Phonak titanium molds with Active Vents problems

This is a long, frustrating and tedious experience.

I have been wearing Phonak P90-R for two years and have used silicone vented domes on my power receivers. I regularly changed these to fresh ones.

I did my own fitting using the Target NoahLink Wireless software. I was very happy with my hearing improvement.

In November 2023 I decided that the itchiness and wax build up in my ears could be better managed with titanium slim tip molds. I was keen to give the Active Vents a try. I’m booked in to see an ENT specialist for an assessment but it’s a four month wait.

My adult son, who doesn’t have a hearing problem but wanted custom fit earbuds for his streaming, had made his own impressions and sent them off overseas to have custom molds made with the specific electronics inside. He has been extraordinarily pleased with the awesomeness of these custom fitted audio earbuds.

I found an audiologist who was happy to take an impression, and send them off to Phonak to fit the Active Vent recievers. Phonak won’t accept impressions from consumers.

The first pair of MAV receivers and molds arrived just before Christmas. After a few days the molds were too painful to wear. There was pressure against both ear canal sides and the right receiver constantly pressed against the ear canal wall, stopping sound reaching the ear drum.

I went back to my audiologist to have these titanium molds newly made. They did not do a new impression.

In January 2024 the new molds finally arrived from Phonak and on the day seemed to fit my ears well. My audiologist did a new fitting session with real ear measurements. Both the left and right MAV receivers kept falling out of the silicone gasket that were inside the titanium molds. My audio pushed them back in. I walked out of the audiologist office and both MAV receivers had fallen out by the time I reached my car. I returned to the office and the silicone gasket had obviously broken inside the molds.

The mold and receivers were sent back to Phonak immediately. I waited some weeks and they returned in February, apparently fixed. But while still in the office the audiologist and I could see that the left gasket had no inside silicone portion. The titanium molds had been with Phonak for over two weeks and they had sent it back like this!!

My audiologist gave me two silicone ear molds to use with the Active Vents while completely new titanium molds were ordered from Phonak.

I live in Perth, Western Australia and the Phonak office is over on the east coast. It takes a long time for each delivery trip across the country.

I received the completely new titanium molds just before the Easter weekend. I had kept the broken molds at home and finally had a week of wearing the titanium molds plus the MAV receivers. Then the left power receiver stopped working completely. I went back to my audiologist. This was getting ridiculous.

It is now late March, Easter weekend, I have my new MAV receivers and titanium molds and have worn them for a week and on the day before Good Friday the gasket has again broken in the left mold. I have to wait until the public holiday weekend is over before I can get help.

Since I first received the MAV receivers and titanium molds in late December 2023 until now 30th March 2024 I have worn them for about two weeks in total. Only one week with the titanium molds and one week with the replacement silicone molds provided by the Phonak representative here in Perth.

And yes, the silicone molds are causing the familiar itching and wax issues again.

Does anyone know if this is a design fault with the titanium molds or am I getting a raw deal here? The three month refitting period that comes with the titanium mold order has been extended by Phonak because they have acknowledged that this problem has been their error.

I am very disappointed and am considering asking for a complete refund. I have no problem with my excellent audiologist who has been patient and understanding, and just as frustrated as me with this failure. This audiologist practice has not dealt with Active Vents or titanium molds before. But none of this has been their fault. Another practitioner, who I saw after Christmas there did say she didn’t recommend them. I can see why, now!

While I have been waiting for each failure to be fixed, I’ve worn both my Phonak P90-R and P90-312 battery hearing aids with vented domes. I either ask my audiologist to put the saved session back onto the hearing aids or I do it myself at home using the Target NoahLink Wireless. I can save the sessions from the audiologist from the hearing aids.

Currently I am using the Active Vents with a silicone mold in the left ear and the titanium mold in the right ear. :stuck_out_tongue: The left ear has developed an itch, the right seems fine.

I’d love to hear if others have had this problem too. I did say I would ask here and my audiologist is also keen to know.

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Why are you trying to fix something that’s not broken?
Go back to what worked well for you.

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Hi Raudrive,
My hearing improvement has been great but the itchiness and wax build up are causing me and my doctor concern. I get complete wax blockages that need medical syringeing. There are areas of concern on the canal walls. Therefore I am waiting for an ENT specialist assessment. It can become serious when chronic.

