How to equalise air pressure when wearing BTE ear mold

Hi,

I wear one BTE hearing aid in my left ear.

I have noticed that I am getting air trapped behind my mold and I cannot equalise the air that is trapped behind it. This is affects the sound. I have tried swallowing and holding my nose but the mold is a tight seal and makes no difference.

When I have my hearing aid out, I find it hard to pop my left ear. The right ear pops every time without fail, but the left ear does not. I have to try other methods like drinking water while holding my nose and that works some times.

I wonder what this is? When I do a sinus/nasal rinse my left ear is fine at popping for a few days.

This has gone on for many years.

The mold needs a vent.
I don’t use closed domes for this reason let alone an unvented mold.

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I would try opening and closing your mouth and moving your jaw from side to side also. The ear canal shape tends to change when you open your mouth.

That said, you may want to ask about having a very small micro vent in the molds. Vents under 1 mm do not tend to impact the performance characteristics of the mold. I believe some call it a pressure vent, as it is just intended to prevent unequal pressure across the mold.

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Is there a vent in the mould? If not you probably need to have one.

I have always used unvented ear molds. I used to yawn and tug on my ear lobe to equalize back when I used custom molds and tubes with BTE back in the 70’s. Never had a problem with ITE, CIC, or RIC, though, they never seemed to seal as tight as some of those old soft molds did.

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No vent in mold. I have never had vented molds. The issue is not all the time.

Today it was fine, could it be weather dependent or my eustachian tubes playing up?

I believe the Eustachian tube can only equalize the pressure in the inner ear with the atmosphere. They cannot equalize the section of the ear canal between the ear drum and the molds. You need a vent in the mold or a leaky mold to allow that equalization.

@Sierra The portion of the ear outside of the ear drum is the outer ear. The portion of the ear inside the ear drum is the middle ear. It’s this part of the ear that can be equalized through the Eustachian tube.

OP, one of my HAs is vented, the other isn’t. I almost never notice any pressure difference on my unvented HA, but if I do, I just wiggle it to allow some air exchange. I find having an HA to have no affect on my ability to equalize my middle ears. Normally, the only time you should have to equalize is when pressure increases, such as when you are in an airplane that’s descending to land. In this case, equalization is done by holding the mouth and nose closed and gently exhaling. This will cause air to flow through the Eustachian tube into the middle ear. This is called the “valsalva maneuver” and it’s used by scuba divers when descending. (I’m a scuba diver.)

Due to improper fitting of Resound ear molds (silicone) I’m waiting for new molds to be made. Dr. Olson in one of his 2018 videos stated that he had experienced a lot of Resound ear mold fitting issues - so I guess I can add to that count.

Question - I’ve always always had vented ear molds/acrylic and was trying to get used to non-vent molds until my sore ears said enough. But while testing non-vent full ear silicone molds I drove over a very long high bridge and felt air pressure in my ears. Obviously my ears (eustachian tubes) wanted to pop and relieve pressure in my middle ears. Anyway with tight non-vent molds in place my ears didn’t pop. I spent the next several hours with aids on and then later that same day I removed silicone molds and shortly there after my right ear starting popping all the time. As if I was back at high point of bridge and releasing ear air pressure. This continued on and off for 24 hours and then went away. So if non-vent ear molds cannot relieve ear pressure (pressure in eustachian tubes) when flying, in mountains, driving over a high bridge, etc. how does that impact someone’s middle ear? Obviously when pressure builds - it wants to release at some point naturally. But if there is a non-vent mold completely sealing your ear - that pressure is going to build. And (maybe) in my case causeing my middle ear to pop on and off for 24 hours after I removed non-vented molds.

Thoughts.

A small pressure vent is beneficial is such cases. If you get a new mold with a pressure vent and you start getting feedback, it is very easy to plug or at least dampen the vent. The biggest problem with pressure is not going up in altitude, the eustachian tube will open and relieve the pressure. But when you come down, the eardrum can retract with negative pressure behind the eardrum. The more negative pressure there is, the harder it will be to equalize. If you are old enough to remember trying to drink a thick milk shake through a paper straw, the straw would collapse and no matter how hard you sucked the milk shake would not come up the straw. That is what can happen to the eustachian with the negative pressure behind the eardrum. I have had patients with severely retracted ear drums after an airplane flight. If the ear did not equalize I would tell them to drive up on the mountain (I am fortunate to mountains near my home) and start performing valsalva maneuvers on the mountain because there would be less pressure differential and easier to equalize the pressure.

Mackinac Bridge? Needed 5 more characters for acceptance. :yawning_face:

A vent in a mold isn’t always practical if your loss is that severe. But if your loss isn’t too bad then a vent would certainly help alleviate the problem. But time may also help getting rid of the problem