I’m new to wearing hearing aids (a few months). I am wearing widex evoke fusion 2 hearing aids. I’m having problems getting volume into my left ear with tulip tips. The audiologist I go to is having a custom mold made for my left ear while leaving the tulip tip in my right ear. I haven’t seen anything about mixing tips with custom molds on this forum and was wondering if anyone has done this and how it’s working out for them.
It would definitely depend on your hearing loss in each ear. Not having seen your hearing (and I’m probably going to shoot myself in the foot here), I would guess you may have worse low frequency hearing in your left ear. If this is true, you would definitely feel as though the volume in your left ear is not the same as that which you are hearing in the right.
Quick primer on frequencies and how they relate to hearing: The low frequencies (<1000Hz) are where we get the “power” or volume of sound. Some describe it as the “boom” of sound. The high frequencies are where we get “clarity.” I hear it practically every day in my practice when a person has a typical high frequency hearing loss where their lows are pretty good, but their highs are really poor: “I can hear people talking to me…I just think they’re speaking Korean!” The clarity, or the individual sounds that make words understandable, is gone.
In your case, IF your lows are depressed also, you may have more trouble even hearing the sounds. If the lows in your left ear are worse than those in your right, then sure, you’re going to want to wear a more occluding mold or double dome in that ear.
To your original question, you absolutely can wear different tips in each ear, or a tip in one ear and a mold in the other. Sometimes it’s necessary. I do it all the time with patients when it’s warranted, although if I can get away with, say, a tulip in one ear and a double (instead of a mold) in the other ear, I will do so only for cosmetic reasons. That being said, there are mold configurations you can get that can barely be seen, e.g., skeleton molds, canal lock molds, etc.
Hope this was helpful. I apologize for the length, but I love to educate. I forewarn my patients that by the time they leave my office, the will learn more about ears than they ever wanted to know.
Yes. I am a self-professed ear nerd.
Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. Your information was helpful.
The pleasure was all mine!
I have a custom mold for my right ear and an open-dome for my left ear as my hearing loss is asymmetrical. In terms of day-to-day use, I don’t have any issues using two different tips. I feel as though both ears hear similarly when I am wearing my hearing aids.
The only difficulty I’m finding with having two different ear pieces, is that as a nurse, it is very difficult, if not impossible thus far, to find an amplified stethoscope that can easily accommodate two different ear pieces. It can be done, but not easily. The are with the open dome could use streaming, but the ear with the ear mold would need a wire. To me, that just doesn’t work at present. Hopefully there will be a better solution when I actually NEED to use an amplified stethoscope.
I was told to take my aids out when using a stethoscope because hearing aids filter out some of the sounds. That may be why you’re struggling to find some that work with your aids
There is no reason not to use different types of fittings in each ear. The fitter does need to program the HA’s for the different fitting and specific vent lengths, and do the REM test and adjustment.
I was having persistent feedback in my left ear in particular and after trying open sleeves, and then closed sleeves, and open in one, and closed in the other, I finally decide to go for custom molds. I probably could have gotten away with just a mold in my left ear, and possibly even an open one in my right. However, I did a bit of research, and decided that there are some advantages in having a more closed fitting in both ears. Most people think of a hearing aid as just providing amplification of sound. With a closed fitting, it can not only provide amplification, but it can also do some sound reduction. When the HA output goes down to zero, a closed fitting will in addition reduce natural sound coming to the ear. When driving in my car on a smooth road I find that it gets amazingly quiet when there is no music on, or nobody talking in the vehicle. The HA’s go into noise reduction mode, and am sure that it ends up being quieter than when wearing no HA’s at all.
Long story, but for sure you can go different in each ear, but there may be some advantages in noise reduction, and recognition of sound directionality with a more closed fitting in each ear. This said, my HA’s have own voice correction, so I don’t suffer some of the disadvantages that some experience with occlusion when using closed fittings.
@KerBear I found this very interesting article that might help you with your mold and the stethoscope issue.