Hearing Health

This 50 cent piece of rubber can ruin your expensive hearing aids

Dr. Cliff Olson explains how a small, 50 cent piece of rubber can destroy your expensive hearing aids.

This 50 cent piece of rubber can ruin your expensive hearing aids

Video transcript

Video transcript

Hi guys, Cliff Olson Doctor of Audiology and founder of Applied Hearing Solutions in Phoenix, Arizona. And in this video, I'm explaining how this 50 cent piece of rubber can totally ruin the performance of even the most expensive hearing aids coming up.

Hearing aids have come a long way in the past few decades. The technology that currently exists is substantially better than anything that we've ever seen before. This is one of the main reasons why the most recent market track data tells us that hearing aid users are more satisfied with their hearing aids now than they have ever been. And they better be because when you consider the hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars that has gone into hearing aid, research and development over the past several years, hearing aid technology is also getting more expensive. However, even the most expensive, most advanced hearing aid on the planet with all the different features you could ever want will still underperform. If you are using one wrong component. And that component that I'm talking about is this 50 cent piece of rubber called the dome. But before I show you how this cheap little dome can totally destroy the performance of your hearing aids, if you could do me a huge favor and click the light button, I really appreciate it because it gets these videos in front of a broader audience.

And while you're at it, if you have not yet hit that subscribe button with notification bell, go ahead and do that as well, because that ensures you. You never miss one of my newly released videos and I release multiple new videos every single week. That being said, I really appreciate it. Now let's talk about the purpose of this rubber dome. Generally speaking, there are four key benefits of using a rubber dome on the tip of your receiver in canal hearing aid, the first one being speed. One of the main reasons why a receiver in canal hearing aid is so popular is because hearing care professionals can fit you with these using a rubber dome much quicker than if they were to have to take an ear mold impression, send it off to the manufacturer and get a custom ear mold made. All they have to do is take the appropriate rubber dome, attach it to a receiver in canal, hearing aid and fit you with that hearing aid.

And sometimes they can even do this on the same day that you get your initial hearing test done. I mean, if you're really excited to get your new set of hearing aids, the last thing that you wanna do is wait a couple weeks for them to get the ear mold made for you. The second benefit of a rubber dome is that in some cases, a rubber dome will actually outperform a custom ear mold if you have a certain type of hearing loss, but I wanna make sure that I'm clear about something here. You have to have the correct rubber dome. If the rubber dome that you are using on your receiver in canal, hearing aid is not capable of retaining and controlling amplification properly inside of your ear canal. Then you could be leaving a massive amount of benefit on the table. And this is what I mean when I say that this 50 cent piece of rubber can destroy the performance of your hearing aids, that you spent thousands of dollars on.

Okay. So let me explain this concept a little bit further, because it is very important. There are a variety of different dome styles and sizes. These include anything from a cap dome to a tulip dome, to an open dome, to vented dome, or even a power dome. In addition to these different styles of domes, each of them come in different sizes, which will have an impact on your, your performance as well. Cap domes, tulip, domes, and open domes do not impede the flow of incoming sound that would naturally enter your ear canal anyway. So if you happen to have normal hearing in your low frequency ranges, like you see here, these styles of domes will still allow these low frequency sounds to enter your ear canals. Naturally, in addition to allowing these low frequency sounds to enter your ears unaffected, they will also allow your hearing aids to amplify mid and high frequency sounds to provide more speech, clarity, music appreciation, and better speech understanding and background noise.

However, if you happen to have a hearing loss in the high frequency ranges that exceeds a moderate to moderately severe level, then you could run into issues with feedback or whistling because you're not able to trap those high frequencies sounds inside of your ear canals. Well enough on top of that, if you happen to have a low frequency hearing loss as well open dome cap do, and tulip dome will not allow you to trap in low frequency sounds because those long wave lengths will literally leak out of your ears before they vibrate your eardrum. Now, there is an easy way to see if an open dome or any dome for that matter is appropriate for your level of hearing loss. And that's by performing a feedback management check to check and see whether or not one of these dome styles or any dome style for that matter is capable of treating your hearing loss effectively.

