Oticon dome becomes lodged in ear canal

#1

Rant #1:

OK I have closed domes with two little vents an Oticon OPNs.

Almost brand new the dome in my left ear stayed in the ear when I took the hearing aid out. The emergency room billed Medicare over $2,600 to take it out.

Months later my wife got a stuck dome out.

Months later another.

My ENT won’t take my insurance, and the audiologist is too busy today grrrrrrrrr

Today another and she can’t get it out. It’s back to the emergency room. So by the end of the day, the medicare charges to remove two pieces of silicone from my ears will be almost as much as the hearing aids cost.

For >$6,000 hearing aids, you would think Oticon could figure out how to keep the domes on the wax filter when removing the hearing aid. But no, it seems like rather than spend an extra penny or two for something secure, they would rather put something cheap together.

I replace the domes and wax filters at least once a month. In the end I’ll probably spend more on domes and filters than the hearing aids cost.

Rant #2:

I bought the rechargeable option. The batteries don’t last all day. I have to take the out for about an hour mid-day to recharge or else they quit around 10 PM.

I wrote to Oticon, they say that the batteries wear down quicker when the Bluetooth is on, but even with the Bluetooth off, they don’t last past 10 PM.

I get up around 6:30 AM.

The hearing aids work well, but the design is ridiculously cheap.

End of rants.

Bob

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#2

Emergency room? What about urgent care (hugely less expensive)? What about using a little flashlight and a tweezer? And are you sure you’re seating the domes properly?

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#3

Bob: I had the same dome issue once with my Bernafon open domes (Oticon second tier instrument sold through Costco.) I was able to get a next day appointment at an ENT’s where a NP was able to extract the offending dome. Urgent care didn’t have tweezers with enough curve to make the turn in the ear canal or with sufficient friction to get a good purchase on the dome.

Last week I got the OPN 1 HAs and am using the small closed domes. The middle size was just too big and was hurting my ear on both sides, despite it approximating the 10mm open domes from my previous device. I am crossing my fingers I don’t have the same difficulties you have had. I, too, have the rechargeable, but I have yet to have the problem of them running down and needing a mid-day feeding. I do not stream anything except using Bluetooth for short phone calls, maybe one or two a day. I arise same time as you, but I crawl into bed about 9:30 p.m., so I may be at the outer edge of the batteries’ capacity.

I still have about 6-plus weeks of trial period before the deal is sealed. I will say that the improvement in my hearing with this set has been quite good. I’ve been wearing Oticon products for 20-plus years. My hearing deteriorated substantially in the last three years but now I can once again have a conversation at a reception rather than smiling and nodding, but otherwise not chatting with folks. That was a huge plus for me.

I wish you well with your issues and hope you don’t have to engage in any more rants.

Eliot B.
VA

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#4

if you stream a lot, they use old tech bluetooth which eats batteries.

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#5

Sure sounds like someone needs to do a little shopping for curved hemostats or tweezers for this emergency.
Sure cheaper than doctors or nurses.

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#6

Back when I had domes, I lost a dome in an ear canal about 2x. Mostly by pulling too vigorously on the wire in removing the HA. My wife is an MD and has an otoscope handy and I found a relatively fine-tipped very narrow set of tweezers with the ends slightly rounded and blunted. I would imagine wearing an LED headlamp would also do as a light source. I sat on a chair and laid my head down sideways on a table to have as steady a head as possible. She was able to carefully and quickly removed the dome both times with no trauma to my ear canal (I used an alcohol wipe on the forceps end first).

I avoided repeats by pullling very slowly on the wire for removal and by gently tugging upwards and outwards on the top rear of my ear lobe while attempting to extract a receiver.

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#7

I have Phonak Marvel 70. I decided getting Vented ear-molds. My Audi took the impressions and sent them off to Phonak. The cost $100 and I can return them or get a replacement with smaller vents. It was a great move, no more changing domes or worrying about them coming off in my ear. I recommend custom ear-molds. BTW, the first few days I had the occlusion and then it disappeared. I’m a happy camper.

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#8

I’ve been using Oticon domes on my Phonak aids for over 8 years now. On both RIC and BTE style aids. Obviously Oticon are not made for Phonak aids, but not once in 8 years have I lost a dome in my aural canals. So that leaves me with questions…
They could be to big and the connection must be too loose.
Are the domes to big in size for your aural canal? Making the domes too firm a fit and hard to get out.
When connecting the domes is it very easy to connect them together or a firm connection?
Are you gently easing the domes out or just yanking them out?

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#9

BTW, not encouraging anyone to DIY on dome removal unless they feel they have an assistant available qualified to do it but Amazon sells relatively inexpensively both the old handheld mechanical optical otoscope (starting @ $20) and digital optic ones from which the image of your ear canal can be projected to a monitor (starting @ $32).

