After months (maybe even years) of waiting, you’ve finally resolved to give us a call to see if you need hearing aids. Like many, 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 disheartening when you’re at the hearing specialist’s office and you learn that you’re going to need to wait another two weeks for custom fit hearing aids.
That means that you will be missing some of life’s precious moments for two more weeks. But you could try a simple little device add on called a hearing aid dome instead.
What are hearing aid domes?
Doesn’t that sound sort of epic? Like some type of arena where hearing aids duel in ancient, mythical combat. Welcome to the Hearing Aid Dome: Two hearing aids enter…but only one leaves!
It’s not really that thrilling. They are rather cool though. Hearing aid domes are like little earbuds that you can put at 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 in your ear canal. They’re made for behind-the-ear or inside-the-ear-canal models of hearing aids. And they basically do two things:
- They situate the hearing aid speaker (the part that you listen to) in an ideal position inside of your ear canal. And they help secure the speaker in place. That way it’s not moving around.
- On occasion, external sound can impede the sound of your hearing aid and hearing aid domes help stop that by regulating the amount of outside sound. When properly used, hearing aid domes offer you a bit of extra control and work to improve sound quality.
Those little bulbs at the end of earbuds are similar to hearing aid domes. 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.
Different types of hearing aid domes
Open types and closed types each let in different amounts of ambient sound.
Hearing aid dome types include:
With these, more sound is capable of passing through little holes in the dome. You get the benefit of amplification while still being able to process external sounds.
As the name indicates, these domes have fewer holes and block more ambient sound than open domes can. These are better for more pronounced hearing loss where background noise can be a distraction.
Power domes totally block the ear canal and have no venting. This means virtually no sound at all can pass into the ear canal. These are most practical for extremely profound hearing loss.
Do hearing aid domes need to be changed?
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).
Hearing aid domes can usually be worn right out of the box. As a matter of 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 popular. The most common advantages include the following:
- Hearing aid domes can be more discrete: Hearing aid domes are pretty small, especially when they’re tucked inside your ear. In this way, they can be pretty discrete.
- No fitting time: One of the most popular (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. This is a perfect solution 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 good for that too. For patients who want results faster, hearing aid domes can provide a way to achieve that without compromising the quality of your sound clarity.
- You’re able to hear your own voice: A natural amount of sound can get through some models of hearing aid domes. This means you will still be able to hear your own voice as you normally would. You’ll most likely use your hearing aids more if they sound clear and natural.
- Everything sounds a bit more natural: By selecting the correct hearing aid dome type, you can be certain that your hearing aids produce a natural overall sound and enhanced sound clarity. That’s because some sound will still (likely) get through. We can help you identify the kind that’s best for you.
And again, this will mean you’re not as likely to leave your hearing aid sitting in a drawer.
What are the downsides 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 aren’t always comfortable: Having something plugging the ear canal can be really uncomfortable for some individuals. Hearing specialists call this feeling “occlusion,” and some individuals can find it extremely unpleasant. Additionally, if you pull your hearing aid dome out too quickly (or don’t clean it often enough), there’s the chance that it might separate from the tubing and get stuck in your ear canal. If this occurs, you’ll likely need to come see us to get it removed.
- Sometimes, they can cause feedback: Feedback, though not that common, sometimes does happen. For individuals who are dealing with high frequency hearing loss, this is especially true.
- Not ideal for all types of hearing loss: As an example, hearing aid domes won’t be the ideal option if you have high frequency hearing loss or profound hearing loss. Once again, the feedback can become a problem with high frequency hearing loss. For individuals with profound hearing loss, it’s really the hearing aid itself that’s the problem: the kind of hearing aid typically associated with hearing aid domes is usually not large or powerful enough for this kind of hearing loss.
So are hearing aid domes for me?
It’s largely a personal decision whether you use hearing aid domes. It’s your choice but we can help. And we will discuss your specific needs and help advise you on the pros and cons.
For some people, it may be worth waiting the extra two weeks for a custom-fit device. Others will create healthy lifelong hearing habits by choosing a solution that lets them start using their new hearing aids right away.
You have options and that’s the good thing.