Phonak ActiveVent Mini Review

After seeing a DR Cliff on the Phonak Active Vent and titanium ear molds, I decided to look into this as I had my new Phonak aids for three months and as I needed closed vent domes, I did not like the sensation of my ears feeling plugged up so this seemed like a great solution.
As my audi did not yet have the Active Vent, I got impressions made for the titanium ear molds. After about a month my audi got a starter kit with the Active Vent and it had the #2 receivers which I needed.
As the aids have to be reprogramed for the Active Vents it was discovered that the titanium ear molds did not seal off enough and were not going to work for me. Phonak agreed to remake the ear molds and make them longer so there was a better chance of sealing off. My audi even tried the silicone domes that came with the kit, but they also did not seal off properly.
Then new ear molds did seal off properly and I was fitted with the Active Vents and was happy to be rid of the feeling of plugged up ears. After 2 days I discovered that the cable length of the #2 Active Vents was about 1/4" shorter than my current receivers and the cable was cutting into my ears and I also had a sore right ear from the titanium ear mold. So it was determined that I needed a #3 Active Vent receiver and as there was limited supply, I had to wait. Also Phonak agreed to extend the warranty on the titanium ear molds and when my audi finally did get a set of Active Vents with #3 receivers, she took new impressions for my ear molds. A month earlier my audi got a new device to do a scan of my ear canals for ear molds and this is how the new titanium ear molds were made.
So now I have had my Active Vents and titanium ear molds for over 3 weeks and I am completely satisfied with them. It also seems like I can hear better in some situations. The only thing that I don’t like is the loud popping sound that they make when going from open to closed vent. As my cell phone is paired with my aids, I have notices turned on for texts and sometimes I get startled when I get a text and I hear that loud popping sound. Especially annoying for group texts where too many of the group have to get in the last word. As I wear my aids about 16 hours a day and often do a lot of streaming, I have been putting them in the charger around mid day when I take my senoir siesta so I really don’t know how much battery power these Active Vents use.

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Your review gives me the impression Phonak made molds for you form 3d scanning. Is that true? I thought they weren’t doing that.

Congrats on the ActiveVents! I have an appointment for the 14th to start on mine.

WH

My audiologist took scans of my ear canals and she also made a new set of impressions. I asked her if Phonak used the scans she made and she said yes. As Phonak is one of two major aids that she offers, I doubt that she would invest in a scanner if Phonak would not use scans to make ear molds.
I hope that your Active Vents work out for you and I suggest that you check the length of the receiver cable when you get them as I had to step up to a #3 receiver.
TM

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Got it, Thanks! She had to order what she thinks I need. If it isn’t right, there may be a delay. I don’t think she has a supply on hand like ordinary receivers.

WH

What baffles me is that you can’t pick and choose what you want to close and open your vents for. This would drive me absolutely crazy!

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Put you phone on silence mode and you wont get text or email alerts popping off, particulairy when streaming or on phone conversation.

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Great. I don’t ever have my phone with notifications on anyway. If I had Phonak it would work fine for me.

Musician,
As you can make custom programs to control the Active Vent, it is possible to do this. I will discuss this with my audi at my next visit. As this is also new for my Audi, we are all learning together.
TM

Fred,
Your solution will certainly work, however I made the choice to keep my text alerts active as my son who lives on the left coast where we have a three hour time difference, often texts me at night and I want to be able to respond.
TM

There are times where I have silenced texts and set my phone to flash it’s extremely bright flashlight when I get a text. Of course, you do need to be where you can see it. It’s more eye-catching that it sounds, though.

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@Travelin_Man
Thanks for your helpful review. To be clear, do Active Vents require titanium ear molds in order to be fully operational or are they compatible with standard Phonak receivers?

The active vents replace the receiver is my understanding.

WH

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Hi John,
Titanium ear molds are not required for the Active Vent receivers. The starter kit for the Active Vent comes with a variety of silicone domes, so it is possible that the standard domes will not fit. The Active Vent is a replacement receiver for the standard receiver.
TM

Thanks (and to @WhiteHat) for filling out the picture. That makes sense.

