I have sloping hearing loss that is moderate to severe at high frequencies. I am 47, male. My low frequencies are fairly ok. Am I a candidate for IICs? If so which make/model would you recommend? I prefer wireless features.

Audiologist in London

20 September 2017 - 1.59K Views

The honest answer is if there were 10 options to cover your hearing loss, this would be choice 10 on the list!

If you have normal/near normal low frequency hearing then you are likely to feel very occluded (plugged up) ie your own voice is likely to sound boomy & resonant if you were to be fitted with an IIC device.

Being a single mic device you will find that the aid is OK for quiet situations but in noisy restaurants etc you are likely to find hearing other diners very challenging.

You may also find to cover the hearing loss in the highs because the mics & speaker are close to each other this style is the one which may provoke the most feedback.

Whether you are a candidate for an IIC at all will be down to the size & shape of your ear canal, not all patients are.

I have had patients with a similar sounding loss to yours go from occasional users ie an average of an hour a day increase to 14 + hours when swapping from IIC's to RIC's as these can offer open fitting & directional mics.

I would recommend visiting an independent audiologist. Unitron offer loan RIC hearing aids, it would be worth trying some of these (the range available for sale includes the world's smallest RIC aid & when combined with Vanish my hearing aids receiver wire dye can really add to the very discrete look of these).

You could always if your ear size will allow start with an IIC (wireless features will certainly add to the size of the device) under the knowledge that you will get to experience the limitations of the style & see if you can live with them & exchange for another aid which is almost as discrete if they are not for you.

 

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Margaret ("Peggy") Tomko

Professional Member

20 September 2017 - 1.61K Views

You may be a candidate for wireless IICs if your ear canal is an adequate size and shape for wireless IICs; if an ear canal is particularly small, sometimes the wireless antenna will not fit. An audiologist or hearing instrument specialist will be able to help determine if you are a good IIC candidate and which make/model to try. Make sure you are aware of the trial period for the hearing aids so that you can exchange or return them if you end up disliking them.

 

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Ellen Nathan

Hearing Healthcare Provider

21 September 2017 - 1.56K Views

It really depends on your ear canals...  I have had mixed success with sloping loss and IIC's.  My suggestion would be to try Starkey's IIC's out and see if it works for you.

Typically, custom aids dont work well for sloping loss because of occlusion (ie banana in the ear effect) However I have had very good results with Starkey's IIC and sloping loss.  There is no way to tell if you will experience occlusion until you actually wear the device.  Some of my patients have really surprised me, because I was so sure that they would feel stuffy/occluded with the aid in the ear, but they didn't.   Some do, some dont, the only way to really know for sure is to try it.  You will know right away if you have occlusion, it feels stuffy, blocked, and the sound will most likely resonate in your head.  Worst case scenario, you get a RIC instead... not a bad trade off!

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Renee Pettus, BC-HIS

Professional Member

21 September 2017 - 1.56K Views

Eargo is the first hearing aid on the market that fits high frequency hearing loss with a completely in the ear device and an open fit. You may ask, why is open fit important?  With an open fit, the low frequency sounds are allowed to pass through your ear canal naturally, so they remain pure, while the hearing aid amplifies the higher frequencies.  This provides you with a much more natural sounding experience.

Before Eargo, we as hearing professionals had to those old-fashioned behind the ear models to achieve this, the ones with the receiver in the ear. When fitting a custom made device, even with a large vent, our patients complained of both feeling "plugged up" and that the sound was "unnatural." This was understandable as all of the sound has to be processed through the hearing aid, rather than only what is needed, and they are "plugged up" with a piece of plastic in both ears!  

Eargo was designed by a long time ENT surgeon for exactly this type of hearing loss and to remedy this unnatural feeling and way of hearing with hearing aids.  Plus, Eargo fits completely in the ear canal so they are virtually invisible and they are rechargeable, so the inconvenience of replacing batteries has also disappeared.  I encourage you to call one of our audiologists to review your most recent hearing test and determine if Eargo is a good fit for you.

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Randy Holyfield, ACA, BC-HIS

Audioprosthologist

21 September 2017 - 1.56K Views

Like you, I have good low frequency hearing and have a severe sloping high frequency loss.  I have worn both RIC and IIC aids and both have worked out very well.  A deep insertion into the canal can definitely help minimize or avoid the occlusion challenge one can experience with In the Ear hearing aids.