The smaller power receivers and small silicone vented domes push further into the ear canals than the titanium moulds. Maybe this is why I get wax build up that make me totally unable to hear, with or without HAs. This means a visit to the docs to get it cleared out.

I went for the titanium molds option as I believed it would help with the ear canal reaction. They sit much more exteriorly, and they are inert. So no reaction.
And the Active Vents seemed worth trying. I do think they are great. They just won’t stay in the molds. :stuck_out_tongue:

The gasket is easily replaceable at home. There are little plastic or silicone tubes. You insert one into the “outside” end of your mold after removing all of the old one. It click into place. You then cut off the part of the tube sticking out of your mold. There is a youtube video on this. The tube is called link AV.

WH

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See this thread.

I have titanium slim tips with acuvent receivers. Love them. I had a problem at first until I got the parts to fix the slimtips myself. Because they are easily reversable, I was initially putting them in my ears upside down (with the tabs at the top) until I wised up :(.

Here is a video demonstrating putting it all together after a gasket failure, except it doesn’t show removal of the old material.

How to prepare and assemble your SlimTip Titanium for ActiveVent™

WH

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The accu vent are hit and miss. They need replacement every 6 months clog up. There are some better options then that vent especially if you have wax issues. As for the titanium molds. I use them and have had no issues it depends on the fit and the vent. I didn’t talk much in this website but write a question and I try to get asap.

I use c-shells, acrylic, and i like them. No big problems, except the right one tends to slip out. I cut a sliver of two-sided skin/fabric tape (it’s boob tape) and stick it to the bottom of the acrylic foot. It stays in place that way.

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I’ve had one that has lasted over two years. And one side I’ve probably replaced 5 or 6 times in the same amount of time. One side goops up with wax much more than the other.

When it gets gooped up the receiver doesn’t want to switch into open mode when it is time to do that. I hear the click but the vent stays closed. A puff of air will open it again, but that gets old pretty quickly!

WH

The accu vent didn’t last as long as you got them to last for me. I am glad they worked well for you. For me the had to be changed every 6 months at a 120 per ear. I finally tried a different method and got better results. But everyone’s hearing loss and needs are different. Thanks for sharing.

Frequent wax trap changes help. I wish I’d changed them even more often. Doing it weekly now.

WH

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I have a little magnifying glass that I use to see whether the wax filter needs changing. Sometimes a month and sometimes a week.

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Thank you everyone and Happy Easter,
I woke to all your responses which are a great help. I did not know exactly how that silicone gasket was fitted.
When I inspected the outside of the titanium mold that 'tube ’ looked like it was glued in. :wink:

This is what it looks like when the MAV receiver fell out.
I never push on the back of the receiver to reseat the titanium mold into my ear, but always on the back rim , front(anterior) edge of the mold until it sits flush with my inner ear wall skin. So I’m not ever pushing the receiver against the silicone gasket. And yet it tears.

As I’ve only had the Active Vents in my ears for two weeks over these past three months, because they’ve been sent to and been with Phonak for repairs, I have only had to change the wax filter once. That’s was when the left AV receiver failed. There wasn’t any wax in there, but I thought it might be worth a try. It still wasn’t working after the change. And so it needed replacing. Phonak agreed.

I also use a jeweller’s loupe, which fits by an elastic over my head, thus leaving both my hands free to hold and thoroughly inspect and clean the receivers, molds and filters of wax every day. There really isn’t that much wax but I have very, very narrow ear canals with exostoses. It only takes a tiny 2mm piece of wax to block my hearing when it is pushed past the second ear canal bend. :stuck_out_tongue:

There is no way of extracting that. I use wax softener drops often. Then when it blocks completely the doctor’s visit works to flush and clear it away.

I shall wait until I visit my audiologist to find out if I can source the ‘link AV’ and tools here in Perth Australia. That’s sounds like a way forward without the constant shunting back and forth across this continent.

I am very grateful for the video links, and your experiences with these. It does sound like a bit of an expensive option if I wasn’t covered by the initial warranty. My audiologist visits have been covered for now but I’m a private customer and not on any plan.

