"Better than nothing is not enough" – what to do?

I’m stuck in a situation that looks like: my current HAs are better than absolutely nothing (since I have a hearing loss that requires assistance of some kind). The best part is that they don’t whistle too much with this configuration + ear mold, the worst part is that I only get partial benefit from wearing them. Specifically, I miss words even in a quite optimal situation (silent one to one speech) and I need to rely on someone else in more complex settings

The proposed solution (after my last vocal audiogram) was to get new HAs, specifically some BTE should give me enough power to adjust. It’s been months trying to do that, without success. I don’t know if the situation is similar in other places, still – in my experience – here in Italy there is a general “delay” in release-to-the-public, often times some HAs arrives 2 year later and BTE models are way less distributed or not-available for any trial.

I don’t know exactly what to do. I have a working HAs that give me 40% of what it used to give me. I don’t know if it’s way more convenient to wait a year, hopefully for any releases, or if having a not-adjusted-HAs may “compromise” some of the results I had gained over the years. I feel the current limits of my HAs every day, I’m having a hard time switching to another solution (mainly due to logistic and brand policies). I’m aware that a more severe hearing loss implies more frustration with most solutions, and even my fitter (which is also the seller) it’s having a hard time adjusting to it.

So, really any advice would help.

Typically when hearing aids are no longer providing enough benefit, it is time to consider cochlear implant candidacy. Prior to that stage, however, one wants to confirm that one is using hearing aids that are powerful enough, functioning correctly, and are well-fitted. That may or may not call for new hearing aids–if older hearing aids meet those three criteria, moving to a new one will not necessarily provide huge improvements. If your old hearing aids are powerful enough and functioning well, getting a new deeply-fitted earmold (if your current one is gappy) and having the hearing aids re-adjusted for changes in your hearing may make a considerable difference. If you need new BTEs, don’t worry about the release gap. BTEs are released later or not at all on new platforms, but the differences between the platforms are smaller than the marketting and excitement here would lead you to believe. Part of the release gap between BTEs is the smaller population of users, but part of it is also that BTEs are a bit more robust, users tend to keep them longer, and users with more severe hearing losses don’t always even benefit from some of the features in the shiny new RICs that provide some nuanced improvements for someone with a mild/moderate hearing loss.

Consider whether hearing aids with remote microphone technology would benefit you. The Phonak Roger On is probably at the top of the pile (though, even their partner mic is very good one-on-one), perhaps followed by the Resound multimic.


Thanks for the insight, it gives me some perspective.

I have never seen more said in fewer words than these by Neville:

powerful enough, functioning correctly, and are well-fitted


I don’t see an audiogram but if the loss is bad enough better than nothing may be realistic. Hearing aids don’t fix. They aid. And there’s only so much they can do.

I am so impressed with your response here! “…powerful enough and functioning well, getting a new deeply fitted earmold…and having the hearing aids re-adjusted for changes in your hearing…” and I learned more about BTEs too.

Thanks Neville!


Just curious: what make and model of hearing aid do you wear NOW? I would be very discouraged if the latest models are released two years LATER in Italy than elsewhere. My mother-in-law had similar issues with getting aids in India.

I’d even consider traveling to a different country to buy the aids except that they will ALWAYS need to be set up, fine-tuned, and maintained. And if no audis in your area are experienced or knowledgeable about the aids, that would be worse than nothing, with money down the drain, too.

I should think that if you are not a CI candidate, a BTE aid with custom mold for the speaker would give you about the help in hearing you could hope for over ITE, CIC, or RIC?

Any developments on your end lately?

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Still waiting to see further concrete developments. Working in more directions.

My current HAs are from Starkey, 2016 Halo 2 Advanced Power (AP) model. This very same updated model it’s not available in Italy and I’ve tried “regular” RIC Evolv Ai and it was struggling a lot with my level of hearing loss. I’d like to try Starkey PowerPlus BTE (regular BTE is equivalent to my current model) and it seems impossible to get a trial and no information about release has been given.

I’ve been actively looking for an international purchase and I think I’ve come across a solid service offered by My-second-ear from Germany. Price discounts, 5 regulations included and 50€ purchases for further remote regulations, 3 in-person shops in some German cities, available assistance. Even there, this particular Starkey BTE seems not available. Even if I’m ok with trying different brands, my fitter is a bit unsure about any other trial (also it’s unclear if they will keep Starkey in the future, given so many late deliveries).

Last months I’ve worked my regulation again and essentially I’m trying to get the best out of a strong amplification. I know it is uneven. It works best with environmental sounds while being less effective with voice, but I asked for it

Main factor here it’s that I’m experiencing since January a weird difference between my Right and Left side, they used to be really similar and now my right side sounds weaker. It could be a minor thing (tested negative for excessive wax). With and without HAs, my right ear hears less clearly and sort of distant. I also have random pains and closure sensations.

I might be a little surprised if, in the worst case situation, I have lost more hearing. My last official audiologist visit was in early November 22. Context. I’ve been stable for more than 15 years (with a milder hearing loss) and now every couple of months I may or may not get worse, I don’t know. Additionally, I’ve noticed that at 90dB sounds don’t sound “loud” anymore, like it sounds like quiet conversation.

So, I was suggested to visit an audiologist I’ve never been to, it will be in May 2023. I’ll get tone audiometry, vocal audiometry, tympanogram and hearing prothesis check+fitting done. In this hospital it’s possible to get an assessment for CI candidacy. I’m looking for 2 things mainly:

  1. check out my current hearing loss and speech recognition score
  2. get any plausible insight on what to expect and whether or not HAs can aid me.
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Possibly but more than likely the person needs more than the aids can provide.

