John Partridge
Invisible hearing aids transforms Keith's work and social life

Invisible hearing aids transforms Keith's work and social life




Difficulty hearing speech in environments with background noise

Keith attended The Tinnitus Clinic complaining of difficulties hearing clearly and understanding speech when at work. His job requires him to conduct site visits and interact with clients within environments with background noise. He was very conscious of asking colleagues and clients to repeat themselves so that he could try to discriminate what was being said. Keith also explained that he was unable to hear satisfactorily in social situations or when watching television unless the volume was turned up, which made it uncomfortable for his partner.

Stopped wearing NHS hearing aids because too self concious

He used NHS behind the ear hearing aids but stopped wearing them as he was self conscious of their large size. He had also trialed a set of devices that were in the ear canal but reported the sound quality being too "echoey" and that he felt that he could hear more clearly without them.

He reported a history of recreational and occupational noise exposure. Pure tone audiometry as part of the hearing assessment revealed a bilateral moderate high frequency sensorineural loss with a symmetrical notch at 3 KHz. As well as needing to improve his speech discrimination ability while interacting with colleagues and clients at work, he was also very clear about wanting a system that was as discreet as possible, ideally, one that would sit inside the ear canal.

In ear hearing aids can cause a low pitch resonance (sound)
but this can be resolved

The challenge was that his low frequency hearing acuity was normal and fitting in the ear canal devices can cause a low pitch resonance that is induced by blocking the patient's ear canal. This is the most likely reason why Keith did not find his last set of instruments to be fit for purpose. As it is the cartilage within the first 2cm of the ear canal that resonates, this issue can be resolved by fitting a device that forms a seal deeper within the canal beyond the cartilaginous structure of the cavity.

Therefore, very deep impressions of Keith's ears were taken and a set of bespoke devices were manufactured by Starkey. These invisible in the ear canal IIC instruments used an advanced processor that was able to maximise speech clarity when listening in challenging environments.

Keith was pleased that the devices were invisible and a very comfortable fit. After a further two additional tuning appointments, Keith reported that the devices have trasnformed his working life; he can now understand his colleagues at work and he can now also lower the TV volume to a level that suits his partner.


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An important part of my mission at The Tinnitus Clinic is to share our knowledge of tinnitus;  its causes, how to prevent it and what to do if you are suffering from the condition. This blog will go some way in achieving this aim.


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