Open fit hearing aid?

I have been struggling for a few years with a Starkey digital ITE hearing aid ('m deaf in the other); the gain for high frequencies was just about nil (and, more than anything else, I need to amplify the 400 and 500 frequencies). I am investigating the possibilities of open fit hearing aids (I don’t like the muffled feeling I get with the ITE). I have about 35db loss at the 4000 and 55db loss at the 500o range, and 55db loss at 1000 or below; I am being told by one person that an open fit would not be best (although this person is not an audiologist, but a case worker. Would the speaker in the ear help to make these work for me?

John

Typically, open fit would not be recommended, at least in the past, with open fit hearing aids. This is due to the fact that most open fits used a very thin tube with the speaker on the ear. This doesn’t allow enough gain in the low tones.

With receiver in the ear, that has changed somewhat and we are now able to better fit these reverse losses and provide a more comfortable fitting.

Yet, there can sometimes be some compromise in that sometimes we are not able to fully amplify at 250-750 hz. Yet, since most of the intelligibility of words are above those frequencies, it may not be so much of a concern.

In addition, custom molds can be added to many receiver in the ear instruments, such as the Phonak Micro Savia ART CRT and Audeo line.

Thank you for the information. With the large number of manufacturers, it is difficult for me to make an intelligent choice about what might best for me. I’m not sure, though,how find a seller that represents a wide range of products. What is the best way for me to find what I need?

You know that muffled fit you describe, sounds like what professionals call occlusion. It doesn’t have to be this way. Some of the modern aids, including offerings from Starkey can include an IROS vent, which is basically a big hole that stops you feeling so blocked up. Modern feedback reduction systems compensate for this ‘hole’ and allow the vent to be a lot bigger than they used to recommend. So you may not have to go for an open fit to lose that problem you’ve been experiencing with your old aid.

A ‘few years’ ago when you got your old hearing aid, the tendency was to make the vent as small as possible to reduce the danger of feedback. But new technology has really made a difference here.

The number of manufacturers is not as big as you might think. If I were buying today, I doubt I would look any further than the big boys: Oticon, Widex, Starkey (Audibel), ReSound, and Siemens. You should easily be able to find at least three of those brands well represented in your area.

But demand that after you have been tested you get to listen to a real hearing aid. In fact, when you book the appointment you should be asking if the hearing professional will be offering this. Anyone who doesn’t let you listen to a real digital hearing aid is frankly, too lazy to be any use.

Also demand a free 30 day trial with no penalty if you return the aid. Any decent office will give you this.