Thin shell fabrication?

Well, here I am again. I notice a pattern. Sorry if I’m a complainer. I usually hate that–except if it’s me and I have a good reason. And well, I’m sensitive to this kind of stuff. I am, however, happy to have hearing aids and that they work and I can hear better than I would without them, that’s for sure.

So back to my complaint:

I bought my Widex 440s on April 15, 2013. They were expensive, but I like the sound. I’m used to Widex. However, I was disappointed by the quality of the plastic in these aids! I dropped one on my bathroom tile and had it fixed; it was one day out of warranty, but they honored it. I dropped it again on the wood floor or in my hallway or bedroom and had to replace it because it cracked again!

When I took it back the second time, I complained because I felt the shells were too fragile. She said she told them to completely remake it but the company considers dropping an aid and cracking it, patient error.

Hmmm. These are CIC’s. and they are the size of almonds. And besides almost eating one a couple of time–when I was eating almonds–something I heard about and couldn’t ever imagine myself doing because I’m not that dumb, but–anyway, being the size of almonds, and smooth plastic, they are easy to lose hold of.

However, I still have one of my original Starkys, which is 20 years old, in fine and pristine condition, except the innards. But the only reason I don’t have the other one is because a car ran over it. I have a Sonic Innovation that replaced the Starky, and is at least 12 years old. These are both so solid, I’d have to stomp on these aids to crush them. I dropped them – sometimes – over the years–and no problem. I’ve lived in this house for 8 years and these are the first hearing aids that ever cracked on me. And twice within a year and a half. And I’ve had other Widex, and other Starkeys. But I lost those. I forgot they were in my lap in my car, or something…Anyway, they never cracked.

Is this a Widex deal or the fabricator??? I did notice when I first got them how the shells flexed when I held them between my fingers, they were so thin. I thought it was a comfort thing. Wrong!

I’m kind of concerned that the other one will crack now because it’s showing a weak spot by the vent. I imagine this will be considered patient error.

Isn’t it kind of soon to be be having these kinds of issues? Is this a Widex thing or a vender/fabricator thing. I don’t know all the back room/vendor relationships/responsibilities. The audiologist is the only representative I see. I think these aids are too fragile for $7,190.00!

Any thoughts???

The old plastic is so much stronger!


I had a Widex senso shell crack apart from age once. Never been dropped, it just one day developed a crack and an entire section of shell came loose. It was a backup-aid for me, and it was so old they wouldn’t recase it. These Widex shells do seem a tad brittle.

Try putting them in and taking them out only over a carpeted floor or sitting down. Dropping any HA from the height of an average person onto a hard floor is going to cause damage. The cracked case was probably the least of your worries, Dropping the HA from the height you did probably did more damage to the HA innards than just cracking the case with the G loads it was subjected to as it hit the floor. Dropping the HA on the floor is patient error, the case cracking or falling apart do to the case flexing is not. Why don’t you have your audi ask Widex if the aids cases can be made thicker or if they are as thin as they are because of the size of your ear canal.

No doubt dropping on a hard surface is not good, but I have ITC aids going back to the 80’s, and there is definitely a shell material difference, with it becoming lighter and “cheaper feeling” (for lack of better way to describe) as time passes. I have aids from the 80’s I can still wear, but I do not have any from this century that the shell has lasted long enough to become a go-to back-up aid. I finally broke down and actually bought a backup aid, that’s my Siemens Aquaris that also serves as my beach and boating aid.

Shell fabrication methods have changed. Older shells were made by taking the impression, making a cast, and then pouring the shell material into the cast. It resulted in overall thicker shells, with varying thickness throughout.

Today’s shells are made by scanning the impression, making a 3D model, and sending those instructions to the printer. The shells are thinner and are even throughout. The upside is that the technicians are able to model exactly where to place the components, resulting in a smaller, more efficient hearing aid layout.

So the thickness variation is not just in your imagination

Ah, this is good info, thanks!

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Ah, this is good info, thanks!