You’ve been avoiding calling us to find out if you need hearing aids, but you’ve finally decided it’s time. Like many other people, you’ve been resisting this. But the stress of living life without being able to hear has finally become too hard to ignore.
So it’s a bit disheartening when you’re at the hearing specialist’s office and you learn that you’re going to need to wait another couple of weeks for custom fit hearing aids.
That means that you will be missing some of life’s treasured moments for two more weeks. Of course, there is another option: a deceptively simple device add-on, called hearing aid domes.
What are hearing aid domes?
Doesn’t that sound sort of epic? Like hearing aids dueling in some kind of ancient mythological arena. Welcome to the Hearing Aid Dome: Two hearing aids enter…but only one leaves!
It’s not really that thrilling. But they are pretty neat. Hearing aid domes are like tiny earbuds that you can place on the end of your hearing aid speaker. Generally made of plastic or silicone, they fit around that little part that goes inside your ear canal, connecting to the tubing of your hearing aid. They’re made for behind-the-ear or inside-the-ear-canal style hearing aids. And they generally do two things:
- They position the hearing aid speaker (the part that you listen to) in an optimal position inside of your ear canal. And they secure the speaker so it won’t move around in your ear.
- They can help limit the amount of outside sound you hear, especially when that external sound can impede the function of your hearing aid. When used correctly, hearing aid domes offer you a bit of extra control and work to improve sound clarity.
Those small bulbs at the end of earbuds are a lot like hearing aid domes. You will have to choose the hearing aid dome that’s ideal for you from a number of kinds, and we can help you do that.
What is the difference between hearing aid domes?
Most come in open and closed designs, each letting in more or less background sound.
Hearing aid dome types include:
These have openings in the dome that allow more natural sound to get through and into your ears. You get the benefit of amplification while still being able to process outside sounds.
These domes let less external sound in through fewer and smaller holes. For individuals with more significant hearing loss, background noise can be really distracting and this kind of dome can help with that.
Power domes completely block the ear canal and have no holes. With these, nearly no external sound can get in. These domes will be ideal for people with very severe hearing impairment.
Do hearing aid domes need to be swapped out?
For best effect, you should change your hearing aid domes every 2-3 months (your ears can be a bit dirty in there).
For most people, hearing aid domes can be used right out of the box. That’s one of the best things about them.
What are the benefits of hearing aid domes?
There are a number of reasons why hearing aid domes are prevalent. Here are some common advantages:
- You’re able to hear your own voice: Some hearing aid domes are created to let a natural amount of sound get through. This means you will still be able to hear your own voice as you naturally would. You’re more likely to wear your hearing aids more often if they sound clear and natural.
- The outside world sounds more clear and natural: You can be certain your hearing aids create a clear, natural sound quality by choosing the right type of hearing aid domes. That’s because some sound will still (probably) get in. Once again, this depends on the style of dome, and we will help you with this.
- Hearing aid domes can be more discrete: Hearing aid domes aren’t very big, especially when they’re in your ear. They’re rather discrete in this way.
- No fitting time: One of the most popular (and immediate) advantages of hearing aid domes is that you don’t need to wait. You can un-box them, pop them on your hearing aid and you’re ready to go. For individuals who don’t want to wait for custom fit hearing aids, it’s the ideal option. It’s also great for individuals who want to demo their hearing aids before they buy them. With hearing aid domes, you don’t need to sacrifice sound clarity to get faster results.
And, once again, this means many individuals are more likely to wear those hearing aids more often.
What are the drawbacks to hearing aid domes?
You’ll want to be mindful of some of the drawbacks and trade-offs that come with hearing aid domes. Here are a few of the most prevalent:
- They can at times be uncomfortable: Some individuals don’t like the feeling of something filling their ear canal. Some people find this sensation, called “occlusion” by hearing specialist, extremely uncomfortable. In addition, if you take your hearing aid dome out too fast (or don’t clean it frequently enough), there’s the possibility that it may separate from the tubing and get lodged in your ear canal. You’ll probably need to come in and see us to get it removed if this happens.
- They can occasionally be more prone to feedback: Feedback isn’t necessarily typical, but it can occur. For individuals who have high frequency hearing loss, this is particularly true.
- Not ideal for all types of hearing loss: For instance, if you have profound hearing loss or high frequency hearing loss, hearing aid domes may not be the best solution for you. For those with high-frequency hearing loss, again, it’s the feedback that becomes the problem. For people with profound hearing loss, it’s really the hearing aid itself that’s the problem: the type of hearing aid commonly associated with hearing aid domes is normally not large or powerful enough for this form of hearing loss.
So are hearing aid domes right for me?
Ultimately, the choice of whether you should use hearing aid domes or not is largely a personal one. It’s up to you but we can help. And we will discuss your individual needs and help advise you on the pros and cons.
Some people may be better off waiting for a custom fitting. For others, the immediate results of hearing aids you can use today will build healthy, lifelong hearing habits.
The good thing is that you have options.