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  • Writer's pictureDavid Engelman

My Hearing Aids Don’t Fit Well! What Might Cause This and What Can Help

Updated: Jun 4


A woman's ear, who may have hearing aid fit issues.

The physical fit of your hearing aids in your ears is crucial to your success with hearing aids.  A poorly fitting hearing aid can cause a degradation in sound quality, along with excessive feedback (hearing aid whistling).  If it fits too loosely, you also run the risk of the hearing aid falling off and getting lost, and if it fits too tightly, then it can cause discomfort and soreness in your ear.  Let’s look at a bit more detail as to what may cause a badly fitting hearing aid, and what can be done to improve the issue.


a)      Loose Fit


A loose-fitting hearing aid can be due to a few different things.  If you use a receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing aid, it may be that the receiver wire is too long and needs to be switched to a shorter size.  Sometimes the rubbery plastic dome that sits on the end of the receiver in your ear is too small, and doesn’t maintain enough of a grip inside your ear canal.  Your audiologist can also fit something called an “ear grip” or “sport lock” to the end of hearing aid receiver.  This is a small bit of plastic that tucks discreetly in the bottom of your ear and can help anchor the hearing aid to your ear and prevent it from working its way out.  Some people’s ear canals are more “bendy” than others, and this can also sometimes make a non-custom moulded hearing aid trickier to keep in the ear—in which case it may be worth considering changing to a custom-moulded fitting.


If you already use a custom fitted ear mould, either as an in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aid or a mould fitted onto the receiver of a RIC hearing aid, then the mould may need to be sent back to the manufacturer to be remade.  The mould can also be altered to have additional features added to it, such as a “canal lock” which works on the same principle as the ear grip described above to help prevent the mould from working its way out of your ear.  If you’ve had the hearing aids for a while now, it is also possible that your ears have changed shape over time, causing the loose fit, in which case the mould will need to be replaced with a new impression taken of your ear.


b)      Tight/Bulky Fit


Hearing aids should fit snugly but they should not be overly tight or bulky in the ears to the point where they cause discomfort or pain.  If you’re new to hearing aids, it can take some time to get used to the feeling of them in your ears, but this should get better with time—and certainly should not get worse. 


If you are finding your hearing aids to be uncomfortable or painful, several things can be potentially tried to help improve the issue.  Like the loose fit issue described above, the problem may just be due to the sizing of the various “bits and pieces” of your hearing aid.  If you are using a RIC hearing aid, then the receiver wire may be a little bit too short.  If you have a dome fitted to the end of the receiver wire, then it may be that it is a little too big for your ears.  Similarly, if you have a custom ear mould or use an ITE hearing aid that is uncomfortable, then it may need to be sent back to the manufacturer and remade.  If the mould is causing just a small area of pain or discomfort, then your audiologist may be able to file this down for you in the clinic. 


c)      Poor Insertion


The final common culprit for hearing aid fit issues is that the hearing aids have not been inserted into the ear properly by the patient.  There are many ways in which this can manifest—anywhere from simply not putting the hearing aid far enough down the ear canal or by putting the hearing aid on completely the wrong way around.  Different hearing aid styles and models will have different methods on how to put the hearing aids on your ears.  It can take some practice to get the hearing aids fitted into your ears properly—so if you suspect you may not be doing this correctly, it is worth checking with your audiologist for a refresher. 


Conclusion


While a hearing aid that fits poorly is a frustrating problem to have, often a little bit of troubleshooting can solve the problem.  Your audiologist can check if the sizing needs to changed, or if perhaps your custom fitted ear moulds need altering.  You may also have been putting the hearing aids on incorrectly, in which case with a bit of practice, you should find that your hearing aids are fitting well.


If you'd like to learn more about the kind of hearing care we provide for our patients at Finchley Hearing, please explore our website and feel free to get in touch with any questions.


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