I had a wonderful woman the other day who has one ear that has no hearing abilities in one ear and perfect hearing in the other. While there is nothing to accomplish with the one ear that has no hearing available to her, the other perfect hearing ear can have one item that makes a big difference: A Custom Earmold for her bluetooth piece.
I see many people driving about town talking on their phone. While at the Mail Chute (one of my favorite places to mail packages at 101/Sheridan) I was driving straight toward their office. Another person was coming around the corner and turned in front of me almost causing an accident that would only be considered her fault. She had a cell phone glued to her ear and didn’t use her neck as we were all taught. Some complain that bluetooth pieces are annoying to pair to do not fit. That is correct. Several big box stores such as Best Buy have around 300 million items for ear pieces (sorry about the hyperbole), not one of them fit the ears. Here are the facts about non-custom pieces in one’s ear.
The Outer Ear Canal is cartilage similar in feel to parts of the noise. The Inner section of the ear canal all the way up to the ear drum is boney. The cartilage section can sustain 4 mm of pressure to it while the boney section can only take 1 mm of pressure. Whether you are tougher than the average bear, that still means that the boney section of the canal is 4 times more sensitive than the outer portion of your canal. A friend of mine in California completed a research session on 450 of his own patients. He found that a company that purported that hearing aids could be non-custom (Bausch and Lomb who make contacts) could fit on 65% of the patients. Sure enough around 60% could be fitted to their ears. But after requiring each patient to wait and watch a 30 minute show in his front office, only 25% of those people could stand the devices which were non-custom in their ear canals without pain or soreness.
When we take this information further, any non-custom device which is not fitted to your ear: be it a hearing aid from an online firm (such as HI Innovations which dupe patients who have several insurances in the Tulsa area) or if it is a big box store that you put their piece in your ear canal, the results are the same. If you intend to wear it more than 20 minutes at one time, a custom piece is the only way to go. An Audiologist who understands how the pieces fit in the ear with a custom ear impression effectively in your ear canal will make that bluetooth piece work well. If your car makes a bluetooth signal (many of the newer car have this feature), make sure you use the bluetooth speakers from the radio to keep both hands upon the road.