HAs for conductive hearing loss

I have finally taken the leap and had my hearing tested after friends and family complaining all the time of my “bad hearing” and talking too loud. The ENT specialist told me that my audiogram showed a conductive hearing hearing loss in both ears with a slight sensoneural( 40db) loss in the higher frequencies. My loss is fairly uniform 45 - 70 db, worse in the lower frequencies. He explained that although there may be a surgical option he did not recommend it at this point in my hearing loss and says I need to wear hearing aids. He said that even if I had surgery I would more than likely need hearing aids due to my sensoneural loss. He is referring me to a dispenser as he does not fit hearing aids and he said that I will benefit best from a “power aid” - if I heard him correctly. Before I go to the audioligist I want to know what that really means. I googled “power aid” and it brings up HAs with the BTE style.What is a power aid and is this the only type available? I was really hoping for the small CIC aids that are not noticeable.
Appreciative of any advice so that I am somewhat prepared for the fitting session.

Hi hoh47

A “Power” hearing aid is simply one that is capable of generating higher output levels than other members of a given family, to compensate for greater losses. I’ve included a link below to a brochure that will illustrate what I mean. The first page covers in-the-ear styles and the second page covers BTE styles. This is by no means a specific recommendation for you (I’m not a professional), just an example to illustrate the point. You can compare your audiogram to the fitting range charts in the data sheet to see what would be suitable for your loss.

http://www.phonak.com/com_027-0401-xx_datasheet_micro_extra.pdf

FYI, I’ve got a fairly typical moderate sensorineural loss, with the worst losses at the high frequencies. I wear a pair of open fit mini-BTEs. If you can use one of the mini-BTEs, they are VERY discrete, and virtually invisible, even up close.

Dag

Sorry, but this option is not going to work for the kind of loss described.

Mini-BTEs with an open fit are designed for high frequency sensorineural losses. When someone has a reverse slope loss with a conductive element they need plenty of power, and the open fit would not provide enough amplification of the lower frequencies as needed here.

Remember that ENT specialists that don’t fit hearing aids are often not up to speed with the latest technology. In fact in my experience, ENTs rather lose interest after the realize that there is no medical solution recommended for a problem.

In this case the term power aid is a little bit old fashioned and referred to analog hearing aids that used a class B circuit as opposed to a less powerful class A circuit.

In this day and age hearing professionals don’t really need to worry about such things. They will just ensure that your digitally programmable hearing aids will have plenty of power in them such that they can be programmed to match your loss now, and if it gets worse in the future.

People who have a mixed loss (part conductive and part sensorineural) find that they require more power than a typical user.

With the right technology a CIC would probably work for you. You’d be surprised what kind of power you can get in that kind of aid these days without feedback issues.

Just keep in mind that as a general rule, the smaller the aid, the less power it will have for the future if your hearing gets worse.

Many thanks for the responses and my learning curve is accelerating greatly. From what I see from browsing, most CICs seem to just fit my maximum loss of 70db right/75db left in the low frequencies 125/250. Mid frequencies are 65db right / 50db left and high freqencies 50db right / 45 left. Dont know if this is too “deaf” for CICs or can I pressurize the audiologist to let me try them?

When I questioned the ENT spec. about the stabilty of my hearing loss he was not very positive as he says my hearing loss has been progressing slowly but I have been able to adapt to it until now. He said I would need 6 month testing.
I looked at the Phonak fitting curves for CIC/ITEs and BTEs but seem to only fit into the moderate-severe category. I think a BTE might be easier to conceal but is it possible to get a thin tube and discrete ear mould or do these need to be more the classical BTE moulds? The ITEs seem big and I have small ears:) As my husband says, trying to make me feel better, no HA will be as visible as my poor hearing and loud voice. Think he is looking forward to my being fitted with HAs than I am :smiley:

try to follow your audi recomendations…

Generally CIC has limited power. I have read about siemens Nitro CIC which could cover up to a severe loss but I have not read many reviews…

It could be a cosmetic option perhaps, I would advice to get a BTE, it also offers more options like a T coil to answer the phone, etc