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Streaming on hearing aids with mild to moderate high-frequency hearing loss?

Updated: Sep 3, 2023

You have tried a few different domes on your hearing aids and noticed that you can hear regular voices better with the most open-vented dome styles, but have trouble hearing streaming (phone calls, music or audiobooks) in noisy environments. So what is the optimum solution for people with mild to moderate hearing loss to hear streaming through their hearing aids as well as surroundings?

There is some good news, but not for every model of hearing aid. Continue reading to learn more.

  1. What do hearing aid domes do?

  2. What different types of domes are there for hearing aids?

  3. How does my audiologist choose the dome for my hearing aids?

  4. What are Phonak ActiveVent and what is the benefit of using them?

  5. What are the shortfalls of Phonal ActiveVent?

What do hearing aid domes do?

Domes alter the acoustics of your ear canal to allow the right balance between the natural sound that should pass through naturally and the amplified sound through your hearing aids.

Depending on your hearing loss your hearing aid amplifies a certain range of sound frequencies or the full spectrum of sound. More than 70 to 80 per cent of hearing loss cases are the ones that are due to ageing (called presbyacusis). A patient with a typical age-related hearing loss often has reasonably good hearing in low and even mid frequencies but has deeper hearing loss in the high frequencies. Please see the two samples below.

What different types of domes are there for hearing aids?

Domes come in different shapes and sizes, but in general, they come from very open to very closed. They are made of silicon. They are very flexible to get the shape of your ear canal. They are quite durable too. Often the patient is advised to replace them every 6 months or so, mostly for hygiene reasons. Learn more about domes in this article.

How does my audiologist choose the domes for my hearing aids?

Your audiologist would likely fit your hearing aids with vented domes for the above samples to allow the low frequencies to pass through the domes naturally combined with the amplified high-frequency sound done by the hearing aid.

As the hearing loss increase to 40 dB and higher your audiologist start considering tulip domes and then closed domes with vent and ultimately power domes (also called double domes)

What are Phonak ActiveVent and what is the benefit of using them?

Venting the domes of your hearing aids is extremely important in hearing with your hearing aids. A larger vent allows the escape of low frequencies to escape away from your ear canal instead of being sensed by your eardrum.

A Phonak ActiveVent receiver is an open and closed vent dome system that switches between open and closed fitting depending on the situation that you are in. If they sense a background noise of 30dB or higher they switch to the closed position to allow for better bass hearing in low frequencies of music, soundtrack or a phone call. When positioned in quiet situations they switch to an open vent position to allow the wearer to receive low-frequency sounds naturally. They also switch to the closed position as soon as you start streaming music. This way the amplified low frequencies of the music are heard much better.

In addition to the above, your hearing aids could provide a much better hearing experience and speech understanding in the presence of background noise when ActiveVent switches to the closed position. This way the hearing aids provide a better performance in reducing the background noise and provide better speech processing through directional microphones.

What are the shortfalls of Phonak ActiveVent?

No benefit comes without a price tag. Here are the issues that you need to remember when considering Phonak ActiveVent for your hearing aids:

  1. Price & warranty - Phonak ActiveVent receivers are much more expensive than regular Phonak receivers. While you would expect the same term of the warranty for your receivers as the hearing aids (we offer 5 5-year extended UK warranty for Phonak hearing aids), Phonak only offers 6 6-month warranty for ActiveVent receivers.

  2. Loud click - Due to the mechanical nature of Phonak ActiveVent receivers the wearer notices a reasonably loud click when the receiver's valve opens and closes.

  3. Battery life impact - Phonak ActiveVent can reduce the battery life of your hearing aids. As an example, a pair of Phonka Audeo Paradise P90S that is expected to give you a run time of 24 hours when fully charged may have 3-5 hours less battery life when fitted with Phonak ActiveVent receivers.

  4. Special slim tip - Phonak ActiveVent does need its own special slim tip either as a silicon unit, or a custom-made titanium one.

  5. Compatibility - Phonak ActiveVent only works with a rechargeable version of Phonak Audeo Paradise and Lumity.

Need to learn more about Phonak ActiveVent? Visit Phonak AvtiveVent website here.

Is it worth it? Well, it depends on your lifestyle really. If you have mild to moderate sloping high-frequency hearing loss AND you enjoy listening to streaming music often or holding conversations in noisy places, then Phonak ActiveVent is definitely the best and perhaps the only option in the market that gives you the best of the two worlds.


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