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#10

I too had problems with domes from my Oticon HA remaining in the ear. I was using 8mm, switched to 6mm and no problems.

I have found a way to reuse the wax filters. If you soak them in hydrogen peroxide the wax dissolves and you can use them over and over.

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#11

Happened to me once in 20 years. My fault because I was a bit sloppy when I changed the dome. Can’t blame the dome, aid, or mfg.

#2 I never got the thing about rechargeable batteries. Batteries are cheap, easy to change, and many of my days are long ones.

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#12

Emergency room? What about urgent care (hugely less expensive)? What about using a little flashlight and a tweezer? And are you sure you’re seating the domes properly?

  1. Urgent care means I have a co-pay, emergency room means no co-pay plus after 5 PM the clinics close

  2. Flashlight and tweezers worked two times so far, but this time my wife couldn’t get it out (we’re batting 50/50 - besides it’s right next to my ear drum - what could go wrong there?

  3. Yes, I’m seating the domes properly

I repeat, for a +$6000 set of hearing aids, this is inexcusable

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#13

if you stream a lot, they use old tech bluetooth which eats batteries.

With no bluetooth the battery life is about 8-10 hours, I stay awake longer than that in a day

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#14

Sure sounds like someone needs to do a little shopping for curved hemostats or tweezers for this emergency.
Sure cheaper than doctors or nurses.

Yes, but it would be better if they engineered this properly. Why should this happen at all? The ER doctor says it isn’t uncommon.

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#15

The audiologist says this is the right size

Especially after the first ER trip, I make sure the domes are on properly

Yes I’m gently pulling them out.

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#16

Thanks everyone for your help, I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but I’m very irritated that this should happen 4 times in a little over a year.

Bob

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#17

Took a quick look at eBay after reading your original post. There were hundreds of curved hemostats for under $10 delivered to your door.

Just saying.

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#18

Hi Bobby,
Sorry that you’ve had this issue. While it can happen (I’ve had it happen myself), the number of instances that you’ve had is far from normal in my experience working with patients wearing Oticon devices. If helpful, one thing that you may want to review is your process for removing your hearing aids. Some folks grab the device off the top of the ear and then pull it which stretches the receiver wire and creates a lot of stress on its connection to the dome in your ear. We counsel patients to try the opposite approach by first pulling the dome out by (grabbing with their fingers as close as possible to the receiver tip and dome in your ear).

Another option is to have your provider add retention straps onto your receivers (which sit in the bowl of your outer ear and can be used to help remove the receiver and dome safely).

Don’t know if this will helpful, but I’d rather help with technique than have you, your wife or another medical professional with tweezers in your ear again!

Chris

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#19

Thanks again for the suggestions.

Chris, I’ll try to grab the wire nearer the dome but it won’t be that close. I have a very long ear canal (so I’ve been told). Still it’s worth a try.

I saw the audiologist’s assistant today who can’t find anything wrong, so she fitted me with a smaller dome in the left ear. It doesn’t fit tight so it has another piece of plastic to keep it from falling out of my ear. A compromise, yes, but IMHO not a good one.

I really don’t feel comfortable with my wife taking the dome out. It’s close to the eardrum, and I have a big bend in the canal. As careful as she is, she isn’t trained for that type of a job. If it comes out easy for her OK, but after a few dozen tries, it’s emergency room for me, and that’s a waste.

I still think for a $6,000 pair of hearing aids, for the dome to stay in the ear once is cheap, defective, design and manufacturing. The company should fix the problem, recall all the hearing aids, and fix them at no charge to a more advanced technology.

Every business is in the customer service business.

Rant #2 Battery life

The audiolgist’s assistant told me the batteries have never been good for over 12 hours, especially when using bluetooth.

She said they last for 6 months at full capacity and cost $30 each.

So that’s $120/year for rechargeable batteries PLUS I forget how much the charger cost me but I know it was over $100.

I bought it to save the environment, but if I don’t get a chance to put the batteries in the charger for a half hour per day, I end up putting a disposable in anyway.

The disposables last about 4 days each in these hearing aids. That makes 91.25 batteries per ear per year, times 2 hearing aids is 182.5

I can get batteries at about $0.24 each, so that times 182.5 is $43.80 per year as opposed to $120 for the rechargeable.

I’m beginning to believe Oticon’s “People First” slogan refers to the bank accounts of the people who own the company.

I guess I’m stuck with these Oticons for another 5 years or so, I just can’t afford the price tag, but next time I will not be buying the same brand.

Any better ones out there?

Every business is in the customer service business. If your customer has a problem, the company has an opportunity to either lose a customer for life, or gain a customer for life. It depends on the outcome.

If someone in my business has a problem, I solve the problem and then give the customer something extra for free to make the customer feel glad that he or she had a problem. I keep customers for life that way.

Oticon is losing a customer for life.

Bob

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#20

Someone on the forum recently mentioned getting batteries at Costco for $.17 each.

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