An advantage of the Signia Silk IIC aids is that you can test them out in the office and hear and feel them for yourself.  Much better than having a deep IIC ear impression made, custom molded aids manufactured, delivered and adjusted to your loss only to find that you can not stand the deep insertion feeling.  

If you have small ear canals, no one makes a smaller IIC aid than Starkey/Audibel.

Both Signia and Starkey provide wireless connectivity.  Best wishes. Randy Holyfield, BC-HIS ACA, Colorado

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Roberta Singer

Roberta Singer, Audiologist

20 September 2017 - 1.58K Views

Generally speaking, open fit hearing aids may be a best first choice; however there are many people who have your hearing loss and would prefer to have the "no hearing aid" look.  These people can be successfully fit with IICs.  Wireless IICs do require a sizable ear canal and generally do not sit in the ear canal as deeply as the non-wireless aids.  Some companies make the wireless IIC using the faceplate of the larger CIC in order to accommodate the antenna.  Additionally, every audiologist has his or her "favorite" manufacturers.  Reasons for favorites include customer service, reliability of aids, bang for your buck, stream-ability with and without intermediary devices, and of course sound quality.  Keep asking questions, stay informed, go to a reputable, experienced audiologist and you will have a great outcome.  Roberta Singer, Audiologist homehearinghelp.com

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Sheri Gostomelsky, AuD

Doctor of Audiology

20 September 2017 - 1.58K Views

Your success with what you describe is based upon your ear anatomy and the artistry of the manufacturer.  If the device can be made deep enough to touch the bony portion of the ear canal, the sound quality can be very natural.  Wireless products are generally a bit bigger and I would wager to guess that you would not be happy with the fit unless you have a generous ear canal. Seek out a provider who is comfortable and experienced in fitting IIC products.  In our practice we have been successful in fitting both custom and extended wear devices on patients with normal low frequency hearing.  The product is important but studies show that the care you get is what breeds success.   An IIC may or may not be the right solution but take time to find the right provider.

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Mark Butler, AAS

Hearing Healthcare Provider

20 September 2017 - 1.59K Views

IIC's are an extremely poor choice for patients who have relatively good low frequency hearing.  The occlusion effect will make you feel as if you are inside a barrel.  While some of the occlusion can be offset with a large vent the size of your ear canal will dictate how much space is available for a vent.  Programming can also help offset the occlusion but it won't completely eliminate it.  IIC's are also single microphones so you do not get the advantage directional mics give you in noisy situations.  I understand the desire for a discrete hearing aid which is why people usually pic a small in-the-ear custom device but the RIC style hearing aids are also very discrete while giving you many more features that you cannot get on the IIC.  Our office has a 60-day trade policy that would allow you to try the IIC's first and swap them for the RIC style any time within the first 60 days at no additional cost.  If you do want to try IIC's first I would recommend Starkey.  In my opinion they do a better job building custom in-the-ear hearing aids than any other manufacturer on the market. 

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Jack Adams

Audiologist

20 September 2017 - 1.59K Views

It is my opinion that you are always a candidate to try what you think you would like. There may be compromises to the amount of benefit gained with an iic aid compared to an open fit RITE aid. The compromise will depend on the exact slope and degree of hearing loss. I would suggest trying both types for comparison. It is easy to convince yourself that you want an "invisible" aid but when you begin to hear better clients often forego vanity for benefit. I would suggest you compare Oticon Alta 2 Pro iic's with Oticon OPN 1 RITE's to have confidence that you are making the best decision for your unique circumstances.

 

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Audiologist in Phoenix

20 September 2017 - 1.6K Views

Some IICs can fit up to a severe hearing loss, however, if you have good low frequency hearing, the chance of amplifying the highs while having a vent for natural low frequency hearing will be nearly impossible due to feedback.  Not only that, but IICs generally give up wireless features.  If you truly want wireless features and you have normal or close to normal low frequency hearing, your best bet would be a RIC style hearing aid.  However, if you wouldn't wear a RIC style hearing aid, your best bet is to possibly go with the Starkey Soundlens Synergy device that can still connect to your phone with a streaming device.  You would just likely give up some performance.

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