After months (possibly even years) of waiting, you’ve finally decided to give us a call to see if you need hearing aids. You’ve been resisting this like so many others. But the stress of going through life without being able to hear has finally become too hard to ignore.
So when you do finally come in and then you find out that you will still have to wait another two weeks before you obtain your custom fit hearing aids, it can be discouraging.
That’s another two weeks dealing with those lost moments before you can start getting them back. Of course, there is another option: a deceptively basic device add-on, known as hearing aid domes.
What are hearing aid domes?
Doesn’t that sound sort of epic? Like some kind of arena where hearing aids battle in ancient, mythical combat. Welcome to the Hearing Aid Dome: Two hearing aids enter…but only one leaves!
Well, it’s a bit less exciting than that. But they are pretty neat. Hearing aid domes are like little earbuds that you can place on the end of your hearing aid speaker. Typically made of plastic or silicone, they fit over that little bit that goes in your ear canal, attaching to the tubing of your hearing aid. They’re made for both behind-the-ear or inside-the-ear-canal style hearing aids. Here are the two basic functions:
- They assure that the speaker of the hearing aid is seated in an optimal position in your ear. And they help keep the speaker in place. That way it’s not wiggling around.
- They can help control the amount of external sound you hear, especially when that outside sound can interfere with the functionality of your hearing aid. When properly used, hearing aid domes provide you with some extra control and work to improve sound quality.
Domes for hearing aids look sort of like those bulbs at the end of your earbuds. There are multiple hearing aid dome styles, so we will help you pick the one that’s best for your situation.
Different types of hearing aid domes
Most come in open and closed designs, each letting in more or less background sound.
Hearing aid domes come in different kinds, including:
These have openings in the dome that allow more natural sound to pass through and into your ears. You get the advantage of amplification while still being able to process outside sounds.
As the name indicates, these domes have fewer openings and block more ambient sound than open domes can. These are better for more pronounced hearing loss where ambient noise can be distracting.
Power domes don’t have any holes and totally block outside sounds. With these, almost no outside sound can get in. These are most effective for very profound hearing loss.
Do hearing aid domes need to be swapped out?
For best effect, you should swap out your hearing aid domes every 2-3 months (your ears are not the dirtiest place, but they aren’t the cleanest, either).
For most people, hearing aid domes can be worn right out of the box. That’s one of the greatest things about them.
What are the advantages of hearing aid domes?
There are numerous reasons why hearing aid domes are popular. The most common benefits include the following:
- The outside world sounds more clear and natural: By finding the correct hearing aid dome type, you can guarantee that your hearing aids generate a natural overall sound and improved sound clarity. More than likely, some sound will still get through and that’s the reason for this. We can help you identify the type that’s ideal for you.
- Hearing aid domes can be more discrete: Hearing aid domes aren’t very big, particularly when they’re in your ear. They’re pretty discrete in this way.
- You’re able to hear your own voice: A natural amount of sound can get through some models of hearing aid domes. So you will still be able to hear your own voice. You’ll most likely wear your hearing aids more if they sound clear and natural.
- No fitting time: Not needing to wait is one of the best benefits of hearing aid domes. You can un-box them, put them on your hearing aid and you’re good to go. This is a perfect option for people who don’t want to wait weeks for custom fit hearing aids. And if you want to demo a hearing aid before you purchase it, they’re great for that too. For patients who want faster results, hearing aid domes can provide a way to accomplish that without sacrificing the quality of your sound clarity.
And again, this will mean you’re not as likely to leave your hearing aid sitting on your nightstand.
What are the downsides to hearing aid domes?
You’ll want to be mindful of some of the downsides and trade-offs that come with hearing aid domes. Here are a few of the most prevalent:
- They’re not always comfortable: Having something plugging the ear canal can be really unpleasant for some people. Some people find this sensation, called “occlusion” by hearing specialist, intensely uncomfortable. Additionally, 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. If this happens, you’ll likely need to come see us to get it removed.
- Occasionally, they can cause feedback: Feedback isn’t necessarily common, but it can happen. For people who are dealing with high frequency hearing loss, this is especially true.
- Some forms of hearing loss aren’t suitable for hearing aid domes: As an example, hearing aid domes won’t be the best choice if you have high frequency hearing loss or profound hearing loss. For those with high-frequency hearing loss, again, it’s the feedback that becomes the problem. For people who have profound hearing loss, it’s really the hearing aid itself that’s the problem: you’ll require something that’s bigger and which has more power than the types commonly associated with hearing aid domes.
Should I use hearing aid domes?
It’s largely a personal decision whether you use hearing aid domes. We can help but it’s up to you. And we will discuss your specific needs and help advise you on the pros and cons.
For some people, it might be worth waiting the extra couple of weeks for a custom-fit device. For other people, the immediate results of hearing aids you can wear today will create healthy, lifelong hearing habits.
You have options and that’s the nice thing.