Extremely Sensitive Ear Canal


I have been told by my audiologist that I have the most sensitive ear canals she has ever seen. Not realizing my difficulty, the first HAs I tried were the invisible Soundlens by Starkey. I have so much jaw movement that they actual flipped inside my canal. And I could not STAND the feel (made me nauseous even).

So on to the next one, which currently are the Starkey receiver in the canal version. Tried for one week with the domes on, and I could not get used to the feel at all. Took the domes completely off which helped at first (about 2 days), and then I started noticing them again. Unfortunately for me (like how I bowl!), it gets worse instead of better over time. I like how they sound but HATE how they feel.

I keep being told I just need to keep trying b/c I will get used to them, but at this point I feel like my quality of life wearing them is suffering more than without them. And I really do not think I will get used to them unless I can do something to numb my ear canal surface. Do I just need to hold out for different technology? And most importantly (misery loves company, I guess), am I the only one out there with this problem?


Maybe a custom ear-molds would work better for you.


I would recommend bagging the RIC style or anything in your ear. My suggestion is to get a standard (or mini) BTE and an earmold with a short canal or a non-occluding canal if your hearing loss can support it. Try to have as little in the canal as possible. Yes, you will probably still feel them and be more annoyed by them than most people but if you continue to wear them you will eventually get adjusted to their presence.


Starkey make a sleeve that covers the receivers, but allows them not to touch the inside of your ear. Maybe that will help. It’s hard to object to the feel inside your ear canal if they don’t touch anything inside your ear canal!


I checked with my audiologist & doesn’t look like the earmold option would work. But the sleeve might, so she is checking into it. I did some more searching around & found some research showing that clenching teeth (which I do & for which I wear a mouthguard) can result in an increase in ear canal sensitivity. I really don’t think I am going to get used to the feel of something in my ear canal (haven’t so far) — but maybe the sleeve will help. Given that the post only got three responses, looks like I really am in the tiny minority on this one. Thanks again.


I suspect they discounted the earmould option because you already have a receiver in the canal product and they are reluctant to change you to a standard BTE. A Custom sleeve will produce the same end result.

The option with the earmould with the standard BTE is that depending on your hearing loss you can have a skeleton earmould made with a short canal which does not go very far down your canal and hence produces less irritation.

If you are still within your trail period then make sure you are 100% happy with the hearing aid before signing off, if the receiver in the canal product isnt working for you then you should demand to try a BTE product.


I have the same issue… It is very irritating and have not been given any options.


You could try these. (Foam tips)


Are these your first hearing aids? If not, what worked before? If they are, try wearing for short periods of time and try gradually increasing. I don’t know how soon they start bugging you, but try a time that it would be easy to tolerate, even if it’s 5 minutes. Do for several days and assuming it’s easier to tolerate, gradually increase the time. Trying to force it will only irritate them more.


Do you clean your ears? What are you using?


They were my first attempt at hearing aids, and there was nothing offered by the audiologist at the time. I am considering another shot at it to see what has evolved since then.


As soon as I find another audiologist to try again I will bring these up, thanks!


My ears have been checked several times ,due to ear and sinus infections I am prone to getting, and are kept clean.


I know this is a very old thread, but I have the same problem. I cannot put any RIC hearing aid receiver/speaker more than 2, 3 mm past the aperture of my ear canal. I’ve tried 5 different molds. A private audiologist and Costco are about ready to show me the door. What to do?


What’s your audiogram like? If you have a big loss and need high powered receivers, you might be better off with BTEs. That way the dome or mold doesn’t need to encase a receiver and could be smaller. If you absolutely can’t stand anything in your ear, I believe there are bone conduction hearing aids, but have no experience with them.


I have a really sensitive ear canal on my left. My right is fine. I’ve had lots and lots of infections on my left and also two lots of surgeries so I think that’s the reason why.


I have very small and narrow ear canals. The first hearing aids I tried were Lyrics. They made me bleed into my ear canal during the trial. That was the end of Lyrics.

My audiologist fit me for earmolds with RIEs, but they were hard for me to do too, though I put up with them for several years. They caused some discomfort and itching. I had the sensation that my ear canals were changing, some days/hours tighter, others wider. The earmolds were so small that the vents couldn’t be big enough to avoid occlusion when the fit was relatively tight.

I get better results now in terms of what I feel is natural sound as well as comfort with BTE (receiver behind the ear) hearing aids and the smallest-sized soft open domes available (6 mm), although speech comprehension suffers a bit as my loss is reaching the point where open domes with BTE are not the best choice.

If your loss is greater than moderate, you’d face that issue as well, which may be why your audiologist hasn’t suggested it. The 6 mm domes are very comfortable for me, with no pain or itching, but your ears also “sound” possibly even more sensitive to earmolds than mine, so small open domes may or may not be more bearable for you.


I read this post with interest. I also have gone thru a year of hell trialing new RIC’s. Trying to fit logs, er power receivers in my sensitive ear canals. It seems like mold makers add an extra layer of acrylic just to torture me! I’m at my wit’s end. What to do?


If it is causing irritation or sore spots they can be adjusted (like buffing off the sharper spots). Otherwise, I know they feel funny at first but after a few weeks you shouldn’t be able to feel them


Hilary, you have my sympathy here! I also feel that the HA manufacturers must NEVER wear their own aids! Otherwise, why would receivers be shaped like hard matchsticks? Given their length (and the idea being to get the receiver CLOSE to our eardrum without perforating it), why can’t receivers be shaped more ergonomically - a slight curve?

Well, I’m grateful for having the hearing aids, but they are not comfortable to wear for 14 hrs a day. The domes on these receivers are also far from perfect with few choices in terms of materials used or optimum fit for each person.