Switched from CIC to BTE-RIC

I recently changed from a CIC style HA to a BTE-RIC style and I thought I would detail my experiences so far and ask a question near the end.

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First, I thought I would never go to a BTE style. I first bought a Starkey Destiny CIC for my left ear around April 2009 and I was very happy with that, although not happy with the $2700 cost and some issues with the audiologist. Then in August of 2010 I found that Costco has a hearing aid center so I visited there and received a hearing test. I wanted a CIC for my right ear to go with my left and the audiologist there (who has since left) sold me a Rexton Insite CIC. So then I had a Starkey for the left and Rexton for the right. I didn’t know it was not really a good thing to have two different brands like that.

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Although I could hear pretty well with this setup I could tell some minor differences with the two CIC’s and the Insite was just not powerful enough. Also, occlusion became a major factor with two CIC hearing aids. My voice sounded very loud to me and chewing was so loud that I would have to stop chewing in order to hear (couldn’t chew and hear at the same time). I eventually returned the Insite and asked the new Costco audiologist what to do. She recommended their store brand which is really a Rexton Cobalt 16, a BTE RIC style (similar to Siemens’s Pure). I had some apprehension but they are so tiny and had so many features I decided to try a pair of them.

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The Cobalt’s are pretty comfortable, I have to say. There are things I like about the CIC, like phone usage, but overall the Cobalt’s are working well in every environment I’ve tried them. I had some fit issues at first and, of course, some feedback issues (fit and feedback go hand in hand I’ve learned). The wire from the hearing aid to the receiver in the ear was too short and the “elbow” where the wire turns to go in the ear was straightened every time I inserted it. The original domes were too small also, so now with the right length wire and the “big-boy domes” I have zero feedback, no matter what. I can hug someone or pull a tight sweater off over my head and get no feedback. Sound volume and quality went up too with the better fit.

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I have the 10/12 double domes with the 55Db receiver and I normally position them in my ear so I am not occluded. If I want I can push them in a little further and wiggle them around until I get a seal but that is an uncomfortable feeling and they eventually slip back to the unsealed location anyway.

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Question: I’m having good success with these and I can’t really identify anything I’m missing but Costco has the Resound Future (Alera) and I’ve heard mostly good things here about that brand/model. Would you recommend trying out the Resound? Is there much chance I would be better off or should I just count my blessings with the Cobalt’s?

I would count my blessings and make sure I had a Dry&Store as moisture can be a real problem.

Your loss can be remediated by any good aid and you made a good move going to BTEs. In the long run you should consider a traditional BTE and custom earmold, but for now you should be fine! Best of luck!

Dude, I’m impressed you aren’t having that “something is hanging on my ear” feeling after going from CICs to the BTEs…but, like you, I really like the sound quality of these BTEs I’m trialling. (Oticon Agile Pros.) I think if it’s not a big deal to trial another set you should go for it, and I think also that you’ll know almost immediately if the Resounds are gonna be as good as what you’ve experienced with the Cobalts. Interestingly, I’m trialling these BTE RITE Oticon Agiles along with CIC Oticon Agiles, and the difference between the two sounds is like night and day. One wouldn’t think so but I guess the acoustics of BTEs and CICs make the difference. Or maybe how they’ve been programmed, who knows. ANYWAY, if you can, see if you can trial the others…good luck!

Does the ear mold have the same kind of feeling as a CIC? With two CICs I could hear myself chew and my voice was so overpowering I couldn’t hear anything else if I was talking so in the normal give and take of conversations it was almost like the effect of using a two-way radio (“over”).

I functioned OK with that style, just didn’t like it.

With the Cobalts, I can’t feel it on my ear at all. I’m used to wearing glasses although I wear contacts most of the time. I don’t notice the glasses or the HAs on my ears.

I’ll see what I can do as far as trialing the Future. I have an appointment for a followup next week. I don’t know if they will let me trial two at once. To change receivers I had to “return” the short receiver, which meant standing in line at the Costco return counter with the audiologist, then purchasing the longer receiver. It was a wash financially but it seemed like a clunky process.

Melissa, I take by your statement that you are perhaps doing a bit better than when you first came here, complaining about that hook and aid behind your ear!

I hope that is the case (that you are doing better)!

I went to Logan’s restaurant last night and it was loud. I was noticing how I could hear in that noise and I did pretty well on the general program. I don’t think I missed anything my wife or the server said. Then I switched to the speech-in-noise program and it was even easier to hear my wife. That would have been an impossible situation before hearing aids. I’m pretty happy with these little guys.

I went back for another adjustment/meeting with the audiologist. I was starting to sense that I was not getting the highs on my right side, or at least not as much as the left. She turned up Speech for both, 3 clicks and then turned down speech on the left, 1 click. I think they are more balanced now and I have learned my car has a pretty loud blinker (turn indicator). Didn’t know that. According to her we are close to the max for these 55DB receivers.

My only remaining issue is the fit and it is a vanity issue. Where the aids sit most comfortably means the wire is just away from the side of my head, not flat against it. I’m using the Renovator method of heating the receiver wire with a hair dryer and adjusting the fit and I have made some progress but it still pulls away a little. I think for my next session I will heat the receiver wire in the position I want it to stay, let it cool, then put it away for the night and see if it stays in position better. Thanks for the tip, Renovator.

The audiologist said she had a demo model of the Resound and I could wear it around the store so I guess I will do that just to see what the difference is. But, I could keep these Rexton’s and be happy with them.

Speaking of vanity, she also changed the shell color to a dull medium gray and it probably blends in better with my hair and glasses when I wear them. They are so tiny though, they are not very noticeable when I look at them with the mirror.

Renovator, I still desperately miss my CICs so I may begin my search for a pair once again and relegate the BTEs to backup. I can’t get the flippin’ wires to fit right and my HA guy seems to not want to do it…he told me about the blowdryer method but I’m still not sure they’re the right length. If I hold my face perfectly still I have no problem, but if I smile there’s a tugging sensation. Ugh!! My ears move upward about a half an inch when I smile. No canal movement…the movement is from the aperture of my ears outward. So I have tight fitting custom molds that don’t move, connected to the wires and BTEs that DO move and the result is a red, sore indent on top of each ear within a few hours.

I’m going to a new HA guy and trying for CICs again, although I love the way these BTEs sound.