I have had the ActiveVents for a while now. I am generally very pleased with them. There are two very annoying problems though…

When checking something on my phone (iPhone) the popping! With many apps video auto start can be switched off but not all. When googling for something I check some of the results and popping in my ears

When out in a hard surface noisy bar or restaurant the aids (as they should) change programs but this happens a lot and the frequent popping is very distracting

An interesting discussion. I have been using the Active Vents for nearly two months but am in the midst of a similar issue as the Traveling_man. The first pair were a trial kit and the audio had never fitted these before. While providing temporary slim tips (silicone) she took impressions for the titanium slim tips for a visit to occur in two weeks. I found the sound during the trial remarkably better, however, the dynamic range when the vents were closed seemed to remove the bass tones giving it a tinny sound quality. In addition, both of the tips were leaking sound and did not really perform well but it seemed obvious that we were headed in the right direction. When I returned for the titanium version of the slim tips, the leaking stopped but the fit of the right slim tip was bulky and uncomfortable so it was to be replaced and a new impression was taken. I also, as mentioned above, had the wrong length wire from the trial version and that required replacement. Unfortunately, when attempting to swap the tip to a receiver with a shorter wire the gasket that holds the receiver to the titanium fractured on the only side that fit properly and I was back to a silicone tip on the left and an ill-fitting titanium tip on the right while awaiting a new fabrication. After further investigation, there is a video on the Phonak professional website that shows how to assemble the titanium tip with the receiver that requires a gasket. I could not understand why she just did not swap that out and forwarded the video to her. She admitted how seemingly easy that appeared to be (requires a plastic instrument to hold the receiver and a silicone gasket placed after which the receiver is inserted into the gasket). I am now three weeks awaiting the new titanium fit on the right and the gasket to fit the left one back to the previous titanium tip. I did get enough of an experience after she tuned the lower bass tones properly and the fit was sealed to believe that it will be worth waiting for if I can get the right fit. The snapping sound was annoying for only a day for me and then seemed to disappear into a subconscious noise. I guess others could find that annoying. The moral of the story is that Phonak seemed to roll this out without the proper training to the caregiver. I am obviously an early adopter and seem to be ironing out the snags in the system hopefully to others benefit. It has great promise. When I return next week, I have asked to be given the plastic tool and extra gaskets since that seems to be a weak point in the system that could break while swapping out a wax guard since you have to push against the receiver while holding the slim tip to get the wax guard out (not a great part of the system there). In pushing, it is easy to see how you could push the receiver out the back of the slim tip and when that happens the gasket will break and you need a new one to reset the receiver in the slim tip. I hope some of this helps…am still looking forward to the finish. I listen to a lot of music (streamed directly and with headphones). It is a 5 - 10x improvement on direct streaming of music over a partially closed dome if the dynamic range of the aids are tuned properly. If not when the vents close you are only getting the frequencies that you are missing. I also use headphones and if you have a leak in the fit, noise canceling headphones will create a nasty feedback. That is completely fixed with a good fit. So, if you use over the ear headphones, take them with you to your appointment. Sorry for the long note. Good luck on this…here’s hoping that Phonak schools your audio better on this than mine and I would add that I am very fond of my audiologist. Here is a link on how the slim tip is assembled with the receiver. Phonak ActiveVent Support | PhonakPro

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Well actually you can if you speak to your audiologist. They can provide a program to that will close the vents at your discretion. They can also prevent the vent from closing until the noise surrounding you is unbearable which partially defeats the purpose of the receivers since they are expected to close if the aids detect noise in your surrounding that is too great and you are listening to someone. You can also program the hearing aids to be muted at your discretion while streaming if you wish to have complete noise cancellation while streaming. If you work with your audiologists you are more in control than you would think.

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Here is a link on how the receivers are assembled with the slim tip. Phonak ActiveVent Support | PhonakPro

You can use one of the Phonak programs that you can access from your phone and it should stay in that program and not switch programs which cause the vents to open and close.
TM

Thanks for the link. I only changed the wax guards once when my audi demonstrated how to do this when I got my first pair of titanium ear molds. As it was about 5 months ago, I recall just holding the ear mold and using an unscrewing motion to remove the wax guard. So far I have not had to change the wax guards. Also on my current set of titanium ear molds I had some soreness in my right ear canal after the second day of wearing the ear molds, but it went away in a few days. I think that I was not pushing the ear mold far enough into my ear canal.
I am curious if your audiologist had to change your settings for the titanium ear molds, because my settings are different for the different tips.
Thanks
TM