Hearing aid allergy

Hear4Now

New Member
5-6 years ago, when I visited my GP to have my ears syringed, I was told that my ears were clear of wax, that I was going deaf, and that he would refer me to audiology, which he did.
After testing, the audiologist decided that I would would need 2 hearing aids, took moulds, and a week or two later he fitted and calibrated the new hearing aids. Half an hour later when I began to retch violently, I realised that it was a reaction to the Aids and quickly removed them. I then tried them one at a time, with the same result. Back to the audiologist who then prescribed another 2 hearing aids which, instead of having moulds simply had a small narrow plastic pieces extending into the canal. Ten minutes later, I thought I was going to retch but vomited instead. Wearing just one hearing Aid had exactly the same result - retching or vomiting(if I'd eaten a couple of hours before). Can't remember about the next set of aids, but result was the same.
Last year, a 5th audiologist had an idea and got the manufacturer to make a new set of aids consisting of the usual behind the ear digital aid (Oticon) but with a mould which simply blocked off the ear but had no extension into the canal. These lasted around 6 seconds before the retching began. Finally, around 2 months ago I saw yet another audiologist who thought that a bone ?????? hearing aid while it would not tackle the underlying cause, might well circumvent it. I am now awaiting an appointment for that to happen.

Now all of the people I have seen regarding this apparent allergic reaction to hearing aids, my doctor, the consultant in audiology and 5 audiologists, have stated that they have never heard of such a reaction before and that my condition is unique.

I am hoping that that is not the case, and have raised this thread in the hope that someone out there may have encountered a similar problem and can shed some light on he underlying cause of this apparent allergy. Any advise would be welcome
Thank you.
 

LoveBlue

Well-Known Member
First though is an allergic reaction to the material used.

Another thought is a vestibular disorder that is triggered by blocking the ear canal. Though I would think your ENT or audiologist would have checked that out.

Maybe get some ear plugs and see if they cause the same symptoms.

Also, are the hearing aids set to a loud volume?
 

Hear4Now

New Member
Are you allergic to plastic or silicone? Polyethylene might be your shot.
As far as I know, I have no allergies (other than hearing aids. : ) ). That said, the very first time I retched after fitting my hearing aids, my first thought was that for some reason I was allergic to the aids or to the material from which they were made. This was very quickly dispelled when a few weeks and many, many, retches later, my consultant while chatting to me, walked behind my chair and without telling me, touched the inner side of my outer ear lightly with a wooden cocktail stick-like probe and the retching reaction was instantaneous. He had never seen that reaction previously!
At that point I wrote off my allergy to the materials used.
 
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Hear4Now

New Member
1. .............is a vestibular disorder that is triggered by blocking the ear canal.

2. Though I would think your ENT or audiologist would have checked that out.

3. Maybe get some ear plugs and see if they cause the same symptoms.

4. are the hearing aids set to a loud volume?
Thank you for you reply.

1. Was also my theory but since I get exactly the same reaction when I try to wear a very small

denture, I had a rethink and came up with zero.

2. I would have thought so too, but so far it hasn't happened.

3. Now this is an interesting suggestion because when I had my first plane flight some 50 years ago, I got a very severe pain in my ears as the aircraft began to descend and was given 2 pieces of a mouldable material to plug my ears and the pain was gone. There was no reaction then and using the same type of moulding material every time I've flown since, there has never been any kind of reaction to the use of this type of moulded ear plug. However, quoting from my opening post:
"Last year, a 5th audiologist had an idea and got the manufacturer to make a new set of aids consisting of the usual behind the ear digital aid (Oticon) but with a mould which simply blocked off the ear but had no extension into the canal. These lasted around 6 seconds before the retching began."
After reading your reply, I removed the aids from the moulds, blocked off the holes where the hearing aids tubes went through, and fitted the left mould into my ear. I didn't have time to even try to fit the right before the retching began.

4. No, I rarely have time to even think about the volume before the retching reaction.
 
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Hear4Now

New Member
Your post reminded me of posting on another forum from someone with the same experience.

The OP didn't find a solution.

https://www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/productsforum.aspx?g=posts&m=74302
That posting was indeed made of on my behalf but I had no idea that my friend would be so tenacious on my behalf. Indeed,he now tells me that he has been in touch with hearing experts in the US, Germany and in the UK and all are of the opinion that the condition is unique. I reckon that finally I will have to accept that and if that means having to settle bone anchored hearing aids, the so be it.
I would still be interested in reading what other members might think about my situation and will respond to any further replies.
 

