After many years of wearing HAs problem-free (first with acrylic canal earmolds, then with open domes) it seems that the vented domes on my Phonak Audeo Paradise HAs may be giving me a bad reaction in both ears.
The problems have been off-and-on since I got these HAs late least year, first in my right ear and now in my left. First itching, then some swelling, and lately apparent dermatitis / otitis externa. I have a wireless otoscope so I can see that certain parts of my ear canal are very angry indeed.
First of all, I am treating this with antibiotic / anti-inflammatory drops prescribed by my GP and I’ll be going back to see him after 7 days. And second, I’ve made an appointment with the audiologist (not for a little while, as I know my ears will be inflamed for the near future).
But in the meantime I was wondering if the forum’s collective experience could potentially help me identify other/additional aggravating factors (HA-specific or lifestyle-related) that I haven’t considered.
I suspect I will need to switch back to custom earmolds to see if it’s the Phonak dome silicone material to blame (or even partially implicated), which is a shame as I have otherwise been quite happy with the comfort and results of the domes.
I’m not 100% sure that the HAs are to blame, as there could be other factors involved like occasional use of wireless earbuds, frequently wearing over-the-ear headphones while working from home during COVID (as I still am), a reaction to an ingredient (lavender essential oil) in a soap I switched to that may have gotten into my ears, having had shaggy hair for months when haircuts weren’t available where I live due to the pandemic… in theory I suppose any of these things could play a role.
My very first HAs’ acrylic earmolds were quite comfortable, and I understand that titanium is now an option from Phonak as well (which could help with irritation?). So in the end this could be a good thing. But could I be causing this myself somehow? Are the Phonak domes made out of a material so different from the Oticon domes I was using before?