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 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 little discouraging when you’re sitting in 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. However, there is another alternative: a deceptively basic device add-on, known as hearing aid domes.
What exactly is a hearing aid dome?
They sound sort of epic, right? 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!
Well, it’s a bit less exciting than that. They are pretty cool though. Hearing aid domes are like little earbuds that you can put on the end of your hearing aid speaker. Typically made of plastic or silicone, they fit around that little part that goes in your ear canal, attaching to the tubing of your hearing aid. You can use them with both behind-the-ear and in-ear models. And they basically 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 help secure the speaker in place. That way it’s not wiggling around.
- In some cases, outside sound can impede the sound of your hearing aid and hearing aid domes help avoid that by regulating the amount of outside sound. When used correctly, hearing aid domes offer you some extra control and work to improve sound clarity.
Those small bulbs at the end of earbuds are a lot like hearing aid domes. There are several hearing aid dome styles, so we will help you choose the one that’s best for your situation.
Different types of hearing aid domes
Most come in open and closed styles, each letting in more or less ambient sound.
Hearing aid domes come in different kinds, including:
With these, more sound is able to pass through little holes in the dome. You get the advantage of amplification while still being able to process external sounds.
These domes let less outside sound in through fewer and smaller holes. For individuals with more significant hearing loss, ambient noise can be very distracting and this kind of dome can help with that.
Power domes completely block the ear canal and have no venting. With these, nearly no external sound can get in. These domes will be best for people with very severe hearing loss.
Do hearing aid domes need to be swapped out?
For best results, 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 individuals, hearing aid domes can be used right out of the box. As a matter of fact, that’s one of their primary benefits.
How will I benefit by using hearing aid buds?
Hearing aid domes are popular for a wide array of reasons. The most common advantages include the following:
- Hearing aid domes can be more discrete: Hearing aid domes are fairly small, especially when they’re tucked into your ear. In this way, they can be pretty discrete.
- No fitting time: One of the most prominent (and immediate) benefits 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 people who don’t want to wait for custom fit hearing aids, it’s the best option. It’s also great for people who want to demo their hearing aids before they buy them. For people who want faster results, hearing aid domes can provide a way to accomplish that without compromising the quality of your sound clarity.
- The external world sounds more clear and natural: By choosing the best hearing aid dome type, you can guarantee that your hearing aids produce a natural overall sound and enhanced sound clarity. That’s because some sound will still (likely) get through. Again, this depends on the type of dome, and we will help you with this.
- You’re able to hear your own voice: A natural amount of sound can get through some types of hearing aid domes. So you will still be capable of hearing your own voice. You’ll most likely wear your hearing aids more often if they sound clear and natural.
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?
You’ll want to be mindful 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: Some people are uncomfortable with the feeling of something blocking their ear canal. Some individuals find this sensation, called “occlusion” by hearing specialist, intensely uncomfortable. In addition, if you pull your hearing aid dome out too quickly (or don’t clean it often enough), there’s the possibility that it might separate from the tubing and get stuck in your ear canal. If this happens, you’ll most likely need to come see us to get it removed.
- They can sometimes be more prone to feedback: Feedback isn’t necessarily common, but it does occur. For people who are dealing with high frequency hearing loss, this is especially true.
- Not ideal for all forms of hearing loss: For example, if you have profound hearing loss or high frequency hearing loss, hearing aid domes may not be the preferred solution for you. For people with high-frequency hearing loss, once again, it’s the feedback that becomes the problem. It’s the hearing aid itself that’s a problem with profound hearing loss: the type of hearing aid commonly associated with hearing aid domes is normally not large or powerful enough for this kind of hearing loss.
Should I use hearing aid domes?
It’s mostly a personal choice whether you use hearing aid domes. It’s your choice but we can help. And we will be able to help you understand all the pros and cons pertaining to your personal hearing health.
Some individuals may be better off waiting for a custom fitting. Others will create healthy lifelong hearing habits by choosing a solution that allows them to start using their new hearing aids immediately.
The good thing is that you have options.