LoveBlue

Well-Known Member
Since your current earmold, without the hearing aid attached, caused the same issue, it's not the hearing aid that is causing the problem. It's either the material of the earmold or the fact that your ear canal is blocked.

Have you tried a hyper allergenic earmold? Though these are generally for people whose skin is allergic to the standard material.

One more thing comes to mind. If you just old the earmold near your face, does it bother you? This would indicate inhaling the "scent" of the earmold is causing the issue.
 

Hear4Now

New Member
1. Since your current earmold, without the hearing aid attached, caused the same issue, it's not the hearing aid that is causing the problem. It's either the material of the earmold or the fact that your ear canal is blocked.

2. Have you tried a hyper allergenic earmold? Though these are generally for people whose skin is allergic to the standard material.

3. If you just old the earmold near your face, does it bother you? This would indicate inhaling the "scent" of the earmold is causing the issue.
1. You are quite correct. I am well aware that the problem does not lie with the hearing aids per se, more the occlusion caused by various ear inserts regardless of size.

2. I haven't, but will raise this point at my next appointment.

3. At the moment, following your suggestion, I am sitting with 2 different moulds hanging by a thread (just like headphones) down either side of my face. No reaction whatsoever so far, but will persevere for a couple of hours just to make sure.
 

LoveBlue

Well-Known Member
Another thought. Ask your ENT for a CT scan of area around the ears. I'm thinking maybe the earmold is pressing on a nerve or blood vessel that is "out of position".
 

Hear4Now

New Member
Another thought. Ask your ENT for a CT scan of area around the ears. I'm thinking maybe the earmold is pressing on a nerve or blood vessel that is "out of position".
Hi.
My hearing aids have been supplied with moulds or moulds or plastic inserts. The inititial moulds had extensions towards or into the canal, while the last ones, (which hopefully you can see the front and back and back images of), had no such extension. The other aids, an image of which of which is hopefully also shown here, simply had tubes with smaller or larger plastic ends into the canal. Apart from that, the only other point of contact was where the tube bent round the edge of the outer and inner ears. Added to that, the fact that the consultant brought the condition on simply by touching the inner ear flap with a tiny wooden probe, makes it unlikely that it is pressure on a nerve or blood vessel. Nevertheless, I will raise your point at my next appointment.
 

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Dundreary

Member
As far as I know, I have no allergies (other than hearing aids. : ) ). That said, the very first time I retched after fitting my hearing aids, my first thought was that for some reason I was allergic to the aids or to the material from which they were made. This was very quickly dispelled when a few weeks and many, many, retches later, my consultant while chatting to me, walked behind my chair and without telling me, touched the inner side of my outer ear lightly with a wooden cocktail stick-like probe and the retching reaction was instantaneous. He had never seen that reaction previously!
At that point I wrote off my allergy to the materials used.
Maybe psychological? Not a bad thing. Just like you eat a burger and then get sick one day and then never like images of burgers again? A lot of what we do with senses is psychological anyhow.

Prolly not too constructive on my part but trying my best here!
 

Hear4Now

New Member
Maybe psychological? Not a bad thing. Just like you eat a burger and then get sick one day and then never like images of burgers again? A lot of what we do with senses is psychological anyhow.
Prolly not too constructive on my part but trying my best here!
As I said:

I would still be interested in reading what other members might think about my situation and will respond to any further replies.
.......and who knows? You might well have a point there. I've never liked cheese or images of cheese since around 70 years ago, my sister offered to make me a butter sandwich but used spreading cheese instead of butter and knowing full well that I wasn't too keen on cheese! I've hated the stuff ever since! Question to audiologist - "Could this reaction to wearing hearing aids be psychological?"
 
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Dundreary

Member
As I said:



.......and who knows? You might well have a point there. I've never liked cheese or images of cheese since around 70 years ago, my sister offered to make me a butter sandwich using spreading cheese instead of butter and knowing full well that I wasn't too keen on cheese! I've hated the stuff ever since! Question to audiologist - "Could this reaction to wearing hearing aids be psychological?"
I like you. You're encouraging :) Much respect to you.

The cool thing about psychological stuff is it's probably easier (and harder) to face -- if you're willing to stare stuff down. I quit sugar a few years back and that was hard AF. But you stare it down and one day you realize it was a psychological dependency and then the cravings rarely come back now.

ROFL on your sister. I probably did stuff like that to my bros.
 
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