Costco Philips 9030 seems good except it is uncomfortable

I just got a pair of the Philips 9030 at Costco and they definitely help me hear better, especially when driving with my wife sitting in the passenger seat. My hearing seems to have improved so much on that side that she says I’m now talking very softly compared to my usual volume. I can understand her almost perfectly even on a very noisy road but she keeps telling me to speak up, which is a new phenomenon for me!

The only problem is that the aids are very uncomfortable in my ears. The Costco audiologist told me that’s because I have very narrow ear canals and he has given me the smallest ones they have. I assume I can’t be the only person with this problem and that there must be some way to get a custom setup that would be comfortable.

Can anyone help with this problem?

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Custom ear molds might be one possibility.

Another might be to try domes from another manufacturer rather than the open bass domes Philips uses. The open bass domes seem to me to have thicker walls than Phonak or Oticon domes, for example.

Thanks! Where/how would I find out about custom ear molds? Would it be reasonable to expect that the Costco audiologist would be able to help get me started?

Absolutely, ask for the impressions to be done, you’ll just need to be sure about the vent sizing, the fitter/audiologist would advise on this, post your audiogram so others can chime in.

I don’t think I have a copy of the Costco audiogram but I have the one that my ENT doctor generated, which is pretty close to what the Costco one looked like from memory. Should I ask the fitter for a copy of the Costco one if I don’t have it already, or will the previous one (done a few weeks ago) be close enough?

The one from your ENT would be fine, you can always ask for your Costco one and change it to that at a later date if you wish.

Your audiologist should be able to tell you everything about custom ear molds, including making wax impression of your ear canal, which are then sent to the lab for custom ear molds. Figure a couple of weeks. The new molds should fit snug, not slip out, should not cause feedback. Otherwise they don’t fit properly. They should also not cause hotspots and should be comfortable

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Ok, here’s the ENT audiogram from 6 weeks ago. I have a followup appointment in 2 weeks with the audiologist. I imagine I should call him to move that up now because it is unlikely that my ear canal discomfort is going to go away before then, right?

Costco told me they can do custom ear molds, so that’s an option. Then they’ll fit your ears specifically.

As far as whether discomfort might improve. If it hurts very soon after inserting hearing aids, it will likely not improve. If it only bothers you after multiple hours of wearing, you might build up a tolerance by reducing the amount of time you wear them and gradually build up as a tolerance develops. If you think it’s unlikely to improve, yes getting a sooner appointment makes sense.

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Ok, thanks for all the help. I’ve called them to say I’m going to need custom ear molds.

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I have the same hearing aid now too. I started off with the 85 receiver and 6mm open bass domes (the program wanted me to use the double bass domes but I wanted less occlusal effect). I’m not using the 8mm domes and my left ear is the one giving me some issues. Mine are mostly itchy when I first put them in and that now seems to go away in an hour or so. The left one is a bit tighter than the right one so it takes more effort getting in place. But the 6mm domes were so small they seemed to partially occluded by the receiver and actually were hitting it on one side. The receivers have that slightly bent end that exasperated this issue so I’m going to stick with the larger dome.

My main issue with these so far has been with some female voice being uncomfortable, shrill, etc. causing me to lower the volume, -2 or -3. The perfect example of the Tiffany Cross on MSNBC. Her voice even causes this distortion or shrillness with the volume lowered. I’m thinking this must be in the 5-7 khz range and will ask my fitter to lower the gain here to see if I can tolerate the default volume better. And I’m only at 80% gain right now and have only had these new HA four days now. I wonder if a frequency analysis app help me better pinpoint the frequency causing this discomfort? I think I found one called audio spectrum analysis and will try that on Tiffany’s voice today, lol.

What kind of hearing aids does your wife wear? :wink:

She doesn’t wear any.

The one thing I could think of on this is that the domes may be inserted too far into your ear. You can ask the audiologist at Costco if they can try a receiver with a shorter wire. Otherwise, I know Costco can make custom ear molds.

The audiologist said I could pull the receiver out a bit but that didn’t help. I’m going in for custom molds on Friday.

Thanks!

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Good for you. A good friend also has the Philips 9030 with custom molds, and they work very well. Hope they work for you too. Good luck!

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I got the custom molds and although they don’t bother my ears nearly as much as the original speakers did, they still aren’t very comfortable. I’m going to wear them for another week or so to see how it goes. Then when I go back in for a checkup, I’ll see if anything else needs to be done. The audiologist said he can “buff” them to remove a bit of material.

Has anyone here had a similar result with earmolds, and if so, what did you do about it?

@steve5: Good morning. I have not worn domes since I switched to hard acrylic molds, 16 years ago. I’m now on my fourth set of acrylics and they have all fit perfectly and comfortably. And that is the way they should fit - perfectly and comfortably.

The discomfort you are feeling is not dependent on HA make or model - it is a function of how well the molds were cast when the impressions of your ears were taken.

The custom-fitting option should have been able to accommodate your smaller-than-usual ear canals, IMO (but I’m not a trained audiologist.) My unsolicited advice is to keep going back to the provider until they can fit you with molds that are "fit for purpose".

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Even with the custom molds I’m still not comfortable. Since I’m not really having that much trouble in every day life to really need aids, I’m going to take them back. When I get to that point I’ll do some more reserch to see what is available.