Hearing aids for super tiny ears?

Hello! This is my first post here, although I’ve been a lurker off-and-on for a while now, so I apologize if I accidentally break any forum rules or anything.

I have recently been fitted with my first pair of hearing aids (Resound Enya RIC), and I’ve been having many issues with the fit of my hearing aids. My doctors and my audiologist always remark about how my ears are REALLY tiny - as small as an infant’s ears. (I’m 20 years old and female; I don’t know if that affects the size of my ears at all.) When I first got my hearing aids, I was fitted with small power domes and size 1 receivers. However, that didn’t work out very well, because the domes are physically too large for my ear canals. The receivers do not enter my ear canals at all and they project into my outer ear, and the domes sit right at the entrance of my ear canals, rather than sitting inside of my canals. The domes cannot even begin to enter my ears because my ear canals are so tiny. This causes the domes to fall out of my ears many times a day, and I have to constantly mess with my ears and re-adjust the domes so that they don’t work their way out of my ears or plug-up my ears and cut-off the sound completely. In addition, the receivers were too long, so about a week and a half ago, my audiologist swapped the size 1 receivers for size 0 receivers, to see if that would help with my fitting issues. Long story short, the size 0 receivers didn’t solve any of my problems, because the size 0 receivers are STILL too long for my ears! So, instead of the wires sitting flush against the sides of my head, they bulge out of the side of my head in a semi-circle. I can stick my finger in the gap between the side of my head and the wires of my hearing aids.

Since I’m currently wearing the smallest receivers and domes that I possibly can for my specific hearing loss, my audiologist made impressions of my ears for custom canal lock earmolds. However, when the impressions were taken out of my ears, I noticed that my ear canals appear to be much smaller and narrower than the diameter of the receivers on my hearing aids. I think that the earmolds are supposed to have the RIC receivers inside of them (please correct me if I’m wrong!), but I’m not sure how that’s supposed to work, because my ear canals are really, really tiny. I’m concerned that the earmolds won’t work for me either, due to my ears being so tiny. However, I know that babies can wear hearing aids, so I guess there must be a solution out there somewhere…

Does anyone have any experience with fitting hearing aids on someone who has super tiny ears? If the RIC style of hearing aids won’t work, is there a different style that I could try instead? Thanks!

there’s seems to be “rash” of tiny canal issues on the board. you may actually have them. but can you take a q-tip and put a little alcohol on it and then tap the walls of your ear canals? if it hurts like hell then your ear canal walls are inflamed from an infection. you should clean your domes with alcohol swabs and wait until your ear canal heals before you try wearing them again. do not take antibiotics, just wait for the swelling to to go down.

otherwise you need to got with a bte form factor. post your audiogram as I suspect there are even bigger issues.

Hi,

as far as I know, children usually don´t wear RIC aids, they use tubes. With tubes, you can make the custom mold as small as needed. (with that style of aid, the receiver is inside of the aid and a tube goes out of it, the sound goes through the tube inside your ear). Usually, you have better sound with RIC, but if the smallest receiver is bigger than your ear canal, you might be better of with tubes. Good luck!

I just updated my signature so that it includes my audiogram now; let’s hope that it works!

Your hearing loss is mild. Are you finding any benefit from the aids?

Yes, I am; they work great, except for the fact that they won’t stay in my ears!

I don’t think you will find any reciever wires shorter than 0. Ask your audiologist about the thin tubes with a custom fitting. Otherwise you could ask about which brand has the smallest receivers - I think one of the HIS here said that he had a very small reciever from Oticon. Also you could ask to see someone who does paediatric fittings because they may be more experienced with small ears.

Please do not insert anything in your ears to clean them - clinically very poor advice.

Resound receivers aren’t the smallest as they need to have their dome mounted on the exterior of the shaft - which is inclined to make them too large in cross-section for the smallest ears. The Phonaks will have smaller dome options which may suit better.

Slim-tube variants may be a better option again for your ears.

As to the wire itself, there is the possibility of thermally forming it to move the curves a little to effectively shorten it’s length, your should know how to do this - but it’s essentially done with a hair dryer and a round former - like a screwdriver shaft.

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you hear better than most anybody on this forum.

Update: I just got my new canal lock earmolds today… but they aren’t working quite as well as I had hoped. They are MUCH more comfortable than the power domes were by a long shot, but the molds tend to shift around when I move my jaw at all, especially when I am eating. (I think that they are made of silicone, but I’m not entirely sure. They are soft and kind of squishy, not hard at all.) They are slowly slipping out of my ears as I’m sitting here typing this now. I have to keep pushing them back into my ears. I’m pretty annoyed and disappointed, to be honest… and I don’t know what to do about it. My hearing aids work AWESOME otherwise, and I’m really seeing a difference with them, but I can’t deal with them constantly sliding/falling out of my ears!

