It is a delicate balance between increasing the low frequency and noise reduction. Too much noise reduction and you lose the low tones. Too much low frequency boost and noise becomes a bigger problem. In addition, too much low boost and you can end up masking the mids & highs (which would probably make it even harder to hear the children since that’s where speech mostly is). Too much amplification with an open fit & you will trigger feedback.
IMHO, RIC Aids (aka RITE) are to some extent, just the latest fad in HAs along with bluetooth) and just because it is the newest thing on the block, does not make it the best for all losses. I have a low freq loss as I said, similar to yours and I do have RITE Aids (EpoqXWs) but I was really on the fence about keeping them and am still considering asking the AUD to swap them for standard BTEs in order to simplify getting a good custom mold fit.
(When I spoke to someone 2 years ago (when RITEs were not as heavily marketed), they did not recommend them for low frequency losses)
The original theory with RIC(aka RITE) aids, was that placing the speaker in the ear would reduce the high frequency resonance that can develop in the thin tubes & provide a smoother frequency response. Also, it was thought that moving the speaker farther away from the mics would allow more amplification (gain) without producing feedback. However when coupled with an open fit dome, the path for sound to “leak” from your ears back to the mics and cause feedback is still there…
Here is a link to article on benefits of RICs & feedback…
Standard BTEs with a tube (non-rite), might give you a longer, larger space for the Low frequency sounds to develop. With a speaker in ear, the space left for the sound to travel is smaller.
From a logic standpoint, (and I may be way off base here so AuDs correct me please) I compare the acoustics of my HAs, Ears & molds to musical instruments and audio equipment. It may not be a true comparison, but from logic standpoint it makes some sense to me. A tuba has a longer more voluminous path than a trumpet. The base string on a guitar is thicker & has to move slower & farther to create an audible low tone. Cellos are bigger than violins for a reason. The bass speaker on my surround sound is the largest component in the system. Bose markets it’s improved accoustics on the basis of a serpentine sound pipe that allows creates a “concert space” tfor he music to resonate and grow in.
From that standpoint, it makes some sense to me that amplification of bass tones will be more dependent on the volumetric & accoustic characteristics of the listening space, rather than just the amplification & speaker location…
When you are talking HAs & Ears & Molds, the volumetrics are are much smaller but theory should remain the same. Keeping the correct balance in amplification, retaining low sounds, and giving it room (volume) to develop the low frequency resonance rather than be damped, will for the most part be a function of the tubes, molds & your ear’s inner archictecture. (HAs are designed & tested against a 2cc volume as a standard, your ears may be more or less than 2cc.)
Another down side to RIC Aids is getting a good fit with custom molds if your canals are narrow & not straight enough. The Speaker is rigid & straight and need a stright path to seat nicely in a mold.
The AuD has set you up with a manual select directional program. (I use one when in the car for the radio and at home for tv or when I am in a restaurant to hear my companion better) In a classroom, this should help with noise reflecting off the surrounding surfaces.
The AuD could also adjust your program to make the amplification more linear across the frequencies. (I hated this setting, but you might like it) If you are in a “closed mold” the AuD can program the Aids to amplify the mids & highs little bit more to allow the HAs to provide the sounds that are being blocked by your closed molds.
I did not notice if you said the molds were hard of soft. Hard molds that are a hollow shell style will have a tiny vent. (Which can be widened for a more open feel) But solid body molds soft or hard, will have a much larger vent because the vent has a longer length to travel. Vent size & resulting feeling of occusion is, in part, determined by the length the vent has to be, and vent shape & length will also have a big effect on the sound you hear from what the Aids put out. Real Ear measurement (aka REM) can be of help too.
While my AuD & I search for the right molds for me, she has also provided me with some select-a-vents. These are small tubular inserts of different inside diameters that I place in the molds exsiting mold vents to make them smaller. So I can “play” with the vent size & determine the right balance of occulsion v. “open-ness” that I am comfortable with.
You may also want to check with the AuD to see if the aids are set up in acceptance mode. That is an automatic program that starts the user with less than optimum gain to start and gradually increases gain over a few weeks to allow the wearer to get used to amplified hearing without getting overwhelmed by it.
Don’t give up! If anyone said it would be easy, they did not have a low freq loss. When it is finally the right combo of Aids, program, tube/speaker & mold/dome, it will be worth the effort.