Has anyone gone from vented earmolds to completely sealed earmolds?

I’ve always need a vented ear mold for some level of air flow when wearing hearing aids. When I’ve tried a non-vented in mold (ten years ago) I got occlussion and felt as if my ears were always full. I also noticed many times when I walked I could feel the step by step vibration in my ears. So now fast forward and I’m being told that the power aid I’m testing will not fully reach its (range capabilities/program capabilities) unless I return to a full ear mold with no vent. My Audi said using a vent (in ear mold) will limit my hearing aid usefulness and prevent her from properly programming my hearing aid. We not necessarily talking “feedback” here but I assume a vent can impact the degree with which an Audi can fully program a hearing aid.

So just out of curiosity are there any hearing aid users who use non-vented ear molds with power aids? And my change anyone that completely switched from vent mold to sealed mold.

What hearing aids are you talking about?
Sharing your audiogram will help us help you.

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In the past I’ve always had vented ear molds to allow air flow between ear canal and outside aid. Seven years ago when I tried a fully sealed mold I got occlusion, with my ear canals feeling some what full. I also noticed slight ear pressure build up and many times when I walked I could feel a stepping vibration in my ear canal. Bottom line my ear/ear canal didn’t feel normal with a sealed custom ear mold.

So fast forward and now I’m being told a BTE power aid I’m tested will only work (properly) if my custom ear molds are completely sealed - no vent. When I tested new aids (with mold vent) my Audi said she couldn’t do a full range adjustment/ programing because the mold vents were limiting her software adjustment capability. We’re not necessarily talking feedback issues but more limiting the range level my Audi can play with to deal with my hearing loss.

So just wondering how many hearing aid users wear custom molds with no vent? And by chance if there is anyone who went from a vented mold to a completely sealed mold and had no problems. Short term and long term.

If your low frequency hearing has declined significantly in the past 7 years, you may no longer experience that effect.

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Here I am.
But you need to get used to occlusion-effect.

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No - But, I have gone from various types of open/semi-open domes to now fully closed double “power” domes. the result in my hearing has been very very positive. the only time I notice the occlusion is when the aids are off/muted.

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I’ve gone from unvented double power domes on my Audéo Marvels to vented earmolds with power receivers (cShells) to in a few weeks unvented earmolds with Resound Enzo Qs. I guess I’m wondering…What is your specific question? I don’t have the Resounds yet so I can’t talk to the experience with the unvented molds. I can tell you that the vented earmolds with the power receivers on the Audéos have been great from a comfort perspective, but I have no low frequency perception, which is annoying. But my hearing has been dynamic in the downward direction recently so the unvented molds should help with that significantly.

So how long did it take you to get used to occlusion issue and did it ever completely go away? It’s one thing to feel some abnormal sensation (in ear canal/ear) going from a vented mold to a sealed mold. I think I could handle that but if there are other issues like I mentioned in first post - walking and feeling a jar or vibration in my ear canal for each step I took - its a no go.

In reviewing (general power aids) I’ve not see any wording for any power aid that says “user must be fitted with a non-vented mold to get complete operation us of such and such power aid”. Put aside flying with HA’s and air pressure (I just take my aids out when I fly), but even dring in mountains or higher altitude, you would think someone would have problems with full molds, since inner ear air cannot escape as your ear’s pop.

Oh well - I’ll report back after my trial period to see if new molds are a go or a no go.

Your tympanic membrane is flexible and the volume of air sealed in your ear canal is not large enough to cause issues. The issue of needing an unvented mold comes down to feedback control and low frequencies. It’s not that the aid won’t allow it. The aid will do whatever it’s programmed to do. If you need more power, then sound will leak out the vent, be picked up by the microphone, amplified, and then you get feedback. Feedback control software will prevent this, to an extent, but it does that by limiting the gain, which means you aren’t getting the sound into your ear that you need to hear, given your hearing. Hence, the unvented earmold.

I actually had turned off feedback control on my aid and the sound is so much clearer.

I understand that people with more of a hearing loss, won’t be able to do this.

Heh I tried turning Whistle Block off when I had the unvented double power domes and it immediately went to permanent feedback. Might try it with my new aids when I get them and see what happens.

That happened to me this morning. I’m new to aids and just switched to different aids and domes and these don’t stay in as well. At first I didn’t know what was going on. I pushed the right one in a little and that stopped it. Now when thing start sounding weird I know to push them in a little.

If there is too much venting, the low frequencies just leak out of the ear. It’s not a hearing aid function thing, it’s a physics of sound thing.

Psych also raises a good point. If the “occlusion” someone is experiencing is a muted, muffled sound, this is generally an amplification problem, not an occlusion problem. Occlusion is the chewing, walking, boomy-voice-even-when-the-aids-are-off thing.

