Hearing test and a reference to the audiology department at the hospital

Today I was at an ear specialist in order to get a reference to the audiology department at the University Hospital in Odense (a danish city), so that they could clarify whether or not Cochlear Implant (CI) could be a solution for me. A part of this visit meant that I should make an up to date hearing test.

It was a nice process and I did not experience anything surpricing here. On the images below you can see the old and the new hearing tests.

Min hørekurve (2009) - grøn streg er højre øre mens rød streg er venstre øre

Old hearing test (2009) – green line is right ear and red line is the left ear

Den nye hørekurve (2. oktober 2012) - rød er højre øre - blå er venstre øre

New hearing test (october 2nd, 2012) – red line is right ear – blue line is left ear.

When looking at the old and new hearing tests it is clear that there are some differences. I think the main differences are measure deviations. I also felt that the test was rushed through.

The thing that interest me most is that we did a new test of my loss of hearing discrimination. On the left ear we fount the loss to be at 60% and on the right ear 76%. The words that I was asked to discriminate was played at 100 db.
I knew my loss of discrimination would be at this level. But as I said to the doctor I was in doubt if my score would be even lower if we could take in to account how good I am at guessing words that I have only heard parts of – when we did the test I actually found it very hard to hear the words – I felt that I almost only heard the vowels and therefore had to guess the rest of the words. In other words I just felt that I heard mumbling words.

The science of Ear molds ?

After having visited the ear specialist I had to visit a guy who makes ear molds. The molds he made last time was too small. We had a nice chat and I found that he was in the process of developing new ear-mold types.

I have been using the so-called soft ear molds for a long time. These molds are good for big hearing losses because they fit very tightly in the ear canal. But they guy I talked to mentioned that he was experimenting with making a combination of soft and hard ear molds. He offered that I could try his new solution if I provided him with feedback about how it felt to wear them.

The advantage with the new molds was that the pieces that sits in the bottom of the ear is soft and therefor closes the ear canal much more tightly – but the rest of the ear mold is made from the hard material. This means that the ear mold looks much more pretty. The disadvantage however is that it can be difficult to get the mold to fit closely enough when you have such a large loss of hearing as I have. He therefore had to keep the mold he had made for me in order to make it bigger.

Very exciting 🙂

But apart from this the nice man also told me about another solution that he was developing in cooporation with Oticon. This solution means that the speaker of the hearing aid will be placed inside the ear mold. By doing this the loss of volume and quality through the ear mold is reduced. This solution also looks much more pretty as there will only be a small wire from hearing aid to the ear mold. There are other similar solutions on the marked but the main difference is that this solution has a traditional ear mold in combination with a behind the ear hearing aid. This solution can therefor be used with big hearing losses.

He asked if I was interested in this, and he said that he could send my hearing test to Oticon so they could judge if I was a good candidate for this solution. I of course said that this was fine – but he could not promise anything.

I think it is great that there is actually still being developed on the almost ancient ear mold technology. In particular I find it interesting that they are trying to move hardware from the hearing aid into the ear mold. But all of this is overshadowed by my new interest in Cochlear Implants 🙂