Stuffed up ears


Periodically, maybe every two weeks, I get a feeling that my right ear has cotton stuffed in it. I have very tight fitting molded earpieces. If I take out that hearing aid and run the little tool though the (I guess this might be called a venting hole) it seems to meet some resistance, but finally goes all the way through. When I ask the Costco technician about getting that hole enlarged (These are KS8s) she says this is not the problem - instead I have a wax buildup inside the aid. It seems funny though that clearing out the small venting hole removes the issue for a while. I would appreciate any similar experience on the forum. Running the tool though the left aid - it ever feels tight, and I never experience the “stuffed up” feeling in the left aid.



Try a Jodi-Vac.



I appreciate your suggestion, but my question was more about whether the vent holes in my hearing aids (being too small) could cause the stuffed up effect that I’m feeling.



I think aids would only cause a “stuffed up” feeling if the vent hole was plugged, the tube (if you wear BTE aids) is plugged or the dome is non-vented and jammed IN the canal too deep.

If you run a tool through the vent hole and it immediately relieves the stuffed-up feeling, that is your prob. If you have the same sensation of a stopped-up ear with NO aid in it, it’s likely your ear canal. I’m hoping it’s the aid - a much simpler fix.



When the aid is removed, the stuffed up feeling goes away. When I try to convince the Costco fitter that running the tool through the vent hole fixes it she insists that the problem is a wax buildup inside the aid.



If running the tool through the vent fixes it, it does sound like wax is partially or fully clogging the vent. Maybe the vent is not big enough and a little wax pushes it over the threshold where it is uncomfortable for you.

Side note, if your tip (dome or custom mold) goes in far enough to reach the bony part of the ear canal it should eliminate occlusion, even in an unvented fit.



It seems like there are some remnants of the mold that are partially blocking the vent hole. When I push the tool thru I don’t see any wax come out. You mentioned occasion: I was under the impression the occlusion was an echo effect? I don’t have that. Just a stuffed up sensation.



If you put your fingers in your ears and seal, then talk, that’s occlusion. Your voice sounds louder and ears stopped up. Echo or reverb are different.

If your hearing loss at 500hz is greater than 40 db loss you may not hear/feel the occlusion.



Which was the basis for my recommending the Jodi-Vac. It’s a daily maintenance kind of thing, and should eliminate the wax buildup problem. Is the vent hole straight or curved?



The vent hole is curved. I looked at the ad. I didn’t see a tip which would adapt to a hole that small. I am inclined to think it is a hole which has some residual mold material left over. I wonder if there is some abrasive drill/tool which could enlarge the hole.



You’re right, the tip wouldn’t fit in there. It worked great on the vents in the molds for my RIC aids, but I discovered it’s limitations when I recently trialed a CIC. That had a curved vent. The tip doesn’t go all the way in there, but probably does eliminate wax at the entrance of the vent, which would prevent the wax from being pushed down in there.
If running the tool through the vent clears things up, maybe you should just run the tool through there every morning.
If the vent is curved, I doubt there is any way to drill it larger.
If you suspect residual material, ask your audi to let you see it under the microscope.



I wear BTE hearing aids with ear moulds. I had my vent in my right mould enlarged. I just sent it back to the ear mould lab and they enlarged it. My vent has a curve in it and they still managed to enlarge it.

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Good to know. Thanks.



Your profile is similar to my left ear. I’m curious how much better your hearing is with the KS8s. My Audi did not recommend them because of my left side. She recommended Phonaks with a mould for the left. But I didn’t like them plus the mould gave me headaches. I now have Resound Forte 8’s with a power dome in the left ear.

To get back on topic, I too get that stuffed feeling from time to time. But then I also get it when there’s no HA in. Depending on what caused your hearing loss, it may just be the way your ears are now. On the other hand, I may no know what I’m talking about.

The Audi did give me a couple of packages of Cerustop. They actually replace the tiny center piece. I haven’t tried them yet. The other thing she suggested was to keep my ears clean, even though I don’t see any wax on the domes. Every few weeks, I use a syringe to gently stream warm water into my ears, just like the doctor does. Again, I have no idea whether it actually does anything.