My ear canals are not inflamed at all. Doctors have been telling me about my ridiculously tiny ears for as long as I can remember. Most of my features are small and petite, so maybe that’s why?

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Try hard acrylic molds instead of the soft silicone maybe. That’s what I have with canal locks, of course. My jaw is like yours…moves like crazy! Nothing stays in there without a hard canal lock. The molds I have now (Rexton) stay PUT. If your molds aren’t working, you have every right to take them back and ask them to remake them. They are CUSTOM…so if they are not perfect for you, they haven’t got it right yet. Be picky and tenacious. They’ll eventually get you what you need. I agree with your loss, you also want the molds OPEN, as much as possible.

Evil.

Judging from her speech, one of my friends has a congenital loss with small ears. Our audiologist sent her to Starkey’s own clinic, where she was fitted with tiny ITE aids. She is very happy with them. I have heard that Starkey then stole our audiologist from Mayo system. :mad:

Thanks for the suggestion of hard acrylic molds! I’m probably going to have to go back anyhow, because the right earmold has a hard bit that hurts when inserting the earmold. The soft silicone molds are very comfortable, but if they don’t stay in for more than a few minutes, then I guess it doesn’t matter how comfortable they are.

I’ve noticed that the lock part of the mold doesn’t sit flush with my ear. I don’t know how to explain it, but the lock part curves up and doesn’t fit along the curves of my outer ear. Is it supposed to do that? I’m wondering if that is part of the reason why the earmolds refuse to stay put.

Oticon minifit60 is smallest speaker. Also available from Sonic Innovations and Bernafon. Its the only one that doesn’t feel like sandpaper in my ear canal. I have tiny canals also. There is a direct correlation between smaller ear canals and greater intelligence. Just FYI.

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This is likely the reason they are not holding. The canal lock needs to contact the concha (bowl) of your ear with the molds fully inserted. That’s how the canal lock hold things in place. If they are not deep enough, it is like a bike with a short kickstand. It just falls over. Get them to re-cast them. I’m actually surprised you got silicon molds with a canal lock. I have always been told acrylic was required for canal locks.

Good luck with these.

Evil.

I always order canal locks, with any material. Its easier to remove them than add them on later.

Hi,

Power ear domes are the largest ear domes and are typically reserved for people living with severe to profound hearing loss, or people with large ear canals who experience to much loss of low frequency amplification.

Your audiogram, and your anatomy, does not call for power ear domes. You want to try both the smallest open earbud and smallest closed earbud available.

A RIC hearing aid is not recommended. The RIC (Receiver-In-Canal), simply means that the speaker is housed in the portion of the hearing aid that sits inside of your ear canal. What you want is a very similar style, but differs in the fact that the speaker is housed in the portion of the hearing aid sitting behind your ear, with only a very thin ear tube that sits inside of your ear canal.

The hearing aids I’m talking about go by several names, including: Slim-Tube, Mini-BTE, Open-Fit.

You want to wear an Open-Fit hearing aid, that uses a slim tube (slim tubes are available in two diameters, you want to make sure you are fitted with the smallest diameter tube). The difference in thickness between the speaker (RIC) and ear tube, may be just what your little ear canals need. You’ll also find that the ear tube has more rigidity than that of the wire (RIC), which will prevent the bowing away from the side of your head that you speak of.

Follow the link below to take a look at an example of an Open-Fit hearing aid that I’d recommend giving a try. Full disclosure: The hearing aid I’m referencing is sold online through Clearly Hearing, which is a company that I work for. That said, the same or very similar hearing aids are available through your local hearing clinic.

It just so happens that I was investigating the same thing myself (I too have very small ear canals).

I visited what appears to be a trade-site (by and for audiologists) which discussed points about the construction of ear molds for those with tiny ear-canals.

Here are two points made from pro-to-pro that stuck out.

Use blue silicone ear impression material (less expansion)

Earmold material: I prefer using a 70 Shore silicone (not too soft as it has to go through the canal at its tightest spot).

Maybe you can return to your specialist and ask if they followed this guidance. I’m thinking they did not because your reported the mold as squishy when it needs to be more firm.

Audiology Online Discussion of Best Practice for Ear Mold creation for patients with very small canals.

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get a BTE, those are better for this! if you hate the RIC (I get this especially with small ear canals)