Oh well, back to the drawing board to find a solution.

Thanks for reading.