Will hearing aids be helpful enough?

Hello Everyone!
I’m new to the forum and to hearing aids and am looking for a little wisdom. I’m sure I have lots of questions but the overarching one is whether HAs will provide me enough benefit to overcome the downsides. Those being the ‘look’ (i.e. vanity), the inconveniences, and the costs.

I’ve entered my latest audiogram.

Here’s what I’ve tried so far. I went to an audiologist at a hospital for a hearing test and an ENT check. They offered HAs but it’s hard to get on the schedule. So I went to a clinic. She fitted Starkey Evolv CICs, but sounds were muffled and they didn’t seem to help much so she had them remade with a shorter receiver stem and a large vent. While I waited she lent me Oticon More RICs. Those sounded like they were doing something but speech in noise was worse with them than without. And the cones hurt my ear canals.

When the remade Starkeys arrived they were painful to wear for more than an hour or so. Painful in the sense that they felt too big.

At this point I came to the conclusion that she just had limited skills and I got most of my money back.

Then I tried the latest Eargo aids. But sent them back after only two days because the cones/petals irritated my ear canals so much. They also seemed too tight.

It’s now been 3 months and am down $800 with no HAs. Not to mention all the time spent. I’m questioning whether the tech is good enough to be worth this journey. I realize this is a subjective question but did I go wrong somewhere?

I’m not the most experienced person on here but judging by your audiogram I think hearing aids would benefit you but benefit would most likely be subtle. Trialing hearing aids to find the ones best for you would be a good start.

I personally, and this my opinion wouldn’t bother with CICs. RIC or BTEs will most likely give you better sound quality and features. But it’s up to you and what you can afford.


Sounds like the main issue is finding something comfortable. I would guess custom silicone molds would be most comfortable, but my suggested approach would be to try somebody else and mention the issues you’ve had with finding something comfortable. I think hearing aids are still worth pursuing but realize the time and expense you’ve spent would be frustrating with nothing to show for it but sore ears.

The audi also suggested RIC but for vanity sake I asked for ITE. She said that I’d like the features of the CIC better and they would be almost as discreet. However they were not discreet at all. And the Bluetooth on the Starkey were surprisingly unstable kinda like cheap earbuds. (On late model iPhone/iPad).

Comfort has been a big issue. The first try at the Starkey CICs were actually quite comfortable. I could wear them all day right away. Of course they weren’t helpful so there is that. :grinning:

I would have though the Starkeys could have been adjusted to be helpful. I can imagine issues with the left ear with occlusion as it might be tough to vent a CIC enough for that ear.

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I guess that’s why the remade ones had big vents included. Oddly I never complained about occlusion even though my voice did sound a little funny. And the vents didn’t really change that noticeably.

You got to get over the vanity hang up.

I look dumber saying “what” all the time than wearing the RIC HAs.

It’s not a big deal


Haha. Yea. I know I need to get over it. I’m getting there. This old age thing just sort of snuck up on me!

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It kind of sounds like your clinician interpretted your “muffled” comment as being about left ear plugging/occlusion when it might legitimately been about insufficient gain. Particularly for a clinician who is used to under-fitting and then moving up, sometimes because a CIC plugs the ear and some of the natural sound needs to be replaced by the device, under-fitting will lead to a muffled, “I have a cold” sensation that can be pretty easily resolved by turning things (lows/mids) up.

If you don’t have a small, difficult ear canal, your loss may actually do very well with an IIC. I’ve noticed a lot of clinicians really leaning heavily away from IIC/CICs lately, and these devices can really be the wrong thing so I get the once-bitten-twice-shy instinct. I find some of my younger colleagues in particular look at IIC/CICs as limited, defeatured, occluding devices. But when these devices work well often users are REALLY happy with them and don’t care that they can’t stream their audio from their phone because they can just use their phone like they have always been use to.

I think it would be worth trying an IIC again. Maybe something with a volume up button.

But what are your functional difficulties?


