Hearing aids are expensive when purchased at a clinic, but they come with the benefit of in-person adjustments. You don’t need to visit a clinic, however, to know that your device fits improperly. This is more common with in the canal hearing aids. Look for these cardinal signs of hearing aids that don’t fit, and take action if they seem to describe your device
In the Canal Hearing Aids: Do They Hurt?
One of the most common signs of a improper fit of your in the canal hearing aids is pain in the ear, which can radiate to other areas. This pain results from earpieces that are too large, manufactured incorrectly, or jaw movements that affect the size of the ear canal. Feel this for yourself by placing your pinky finger in your ear canal and opening your mouth.
For first-time wearers, hearing aid fit will be painful for the first couple days, but then the pain will completely go away, or subside substantially. However, if pain subsists, you have to be proactive. Make sure to return it within the trial period and consult with your audiologist so you can get a hearing aid that fits properly. Don’t settle, and don’t play it down – the pain will definitely interfere with the effectiveness of your in the canal hearing aids.
In the Canal Hearing Aids: Do They Whistle?
What’s the common denominator between a rock concert and a hearing aid? Besides hearing loss, both have intricate sound systems. And just like the unnerving squeal you hear from concert speakers, hearing aids can have auditory feedback issues – if they don’t fit. Loose-fitting hearing aids allow extra sound to leak out of the receiver and reach the microphone input, causing a feedback loop that manifests as a highly irritating squeal, otherwise known as a “whistling” hearing aid.
Some feedback is normal, and can indicate that the device is working. But if feedback occurs spontaneously, for example, while chewing, brushing your hair, or scratching the side of your head, or prevents you from adjusting the volume to a desirable level, it may be the result of ill-fitting hearing aids.
In the Canal Hearing Aids: Getting the Right Fit
The typical hearing-aid purchase includes multiple fittings and returns, which can be frustrating, expensive and time-consuming, so researchers and clinicians are trying to make the fitting process more accurate.
Doug Hart, PhD, professor of mechanical-engineering at MIT, developed a digital scanning technique to provide an extremely accurate image of the inner ear. The technique, emission reabsorption laser induced fluorescence (ERLIF) can even measure how the ear canal changes shape with movements of the jaw bone. This is a prime example of hearing-related innovation, and will be beneficial for both in the canal hearing aids as well as BTE hearing aids.
Whether or not ERLIF, or other research, will downsize the hassle, it’s important to make sure hearing aids fit correctly. Luckily, Audicus provides differently-sized soft-tips and ear domes, so you can determine the correct hearing aid fit without leaving home. Once you get the right fit, remember to properly care for your hearing aids to keep them in great shape.