I’ll keep you updated.

Cheers
Anna

We have members here that use the Jodi Vac to suck out dirt and wax to clean their hearing aids. Most are very happy with this.

You are doing a great job of working this out.
Hang in there.

Hi Anna. I also live in the best place in the world. :grin:

I have Phonak titanium moulds which are great, but I don’t have active vents. I have a small vent in each mould and it does tend to get clogged with wax after a few days, which is easy to remove.

It sounds like you might have more of a wax problem than me, but perhaps you could ask about titanium moulds without active vent receivers? My moulds are entirely custom, because of awkward ear canals. Not slim tips, and the receivers can’t be changed without sending them back to Phonak, but that has not been an issue except when one fell out and they fixed it for free in a few days. The moulds don’t go in far, certainly not past the 2nd bend, but they stay in without issues.

Have you tried something like Miracell for the itching? Costco in Perth has it but I don’t think they sell except to their audiology clients, but I got it from Amazon AU.

Thank you White hat,
I shall ask when I go back for my appointment.
I don’t think my audiologist knows about that. This is her first time with titanium molds and active vents, and the others in the practice, too, are learning with me. :stuck_out_tongue:

They have just returned them to Phonak each time there had been a problem because it’s within warranty. I don’t get charged the audio fees but will have to once the extended cover expires. So I need to learn to do it myself or move away from active vents. I’m not convinced the benefits are so great for me. Though my sad experience with the damage has been disappointing.

I feel confident I could do it myself though. It depends on the consumable expense over time for the link AV tubes.

Thank you for your input. :+1:

Cheers
Anna

Hi xyzzy,
Perth, Western Australian? Yes we love it too. After travelling extensively in our youth and in our 70s, we feel lucky here. But others may disagree! :stuck_out_tongue: People usually love their home place.

My wax seems so minimal but it irritates the canal. :wink: You can barely see it on the ear pieces or in the filters, under a jeweller’s loupe, whether domes or custom molds and yet when it blocks sound it’s awfully distressing.

I have heard of your set up with the electronics embedded in acrylic and a permanent vent. I wonder if they are more durable than the 6 monthly active vent warranty? But you say you have the titanium ones. Does that need a different impression mold created to fit the normal power receiver electronics? I could request that alternative. :thinking:

My titanium molds don’t go in far either and they are basically firm. I just need to occasionally return them to the right position; a push with a clean index finger on the anterior mold edge. Probably when I talk too much :laughing: I could try the ‘boob tape’ suggested by @Don above but . . . . what if the tape got stuck in there? :woozy_face:

It is only the normal small power receiver with generic small vented domes that get pushed deeper into the ear canals, certainly past the first bend and it’s behind that that the wax gets compacted and needs syringeing. Then there’s apparently some redness and infection that builds up. Static environment equals infection. Hence the foray into this active vent in titanium molds with the past three months being a different sort of difficult. :stuck_out_tongue:

I will try to source Miracell. I’ve never visited Costco here in Perth but have shopped in Outer London. Bulk everything! I have heard others mention it in this forum but thought it was not an Australian product; not in our chemist/pharmacy.

And @Raudrive do you use the Jodi Vac only on the devices or in the ear? :open_mouth: I have no problem cleaning the molds, filters, domes or receivers or hearing aid microphones with my brush tool. Especially using the jewellers loupe. It’s the compacted ear canal wax that needs removing. Maybe the ENT specialist will have a home solution.

Cheers
Anna

@Stargazer , @WhiteHat and @raylock1
Since I’ve barely had any time with the active vents actually in my ears I haven’t yet had enough experience with how long these power receivers will last for me.
I did expect to get more than one week though. :stuck_out_tongue: Phonak replaced that one for free. It was the receiver failing not wax in the active vent.

I shall post further once I know more.

Thank you everyone. I have been reading many posts here to help in the past two years. It helps to have this awesome support.

Cheers
Anna, 72yo and still happy to learn to overcome new challenges.

The Jodi Vac is an excellent tool to clean the hearing aids. In particular the receivers, microphones and switch areas.

I personally have never used one. Members here on the forum have said good things about them

At this point, why not try acrylic molds??? You seem way past the, “screw me once shame on you”…

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