Welcome to the forum. Hearing loss is not just for the old…I am oldish now at 61, however I started wearing them in my mid 40s with short hair. I decided right off to “own them” and be open about wearing hearing aids so others understood if I asked to repeat, etc. When you just “own it”, people no longer look at it as something you are trying to hide, and they respect you for taking action to solve a problem. When you bring it up first, it helps others know they don’t have to feel badly for you or tip toe. If you practice owning them, you will get used to it and the vanity thing will go away. BTW, I am all for vanity.

They blue tooth to your phone thing is wonderful. Audiobooks, music, calls, etc. Keep your mind open to the option that optimizes your hearing.

You are taking a great step to ensuring you keep your hearing nerves stimulated by opting for hearing aids before your hearing gets any worse. It may not feel life changing, but they do help…if you wear them all day every day and let your brain get used to them. Please keep us posted on your journey.


@Neville I’ve thought a lot about your muffled/occlusion comment. It seems you have found the heart of my issues! It’s never been about the device or the style of device. It’s been difficulty with communication. When I told her about things sounding muffled that was part of a larger thought in which I said “these hearing aids don’t seem to do much, in fact voices often sound rather muffled.” That’s paraphrased but it does sound much more like a ‘gain’ problem than an occlusion one.

As I reflect on my sessions with the clinician she often tended to guess what I wanted or needed rather than listening to what I said and asked for. Or she would ask questions without context. During the initial setup, she played sounds through the HAs and asked, “Does that sound loud to you?”. I answered, “Yes.” And she turned down the volume. If she had explained what she was doing the outcome may have been very different.

I haven’t mentioned this yet, but I’ve since gone to a AuD at a hospital thinking things would be better. I walked after asking her about REM. Her answer was, we don’t do that here because you won’t like the results. From this forum I knew that REM was important, but even without that guidance, there is a certain arrogance to that attitude that is helpful to no one, including the AuD.

Maybe I just had some bad luck finding the right audiologist. Maybe I just didn’t know how to describe what I was hearing in a way they could understand. Hopefully arrogance isn’t a systemic problem in the industry and the next person I see will be more helpful.

Oh and as for functional difficulties, if I understand the question, I have some trouble hearing my soft-spoken wife in a quiet setting. She tends to mumble (and admits it!).

Also, when we entertain (10-15 people) the multiple conversations going on at once can be challenging. Of course noisy restaurants, church, or other gatherings can make it difficult to make out what people are saying.

Sometimes the TV can be tough depending on the program. Loud sci-fi with lots of laser swords and explosions aren’t a problem. But a sappy rom-com can be. I guess skipping the rom-coms could be a simple solution :smile:

Yeah, worth turning tail.

Depending on someone’s speech-in-noise deficit, on someone’s speech clarity, sometimes simply the application of gain isn’t enough. Clinicians like to have streaming options available to connect you directly the the TV, which often results in a effortless listening experience that users really enjoy. Clinicians like having access to directional mics and ear-to-ear-processing and remote microphones for noisy situations. IICs have none of this.

I do think they might work very well for you, but I’m just guessing based on your pure tone thresholds, which are only part of the picture. Keep in mind that IICs are limited and there is the possibility that they will not be sufficient in your target listening situations and lack the more flexible functions that other hearing aids have. Give them another try, but if they don’t work well for you try to be open to something else because your hearing loss is not borderline; you’re missing about 50% of speech cues at an average conversational level. The word “mild” for that level of loss is really misleading.

Ok I’m convinced that a RIC would serve me better. Appreciate the clear and candid feedback from all.

RIC, probably with differently vented domes/moulds on each side to make them fell as ‘natural’ as possible.

CIC/IIC can make the occlusion/gain balance difficult with Low Frequency Asymmetry like that.

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To add to the encouragement, recent studies are showing to avoid dementia, hearing aids are the best way to prevent it that is in our control.

A lot of good info available on YouTube for reviews of hearing aids and accessories. Try Hearing tracker and Dr. CliffAudD