After months (maybe even years) of waiting, you’ve finally resolved to give us a call to find out if you need hearing aids. Like many other people, you’ve been resisting this. But the difficulty of living life without being able to hear has finally become too hard to ignore.
So it’s a bit frustrating when you’re sitting in the hearing specialist’s office and you find out that you’re going to have to wait another two weeks for custom fit hearing aids.
That means that you will be losing some of life’s precious moments for two more weeks. Of course, there is another option: a deceptively simple device add-on, called hearing aid domes.
What exactly is a hearing aid dome?
Doesn’t that sound kind of epic? Like some type of arena where hearing aids duel in ancient, mythological combat. Only one hearing aid can emerge victorious from the hearing aid dome.
Well, it’s a bit less exciting than that. They are pretty cool though. Hearing aid domes are like tiny earbuds that you can place on the end of your hearing aid speaker. Usually made out of silicone or plastic, they attach to the tubing of your hearing aid and fit on the part that goes in your ear canal. They’re made for behind-the-ear or inside-the-ear-canal models of hearing aids. Here are the two basic functions:
- They assure that the speaker of the hearing aid is seated in an ideal position in your ear. And they help secure the speaker in place. That way it’s not wiggling around.
- They can help limit the amount of outside sound you hear, particularly when that external sound can impede the functionality of your hearing aid. Hearing aid domes work to improve the sound clarity and offer an extra bit of control when used correctly.
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 best for you from a number of types, and we can assist you in doing that.
What is the difference between hearing aid domes?
Most come in open and closed types, each letting in more or less ambient sound.
Hearing aid domes come in different types, including:
These have openings in the dome that allow more natural sound to get through and into your ears. This helps your ear process ambient sounds while still getting the benefit of amplification.
As the name implies, these domes have fewer openings and block more ambient sound than open domes do. For people with more significant hearing loss, background noise can be really distracting and this type of dome can help with that.
Power domes don’t have any holes and completely block external sounds. This means very little to no sound at all can get into the ear canal. These are most effective for extremely severe hearing loss.
How often should you change your hearing aid domes?
For best results, you should change your hearing aid domes every 2-3 months (your ears aren’t the dirtiest place, but they aren’t the cleanest, either).
Hearing aid domes can usually be worn right out of the box. As a matter of fact, that’s one of their primary advantages.
What are the advantages of hearing aid domes?
Hearing aid domes are popular for a wide variety of reasons. The most common advantages include the following:
- Hearing aid domes can be more discrete: Hearing aid domes are fairly small, particularly when they’re tucked into your ear. They’re rather discrete in this way.
- The external world sounds more clear and natural: You can be sure your hearing aids produce a clear, natural sound quality by picking the right type of hearing aid domes. That’s because some sound will still (probably) get in. We can help you determine the type that’s ideal for you.
- 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 will still be able to hear your own voice as you naturally would. You’re more likely to use your hearing aids more if they sound clear and natural.
- No fitting time: One of the most prominent (and immediate) benefits of hearing aid domes is that you don’t have to wait. You can put them in and wear your hearing aid immediately. For people who don’t want to wait for custom fit hearing aids, it’s the ideal solution. And if you want to demo a hearing aid before you purchase it, they’re good for that too. For patients who want faster results, hearing aid domes can provide a way to accomplish that without compromising the quality of your sound clarity.
And again, this will mean you’re not as likely to leave your hearing aid sitting in a drawer.
Are there downsides to hearing aid domes?
You’ll want to be aware of some of the downsides and trade-offs that come with hearing aid domes. Among the most common are the following:
- They can at times be uncomfortable: Having something filling the ear canal can be extremely unpleasant for some individuals. Some people find this feeling, called “occlusion” by hearing specialist, intensely uncomfortable. In addition, if you pull your hearing aid dome out too fast (or don’t clean it frequently enough), there’s the chance that it may separate from the tubing and get lodged in your ear canal. If this happens, you’ll most likely need to come see us to have it removed.
- They can sometimes be more prone to feedback: Feedback, though not very common, sometimes does occur. For individuals who have high frequency hearing loss, this is particularly true.
- Not suitable for all types of hearing loss: For example, if you are suffering from profound hearing loss or high frequency hearing loss, hearing aid domes may not be the best option for you. For those with high-frequency hearing loss, again, it’s the feedback that becomes the issue. It’s the hearing aid itself that’s a problem with profound hearing loss: you’ll require something that’s larger and which has more power than the styles commonly associated with hearing aid domes.
Should I get 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 be able to help you understand all the pros and cons related to your personal hearing health.
For some people, it might be worth waiting the extra two weeks for a custom-fit device. Others will create healthy lifelong hearing habits by opting for a solution that lets them begin using their new hearing aids immediately.
You have options and that’s the good thing.