After months (possibly even years) of waiting, you’ve finally resolved to contact us to find out if you should get hearing aids. You’ve been resisting this like so many other people. But the inconvenience, the lost moments, the missing interactions, they all finally became too much.
So it’s a bit disheartening when you’re at the hearing specialist’s office and you find out that you’re going to need to wait another couple of weeks for custom fit hearing aids.
That’s another two weeks dealing with those lost moments before you can begin getting them back. 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 kind of epic, right? Like some kind of arena where hearing aids duel 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. They are pretty cool though. Hearing aid domes are like little earbuds that you can place at the end of your hearing aid speaker. Generally 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 models of hearing aids. And they generally do two things:
- They position the hearing aid speaker (the bit that you listen to) in the most effective position within your ear canal. And they position the speaker so it won’t jiggle around in your ear.
- In some cases, external sound can impede the sound of your hearing aid and hearing aid domes help avoid that by regulating the amount of outside sound. Hearing aid domes work to enhance the sound clarity and offer an extra bit of control when used properly.
Those little 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 select the one that’s best for your needs.
What is the difference between hearing aid domes?
Open types and closed types each let in different levels of ambient sound.
Hearing aid domes come in different types, including:
These have openings in the dome that allow more natural sound to pass through and into your ears. You get the benefit of amplification while still being able to process external sounds.
These domes let less outside sound in through fewer and smaller holes. For people with more severe hearing loss, background noise can be really distracting and this type of dome can help with that.
Power domes totally block the ear canal and have no holes. This means virtually no sound at all can get into the ear canal. These are most practical for very profound 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 people, hearing aid domes can be worn right out of the box. That’s one of the best things about them.
How will I benefit by using hearing aid buds?
Hearing aid domes are prevalent for a wide variety of reasons. The most common advantages include the following:
- The outside world sounds more clear and natural: You can be sure your hearing aids produce a clear, natural sound quality by choosing the right type of hearing aid domes. That’s because some sound will still (probably) get in. We can help you identify the type that’s ideal for you.
- Hearing aid domes can be more discrete: Hearing aid domes are fairly small, especially when they’re tucked inside your ear. In this way, they can be rather discrete.
- No fitting time: Not having to wait is one of the best benefits of hearing aid domes. You can pop them in and use your hearing aid immediately. This is a perfect option for individuals who don’t want to wait weeks for custom fit hearing aids. And if you want to try out 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 can hear your own voice: A natural amount of sound can get through some models of hearing aid domes. This means you can still hear your own voice as you normally would. You’ll most likely wear your hearing aids more if they sound clear and natural.
And again, this will mean you’re not as likely to leave your hearing aid sitting on your nightstand.
Are there drawbacks to hearing aid domes?
As with any hearing device or medical procedure, there are some downsides and trade-offs to hearing aid domes, trade=offs you’ll want to consider before deciding. Among the most prevalent are the following:
- They’re not always comfortable: Having something plugging the ear canal can be extremely uncomfortable for some people. Some people find this sensation, called “occlusion” by hearing specialist, intensely uncomfortable. In addition, if you take your hearing aid dome out too fast (or don’t clean it often enough), there’s the chance that it may separate from the tubing and get stuck in your ear canal. 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 does happen. For people 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 might not be the best solution for you. For people with high-frequency hearing loss, once 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 bigger and which has more power than the types commonly associated with hearing aid domes.
So are hearing aid domes right for me?
Inevitably, the choice of whether you should use hearing aid domes or not is mostly a personal one. We can help but it’s up to you. And we will look at your individual needs and help advise you on the pros and cons.
Some people might do better waiting for a custom fitting. For others, the immediate results of hearing aids you can use today will build healthy, lifelong hearing habits.
The good thing is that you’ve got options.