Your hearing care professional can run a feedback management check in the programming software to perform a feedback management check. You will need to be wearing your hearing aids with whatever domes were initially selected by your hearing care professional. Then they will play either static sounds or pure tone beeps that are internally generated by the hearing aids and measure the amount of sound that leaks out of your ear canals and is picked up by your hearing aid microphone. What this will actually look like will depend on the hearing aid manufacturer software. But in general, if you see the shaded regions pushing down on your amplification, curves in the programming software, then the amount of amplification you can apply in these ranges will be restricted, or you put yourself at risk for feedback. If you get too much leakage of sound using an open style dome, then you can always switch to a vented dome or a power dome that will both allow you to trap more sound inside of your ear canal.

Of course, you have to make sure that the correct diameter is selected of these particular domes, because otherwise you don't create a good enough seal around the ear canal to trap in the sound that you need to check this. All you have to do is rerun the feedback manager, and it will tell you whether or not the amount of amplification you can receive using a vented or a power dome allows you to get more high frequency. Of course, if you cannot find a dome that does what you need it to do acoustically, you can always go with a custom ear mold that has a custom vent built into it. That will get you better performance. You have to keep in mind though. Not only is it important to select the proper dome by running a feedback manager, you also have to run real ear measurement.

Really I measurement is the only way to verify that your hearing aids have been programmed properly to your hearing loss prescription. And it can also help to ensure that the dome that was selected for your hearing aids can actually achieve the prescriptive targets that you need based on your hearing loss. If this is the first time that you're hearing about real ear measurement, then I highly recommend that you check out my video, that I will link in the description because it is the most important thing that you need to do. When programming hearing aids, I have to make sure that you understand that running a feedback management check is completely different than running real. I measurement one just tells you what the acoustic leakage is. And the other one tells you if the hearing aids can be amplified to your prescriptive targets. So hopefully you're starting to understand that that 50 cent piece of rubber that goes on the tip of your receiver and canal hearing aid has a lot more to do than just comfort inside of your ear.

It actually controls the acoustics of your hearing aids. It will also have a significant impact on how well the tips of your hearing aids stay inside of your ear canals, which happens to be benefit. Number three, of using a rubber dome. Now some domes will actually keep your hearing aids inside of your ear canals better than others. This is incredibly important because when you go through the whole process of getting your hearing aids program for you, it's based on the idea that the receiver tip will stay in the same position inside of your ear canals. So if the receiver tip starts to migrate out of your ears, it's actually reducing the amount of amplification that you should be receiving from your hearing aids. And it would be a complete waste to go through that entire fitting and programming process only to not receive any of that benefit because your hearing aids are migrating out of your ears because the rubber domes don't hold them into place.

Now, if you do get migration of your hearing aids out of your ear canals, using the rubber dome, that's acoustically appropriate for you. This is actually a pretty simple problem to solve using a retention filament, which also happens to cost around 50 cents. These retention filaments are cheap. They are easy to use and they are virtually invisible, and they will ensure that your hearing aids do not work their way out of your ears. And the fourth benefit of using a rubber dome is the ease of which you can repair a broken hearing aid. If you have a dome that rips or tears, you can just take that and throw it away and place a brand new dome on the tip of your hearing aid. On top of that, if you run into issues where your hearing aid is sounding distorted, it's sounding weak, or it's just not working at all, oftentimes it can be the receiver wire.

And if that happens, you can just pop the receiver wire off of the hearing aid, put a brand new one on, put a new dome on, and you're ready to go compare this to having to send a custom ear mold back into the manufacturer to get it repaired, taking one to two weeks for that to happen. And you having to go without a hearing aid for that entire time, unless you happen to have a backup set of ear molds. Really, the only thing that you have to watch out for is to make sure that the dome does not pop off inside of your ear canal. And that would happen if you do not attach the dome properly, or if the dome has a rip in it, of course, if that does happen to you, make sure that you go in and see your hearing care professionals so they can safely remove that dome from your ear and place a new dome on the tip of your hearing aid.

Overall hearing aid domes are great, but you can't just go and use whatever dome you feel like using because the dome will actually control how much benefit you get from your hearing aids. So the next time that you're wondering whether or not you're getting the most performance possible out of your hearing aids, I urge you to go see your hearing care professional and ask them if the, the 50 cent dome that you're using is actually the best dome for you. That's it for this video. If you have any questions, leave them in the comment section below. If you like the video, please share it. If I wanna see other videos, just like this, we'll go ahead and hit that subscribe button. Also feel free to check out my website, hearing up.com.

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