All you can really do is try. Confirm with your audiologist what modifications can be done if you get the full mold and find it too bothersome.

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I just switched to Naida M90 aids with custom molds that have a very teenie, tiny vent tube (I am not sure what size it is). They replace Ambra UP aids that had standard vents and a huge amount of feedback (particularly when walking near a wall - they howled and squealed like crazy). But the Naidas have a really small vent tube. So small that I can’t even get the vent cleaning tool (the one with the long thick hair-like protrusion) in to clean it. There is no feedback with these aids, but there is occasionally a feeling of fullness that passes quickly if I move my jaw. I’m pretty sure I can live with it.

Aye Gramps, I have the same size vent as you on my Marvel 90’s, I believe its size is 0.8mm? How are you getting on with the Nadia M90’s, do you see much improvement from prior HA’s ? Cheers Kev

You need to be sure that your mold does not have too much contact to your jew bone. In my opinion that’s the point where most of occlusion related sound comes from.
I had and have a vented hard custom ear mold until mid 2018. Then I closed the vents using a tooth paste (so I can reopen it easyly). The sound was much fuller. Fuller sound btw was just a positive side effect. My main goal was to keep noise away from reaching my eardrum on its direct way. This was especially useful during phonecalls (via bluetooth). But you have to keep my audiogram in mind, there is no hearing in the highs.
Beginning of 2019 I bought my unvented soft custom earmold. In the beginning it was difficult to get them into the ears. But I get used to the trick. If it is too far in the canal then it touches the jew bone. So I slightly move it out again. But the ear is still sealed. When my HA is turned off then there is almost no noise in contrast to my previous hard molds. There is no “must have” with power aids but to me it is very nice.
For the unvented hard ear mold it took me 2 or 3 months (I guess afterwards). For my soft ear mold I needed 1 or 2 weeks to get used to them.

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Dani - you post was very insightful. I’m all for “better hearing” and if wearing a unvented soft mold improves my hearing level great. I’ve just worn hard shell hearing aid molds since day one and gotten used to them. I did not have a chance to put soft molds in by ear but when I tried to remove them - it was hard. With acrylic molds you push on the bottom part of my back ear and molds pop out. That didn’t happen with soft mold so the (not glued) tubing came off hearing aid.

I’m tempted to take something to chew on when I test the unvented soft molds in my Audi office. But I’ll probably hold off until I come home and start the trial period. You might be right regarding the relationship with a unvented ear mold and jaw movement. But other then “mold depth” entering ear canal, I don’t see how you could adjust a hearing aid mold to jaw movement.

Maybe I had luck with my ear canal. As said above I can move the mold out of the ear just a few micrometer and then there is no or only little contact to my jaw.
Some mold manufacturer suggest using a “nugget” for this. On the other hand there are only very few who wear unvented soft mold at all. You can try to close an open vent of your hard custom mold first.
Can you please enter your audiogram into your profile, maybe you aren’t a candidate for unvented molds anyway.

I used to wear Naida aids with power slimtubes and soft silicone ear molds. These molds had a 1mm vent which is very small, almost none. These molds were canal lock design molds. The lock is a small piece of silicone that fits into an upper crevice of the ear. This small piece turned out to be an easy way to get a hold of the mold to pull it out. Using the slimtube to pull them out would come loose from the silicone mold.

With these molds I would hear the drumming sound with each step as I walk. Same thing with chewing but I can hear much better with these molds.

From the BTE aids I moved to RIC aids and soft silicone molds with canal locks. These too have major occlusion. My next step is to try hard lucite skeleton molds wit select a vents. Hopefully this will help with occlusion.

I wear custom ITE HA’s and have a pressure vent to help with the pressure and the occlusion effect to some degree. I have severe hearing loss. When I was wearing analog ITE HAs back in the day there was no vent since analog HAs did not have feedback management. I got use to the occlusion effect. With the digital HA’s I am able to get enough high frequency gain with a pressure vent. Also my HA’s were made with a deep ear canal which helped with the feedback. And with a RIC or BTE HA the feedback should be less of a problem since the microphone is farther away from the receiver than with a ITE HA. Having no vent increases the low frequencies sound in the ear(occlusion) and does not allow natural mid-high frequencies sound travel through a vent(this depends on degree of hearing loss). My audi always recommends trying an aid with a pressure vent and if is does not work out you can always plug the vent and see if that works. Also what brand of HA do you have? As far as feedback management is concerned all major manufacturers have good feedback control but I think Starkey stills has the best to what I have been fitted with. Again the type and degree of hearing loss impacts in how you can be fitted with a HA.