What size battery do your current aids use?

Just looking at your audiogram I would think as mentioned properly fit hearing aids would work for you.

Finding the right fitter is important.


OK, so you’ve got an outdated Starkey aid from 2016 - EONS ago in the HA world. I’m not a fan of Starkey - but that could be just me? I know they are going gung-ho on AI implementations and yada yada, but what about performance and reliability?

The last time I trialed Starkey aids, they couldn’t even handle a simple workout at the gym. If I had ANY sweat behind the ears at all, they’d go all bonkers, cycling randomly through the programs. DOH!

You mention that you can’t hear as well in the right ear - VERY WELL could be poor or failing performance from the aid. I had a similar issue with a pair of aids several years ago (I forget the brand). I ended up going almost a year with this gradual failing, unknown to me. Until I went in for a word comprehension test. OH MY. My comprehension dropped from low 80% to about upper 50%? I was shocked. It took very few months for that to happen, so you need to address the imbalance now, is my advice.

I would hope that other brands are available and affordable for you? What about Oticon, Phonak, Widex? I’m glad you have the app’t set up next month. Not a moment too soon to explore new models and mainly get that RIGHT side back into top performance. GOOD luck to you!


Right now I’m using a size 13, orange package.
I completely agree on the importance of good fitting.

Long story short, I had many negative experiences prior to this, to the point of find out that my HAs were not fitted at all and therefore insufficient (the same hospital suggested this - still working - unprofessional fitter, I was only a teen and I had no means to understand how it should have worked, nor my family got any advice).

This current fitter, as many others, is used to fit elderly people mainly. Still at least they try to change regulation and I can express my point of view without many troubles. Even if they keep many brands, it’s evident that they work (and sell) better with some brands than others (even asking for assistance). My impression is that having loss some more hearing leads to difficulties in regulation, especially feedback and higher frequencies.

Anyway, to the purpose of having options, I’ve freely envisioned another fitter and my personal take is that they had perplexities about fitting my HAs, they kept saying how bad my hearing loss was and stuff. If I feel judged I will not be able to get a good fitting. My opinion: the general panorama around HAs regarding sell, fitting and assistance is not very much hopeful here – they keep opening and closing centers and also, in real life I don’t know personally many other people from who I can get some advices or who got a positive experience.

So, I’m ok with giving a try to the hospital fitter to check and fit these HAs, since I need them everyday.

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From Starkey I like the fact that in almost 7 years they didn’t scramble even in my goofy hands :slight_smile: Years ago I got suggested this brand and it served me well, now I’m open to find the next “Chip and Dale” (Cip and Ciop in italian) as I call my HAs.

Yes, sure. Most prices are a bit intimidating, but I’d like a trial. Specifically this fitter work with all most of these brands still they have opinions.
As for Phonak, I got told that Phonak doesn’t give out models for trial, especially the newer ones and they make only maximum 2 ear-molds for client. Also, I got told that is aprox 11.000€ price for Lumity and so, it would be too much to spend without even get a trial. Also the fitter is clearly not a Phonak fan - this brand is available in most “corporate” group of sellers, like Amplifon, Audio-nova and similar. As for Oticon, I would be interested in trying out them as I know that their BTE are really solid. According to the fitter the main issue would be higher frequencies. As for Widex, I barely know their products so I don’t know if they have a BTE model.

For sure I’m not “marrying” Starkey at all cost, I just want a solid HAs and I’ve waited long to change them so I’m not entirely sure if I’m ok with a not-so-recent HAs. For instance the fitter paved the idea of getting me to try the Starkey Muse BTE Power Plus and checking out I see they are now out of production and it was a product launched in 2017, only 1 year after my current one, so to me it doesn’t seem a good trial.

At first I got the impression that there was a HAs issue. It still could be. Checking them out with the fitter, they showed me that according to the Starkey Inspire Fitting Program they both put out the same input. I was still hearing the right side lower, so I asked to rise it and now they are uneven in regulation but balanced bewtween right and left side. This will be hopefully sorted out with the next hospital visit.

I’m not a medical professional, I’m not sure – to me it seems that to a certain level this dissonance it’s there even without HAs. I had a home-made test without HAs, still I don’t if it’s ok or biased. From the same position, hearing the same constant noise - plugging one ear and letting the other clear, it’s evident that the Right one hear less and the same happens if I speak out loud. With my Left ear plugged, I hear myself lower, while it’s unaffected if I plug the Right ear. I’ve already excluded wax, so I don’t know.

Things like this make me want to pack up my REM machine and go international.


Always welcome, we are in need of professionalism :slightly_smiling_face:

Funny enough – this fitter has a REM machine (found out later what it was) and 1 time they tried to use it. The result was a super-low whispering fitting that couldn’t work for me and they had to readjust manually, and just before leaving I spotted on their screen that they were using my old-out-dated audiogram.

I did not think to use it for evaluating this balance problem (I’m not the technician there), untimely, my pessimistic-self got the idea they were thinking I was making it up. The only rational alternative I can think of is: flat tympanogram, it happened one time and no explanation was found, plus in November it wasn’t done.

Most common option would be something impacting the mics or speaker on one side. Usually dirt/debris. The software can’t detect that.

Flat tymps can be very random–sinus issues, Jaw issues, illness. Very common in kids, less common in adults. Can take ages to clear out.