Wax buildup at time of audiogram, need repeat after removal?

Hi, I recently had fitting for Phillips 9040 HAs at Costco. Fitter said R ear was occluded in most of ear but could still see part of eardrum so he went ahead and did audio gram and sent off for hearing aids. I cleaned ears thoroughly using water syringe and visibly removed earwax before returning to pick up HAs.

Went to get hearing aids and fitter said try them out and come back in two weeks. Noticed I was having loud sounds in R ear after I had removed the wax and went to pick up HAs.

I can turn the HA down and will have it programmed at a lower volume when I return to Costco. My question is … should I have my audiogram repeated in the R ear since it was significantly occluded with ear wax at time of audiogram and now I have occasionally uncomfortable loud sounds or should I just have him turn the R HA master volume down?

Hope to get some guidance, thanks!

Get another hearing test and then program your aids for that test, if the results are different from your wax-occluded test. This is easy and fairly quick to do, and painless.

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If they could see part of your eardrum it’s unlikely the wax affected your test. (Only full occlusion affects hearing thresholds, the only other possibility is that there was wax attached to the eardrum impeding it’s movement)
They also should have discussed it with you if there had been any evidence of a conductive loss on the audiogram (this is a way we can diagnose that the pathway of sound to your inner ear is physically interrupted)

Either way they should be happy to address your concerns, retest you and make adjustments :relaxed:


Jeffrey, that’s what I was thinking, it can’t hurt anything and would make me feel better. Thanks for your reply.

Moore, the way he described the wax buildup was that it was on the eardrum with a significant area covered. That’s what worries me because I don’t know how that would affect my ability to hear the different frequencies.

My concern is whether the muted eardrum would affect my hearing the different frequencies disproportionately, which I would reason a new audio gram would be necessary. If the muted eardrum affected my hearing ability linearly I wouldn’t be so concerned as a master volume adjustment would theoretically fix that.

However, when I use my phones app to reduce the R ear volume, the sound is still not right to me. I called Costco and asked the person on the phone to ask fitter if he would redo the test and he told her no. I guess I need to insist on a new R ear audio gram as I don’t feel any adjustments made with an inaccurate audio gram would fix something that was flawed to begin with.

I don’t remember if any bone conduction loss was brought up but my loss was diagnosed previously as neurosensory so I’m ok with that. Thanks for your reply.


It doesn’t cost you or your Costco fitter anything but time. And if you don’t do a new test you will always question should have. Trust me it will drive you crazy. So I would absolutely have the test redone.

Due to several problems with my original Costco fitter I returned my 9030s. I went to a different Costco months later and they did a modified shortened test which would likely work for you as well. I then purchased the new 9040s and have been happy ever since.

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Bob, thanks for your reply. It feels like that is what is happening with me. I really like my 9040s for some things like hearing soft environmental sounds and not noticing wind noise or doors clanging but I am having a lot of difficulty understanding speech along with unnatural sound in R ear and uncomfortable loud sounds. When my fitter was testing for loud sound discomfort setting, he ramped up the volume so quickly that when I voiced discomfort of a frequency, it had already gotten pretty uncomfortable. The fitter said he had been there eight years and seemed professional but I think the test wasn’t done correctly as my programming just seem so far off.

In my situation I complained about them being way to load and like you I couldn’t understand the TV or even my wife. I told my fitter they were so bad I had to remove them to talk to visiting relatives. She said “how often do you really see them though?”” Say what? That’s when I said just give me a refund. I had a totally different experience a few months later. I visited another Costco and explained what had happened. He said no problem let’s start over. He did a modified (lesser) retest and we ordered a set of Jabras. They were ok but I wasn’t totally happy so I asked to try the new 9040s. I tested them for 2 weeks and I was sold. That’s what I settled on and I’m very happy with them. That said though there’s no way the first fitter would have ever gotten me to this point. She was very arrogant and thought she knew everything. Regretfully, she just didn’t understand what I was telling her nor did she really care. I’d ask to see another fitter or find another Costco location. Good Luck.

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I just had a thought. When you first receive a new set of hearing aids the computer program spits out a base program for the fitter to start with. They then make tweak adjustments as needed. When I first received my first aids they had very limited tweaks and I wore them and while they did need tweaking they weren’t bad. A lot better than after the fitter tweaked them. I’d consider asking them to go back to the base computer program and see if it’s better. Then let them start tweaking again. Of course this is all after they do a new hearing test.

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Bob, thanks again for sharing your experience. That ladies response when you told her you couldn’t hear your guests, omg, that’s terrible. Thank goodness you had a better experience the second time around. The second closest store to me is over 3 hrs away so I’m going to try to get my fitter to work with me. Waiting for him to call me back. Will keep in mind about computer program recommendations.

Good post.
Suggestions help.we must be advocates for ourselves

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Yes, wax build-up that is touching the eardrum can absolutely impact your hearing thresholds, typically at the high frequencies.

However, if you have a series of historical audiogram it will be easy to see a change just in that ear.

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