After months (possibly even years) of waiting, you’ve finally decided to give us a call to find out if you should get hearing aids. Like many other people, you’ve been resisting this. But the stress of going through life without being able to hear has finally become too much.
So it’s a little discouraging 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 alternative: a deceptively basic device add-on, known as hearing aid domes.
What exactly is a hearing aid dome?
Doesn’t that sound sort of epic? Like some type of arena where hearing aids battle in ancient, mythological combat. Welcome to the Hearing Aid Dome: Two hearing aids enter…but only one leaves!
Well, it’s a little less thrilling than that. But they are pretty neat. Hearing aid domes are like little earbuds that you can put on the end of your hearing aid speaker. Usually made of silicone or plastic, they connect to the tubing of your hearing aid and fit around the part that goes into your ear canal. You can use them with both behind-the-ear and in-ear models. And they generally do two things:
- They situate the hearing aid speaker (the bit that you listen to) in an ideal position within your ear canal. And they secure the speaker so it won’t move around inside of your ear.
- They can help limit the amount of outside sound you hear, especially when that outside sound can impede the functionality of your hearing aid. Hearing aid domes work to enhance the sound clarity and offer an extra bit of control when used properly.
Domes for hearing aids look sort of like those bulbs at the end of your earbuds. 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?
Open types and closed types each let in different amounts of background sound.
Hearing aid domes come in different kinds, including:
With these, more sound is capable of passing through little holes in the dome. You get the advantage of amplification while still being able to process outside sounds.
As the name implies, these domes have fewer holes and block more ambient sound than open domes do. For people with more severe hearing loss, background noise can be very distracting and this type of dome can help with that.
Power domes totally block the ear canal and have no holes. This means very little to no sound at all can pass into the ear canal. These are most practical for extremely profound hearing loss.
How often should you change your hearing aid domes?
Every two to three months will be the ideal schedule for changing your hearing aid domes (your ears are not the dirtiest place, but they aren’t the cleanest, either).
For most people, hearing aid domes can be used right out of the box. In fact, that’s one of their primary benefits.
What are the advantages of hearing aid domes?
There are a number of reasons why hearing aid domes are prevalent. The most common benefits include the following:
- You’re able to hear your own voice: A natural level of sound can get through some types of hearing aid domes. This means you can still hear your own voice as you naturally would. This makes the clarity of sound feel a lot more natural, which means you’re more likely to use your hearing a great deal more often.
- No fitting time: Not having to wait is one of the greatest advantages of hearing aid domes. 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 best solution. And if you want to try out a hearing aid before you purchase it, they’re great for that too. With hearing aid domes, you don’t have to sacrifice sound clarity to get quicker results.
- Hearing aid domes can be more discrete: Hearing aid domes are pretty small, particularly when they’re tucked into your ear. In this way, they can be rather discrete.
- The outside world sounds more clear and natural: By finding the correct hearing aid dome type, you can ensure that your hearing aids produce a natural overall sound and enhanced sound clarity. That’s because some sound will still (probably) get through. Once again, this depends on the style of dome, and we will help you with this.
And again, this will mean you’re less likely to leave your hearing aid sitting on your nightstand.
Are there drawbacks to hearing aid domes?
As with any hearing device or medical treatment, there are some drawbacks and trade-offs to hearing aid domes, trade=offs you’ll want to think about before deciding. Here are a few of the most common:
- They can at times be uncomfortable: Some individuals are uncomfortable with the feeling of something filling their ear canal. Some individuals find this feeling, called “occlusion” by hearing specialist, extremely uncomfortable. Also, your hearing aid dome can become lodged in your ear if you pull it out too fast or if you don’t keep it clean. You’ll most likely need to come in and see us to have it removed if this happens.
- Sometimes, they can cause feedback: Feedback isn’t necessarily typical, but it can occur. This is especially true for individuals who are dealing with high-frequency hearing loss.
- Some types of hearing loss aren’t suitable for hearing aid domes: For example, if you are suffering from profound hearing loss or high frequency hearing loss, hearing aid domes might not be the best option for you. For those with high-frequency hearing loss, once again, it’s the feedback that becomes the issue. It’s the hearing aid itself that’s an issue with profound hearing loss: the kind of hearing aid commonly associated with hearing aid domes is usually not large or powerful enough for this kind of hearing loss.
So are hearing aid domes right for me?
It’s mostly a personal choice whether you use hearing aid domes. We can help but it’s up to you. And we will be able to walk you through all the pros and cons related to your unique hearing health.
For some individuals, it might be worth waiting the extra couple of weeks for a custom-fit device. Others will create healthy lifelong hearing habits by opting for a solution that allows them to begin using their new hearing aids right away.
The good thing is that you have options.