How long does it take to get used to a custom mold?

I’m going to have to change my audiogram here on the board. About half of my really bad ear is worse than 18 months ago. I’m now considered severely deaf in all frequencies. Thankfully, my other ear is pretty good, which helps. However, I have noticed in the last year it is getting harder to hear people when they talk on that side, and I have the new fancy Schmancy Micon 7 mi’s, too. They are awesome when someone is directly in front of me.

I used the tulip dome in my bad ear, and it is very comfortable. My audi says that that since I can’t even tell if it is there and I’m working with the loss than perhaps I should just stay put for awhile.

I’m one that needs to sit on things to accept them (took me 18 months to decide to get that 2nd HA for my better ear). I need the time to come to grips with it, even if it isn’t that big of a deal.

So…she said that at any time that I want to try a custom mold I can…but I will feel much more occluded than with the tulip dome. For those of you with severe hearing loss is all frequencies, did going to a custom mold (I guess you call it a power dome?) make a really big difference?

Power dome and custom mold are two different things. Power domes are the soft, flexible domes that have no holes in them, they completely stop up your ear. They are off the shelf and not customized. A custom mold is from an impression they take of your ear, when they put the soft material in your ear and it sets up after a few minutes, and they take it out as one solid mass. Then they send it off to have a custom mold made that completely fits your ear (supposedly).

I went from tulips to custom molds and I would have stayed with the tulips if I could have. There is nothing wrong with molds but the tulips were very comfortable and stayed in a little better than the molds.

Mine were made from a very deep impression and when mine are fully in I have very little occlusion. Sometimes they will ease out a little bit and the occlusion is worse. When I push them back all the way the occlusion is hardly noticeable at all. Mine have a large vent hole and several little inserts I can put in the vent hole to change the size of the vent. I can go with no insert and just have the large vent but with that I do get some feedback in some situations, so right now I’m using the largest insert (largest vent down from the the bare hole).

It’s not bad going to a custom mold. It will feel normal after a day or two.

Maybe the pros will weigh in on this, but it might be more comfortable and less occlusion to get a very deep fit?

EDIT: I probably missed the actual question. I can’t tell any difference in the way things sound.

Thank you so much for telling me your experience. Would you also mind telling me why (if you don’t hear any differently and the tulips are more comfortable) you don’t go back to tulips? One reason that concerns me about going deep in my ear is that I have allergies and my ears tickle and itch inside, more often in the nicer times of the year.

My hearing has dropped a little more and I went to the power receivers. The tulips are a little more open than the vented custom mold and I get some feedback with the tulips now, in some circumstances. With the custom molds and the biggest vent I don’t get feedback no matter what. I haven’t updated my signature but in the highs, the 95s are now 100, 90s are now 95.

Trisha,

I have micro molds with a vent and would never go back to domes. Once you get used to the molds which for me took less than a month, you don’t even realize you have something in your ear. With your degree of loss in your left ear you would need a mold with no vent or only a pressure vent since you need to keep as much of the LF in your ear as possible. I would have the mold made and give it a while to get used to it. I would bet that once you get used to the mold you would never go back to domes. Good luck!

When I first got HA 3-4 years ago, the audi took an impression of each ear. I had always assumed that was normal to have custom fitted “domes” - or whatever the proper terminology is. Why would someone expect to pay thousands for an item and have it fitted by something off the shelf? It would be like buying a suit for $3-$6K and finding the jacket/pants in ready made sizes.
Anyway, since those “things” that went in the ear are custom made - they fit perfectly. How could a ready made item be better? Mine do have vents (holes) in them.

Tisha,

I have custom molds, and I recently found out, quite to my surprise, that there are vent guards in the vents, making them essentially unvented. I find them really comfortable, and I have the kind of sensory system that is driven mad by everything – my mother used to call me her “princess and the pea child.” Physically, I think they’re more comfortable than either the tiny open fit tips, which used to tickle, or the power domes, which used to move around and which I found myself constantly adjusting.

It was a little weird at first, feeling like I had an ear plug in my ear, which should have blocked sound, but which was making sound louder, and I do find my ears get sweaty in the summer. And every now and then I’ll feel like my voice sounds very loud. Other than that, I really do prefer the custom molds.

Vents in a custom mold are still more occluding than open fit domes. It has been explained before but open domes are comfortable, don’t move around, don’t seal in the “juices”, don’t have to be remade if they are off slightly, and work great for a lot of people. If you have fairly good low numbers and are not bad in the high, there would be no reason to have a custom mold. I’ve had all kinds and if I could go back to tulips I would. Those are the best for me. Others may find the completely open domes to be the best and some may find that custom molds are the best for them. It is good to have choices.

