I am having some serious hearing aid frustration and wonder if I can get some advice. I am 35 years old and have worn hearing aids for 21 years, though for the last 10 years I have not worn them very much because of on-going frustrations for which I’ve found no resolution. My audiogram is as follows:
250 - 25/35
500 - 50/50
1k - 60/60
1.5k - 60/60
2k - 60/60
3k - 40/40
4K - 25/20
6K - 30/30
My first question is this: Should open fit aids even be a consideration for me or is my low and mid-frequency loss too great? I am currently working on finding a solution with America Hears. An audi there recommended that I try open fit because of the particular frustrations I was having with my old aids (Digifocu IIs BTE). Those frustrations were 1) always feeling overwhelmed in noisy environments despite many adjustments - I am a mother of four young children, so my environment is always noisy and 2) being unable to acclimate to singing with my aids in - making music (singing, playing guitar and piano) is an integral part of my daily life. So, the audi thought that open fit might solve these problems, but I found them to be physically very uncomfortable, and after wearing for a few weeks, painful. After having me take impressions, the audi observed that I have tiny ear canals with an unusually dramatic bend which the tubing couldn’t manage. AH attempted to custom make some tubing for me to accommodate the bend, but I still found the aids uncomfortable and gave up on them. So, was I ever really a candidate for open fit to begin with? Should I have tried harder to make these work?
Now I have America Hears BTEs with custom mold, but the molds are a poor fit. They go way too deep in the canal for my comfort and are rubbing a soar spot in my ear. I intend to request new molds, but first would like some advice about whether to try soft molds or stick with hard? (the ones they sent me are hard and my old Digifocus aids had hard molds). Are there advantages/disadvantages to the two options? And should I expect to be able to wear these aids without being blown away by noisy children and without taking them out when I sing? I don’t know if my expectations are too high, but my 21 years of experience with hearing aids has been full of frustration. I know that I need to be wearing something full time - I am missing too much. I have noticed in the past year how much my oldest child has taken on the role of translator.
Thanks for reading my long post, and I appreciate any experience, advice, or thoughts you might have about my questions.