by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
A man wrote:
I would like to know if my audiologist has given me the right information. She has told me that I cannot use an open fit or slim tube hearing aids because my hearing loss is too bad. I am using Phonak BTE aids now. They are not open fit or slim tube aids.
I looked at your February 7, 2009 newsletter with links to many different hearing aids and I saw a half dozen or so that appear to be able to be used for severe to profound hearing loss.
I would like to go to newer technology hearing aids that aren’t as visible. Thanks for any help you can give me.
You audiologist is probably right. The open fit and slim tube models are designed for people with the milder to moderate hearing losses. For severe and greater hearing losses, these hearing aids have two problems. One is they do not have enough power, and two, if they did have enough power, they would cause feedback.
The big problem is getting the power you need without getting feedback at the same time. The manufacturer has fitting curves that show whether your hearing loss will work with their aids. Your audiologist has access to these, so you need to trust his/her judgment.
I’d love to have open fit hearing aids myself—but every audiologist I’ve talked to about it has said the same thing—my hearing loss is too severe. It’s not fair, is it? But that’s the way it is. Trust your audiologist in this.