Hi Tisha;

First of all, I want to say that I agree with Don, that those who have choices about using domes or ear molds are lucky. But it sounds like you don’t have much choice in your worse ear now. Because my hearing loss is in the moderate category in all ranges in my bad ear, my audiologist recommended a custom mold because she thought that would allow me to hear the lows better. I wore the custom mold daily for 3 months, and honestly, I never got used to it. (I tried two different molds made of the same material, one of which fit poorly, and one which fit much better!) Now, I have a bit of a “princess system”, too, in that I’ve always been the one who’s noticed even a 0.2 diopter difference when my vision has changed, which my optometrist tells me is really abnormal and finicky. I’ve always hated having anything in my ears, even otoscopes at the doctor’s office, or ear plugs. Consequently, I was initially quite hesitant to even try the micro mold, even though my audiologist assured me it would bring great benefit for the lows. It did bring good benefit for the lows, but I still found it way more uncomfortable than the double-vented power dome I’m now using. All that said, I have a friend who has never had anything but ear molds for her mild-to-moderate hearing loss and thinks they’re amazing! She wouldn’t have it any other way. And if I recall correctly, she adjusted to hers in a matter of a few weeks. It was definitely less than a month. Anyway, my rambling point is that I think it varies in how long people take to adjust. But, the brain can get used to just about anything. My audiologist tells me that when/if my hearing loss worsens, it will be much easier to adapt to an ear mold. I’m going to assume she’s right.

So, in my humble opinion, I think it might benefit you to try to wear it consistently for at least a few weeks. If you still don’t like it after that, check to see what other options are available. For example, my audiologist told me there are a few different materials ear molds can be made from. Perhaps you just need a different material? I’m not an audiologist or hearing instrument provider so I don’t know this stuff. These are just my thoughts.

Good luck! Keep us posted as to how it all ends up for you.

Kerry

Thanks everyone. It sounds like I just need to try it for myself…like HA’s. The thing I worry about is that I will find them uncomforable for whatever reason, but I will hear better. If I decided to go back to my tulip domes, I will then hate them because i don’t hear as well! I know…silly…but that is what is keeping me from trying the custom molds.

Tisha,

You could buy some ear plugs from the pharmacy and try wearing them when you don’t need to hear anything. I actually wear ear plugs when I sleep, and have worn them ever since living in a dorm. I swear my hearing is bionic in the night! I’m wondering if that’s why I’m not bothered by molds. If you tried that, you could get used to the physical sensation of having something in your ear without the psychological pressure of the “what if?” If you try them at night, though, make sure there’s someone to wake you up if the fire alarm goes off!

I don’t think what you’ve said is silly at all! There are so many ins and outs of all this stuff, and so little support for any of our feelings about it.

I don’t think what you’ve said is silly either, Tisha. From my brief time using a hearing aid, and my brief time on this board, it’s become very evident to me that there are many, many levels of adjustments that people with hearing loss - and those around them - need to make. Some people adapt easily to change, others take awhile. I fall into the latter group;)

As “sortofcookiebiter” said above, there’s so little support available for people with hearing loss in terms of dealing with the emotions of it all that a discussion board like this is a wonderful place to vent, get suggestions, and get some encouragement when you need it.

Ultimately, you need to figure out what works best for you, whether it’s a custom mold or a tulip dome or something else entirely. Trust your instincts. You know yourself better than any hearing instrument provider ever will!

At the end of the day you have to look at the degree of hearing loss in the lower frequencies as to what the person will need and unfortunately with hearing loss in the 80-90 dB range it basically says you need to trap as much LF as possible and that means a custom earmold.

Before you get the custom mold, you might want to try other types of domes (see link below). Some offer a more occluded fit than the tulip. But make sure your audi specifies the correct type in the software and re-runs the critical gain measurement.

http://hearing.siemens.com/Global/en/professional-area/product-portfolio/accessories/minireceiver20/click-domes/click-domes.html

Seb;

Does this mean that a person with a severe hearing loss can’t benefit from using any type of dome and can ONLY use a custom mold? If a person with severe hearing loss isn’t interested in hearing the low frequencies, could they not potentially use some sort of dome with good effect for the speech frequencies? I’m curious about this.

Kerry

I have a flat, severe loss in both ears, and I just recently tried the domes with my new Naida Q70s. When I got the hearing aids originally, my audiologist ordered custom molds (canal molds–they were included in the cost of purchase). To me, there is no comparison between the custom molds and the domes: the custom molds are far superior. While I could hear just fine with the domes, they never fit just right–such is the case with the one size fits all kind of approach. After four days, I went back to my audiologist and switched back to the molds. I am much, much happier with the canal molds on my hearing aids.

Also, regarding this:

If a person with severe hearing loss isn’t interested in hearing the low frequencies, could they not potentially use some sort of dome with good effect for the speech frequencies? I’m curious about this.

“isn’t interested in hearing the low frequencies”? I don’t think you understand. Vowel sounds, sounds that relate to speech volume are low frequency sounds. Unless you don’t want speech to be intelligible, you should be interested in hearing low frequency sounds.

nt54;

I totally understand what you’re saying here because I have a flat hearing loss, so, of course, my low frequencies are affected, too. I’m well aware that the vowel sounds and loudness are predominantly low-frequency issues. According to my audiologist, who deals quite a bit with people with meniere’s disease and otosclerosis, both of which often present with a low frequency hearing loss before mid and high-frequency losses, many people choose not to use amplification for their lows. Both my current and my previous audiologist told me that some people just prefer not to hear much of the lows… That’s what I was basing the above comment on. I DO fully understand that choosing not to amplify the lower frequencies could make understanding speech quite difficult, but from what both audis said, some people don’t like the “boomy” aspect of hearing lows, especially if they haven’t heard them in awhile.

I can attest to the fact that hearing the lows was quite difficult for me at first. I’ve had a low frequency loss that has progressed from “slight” at age 3, to moderate now, so I probably haven’t heard low frequency sounds for at least the last 10 years. For the first little while, getting used to all the low sounds was challenging. Now I’ve adjusted;)