A hearing aid ear dome is a small detachable piece on the end of your hearing aid which funnels sound directly into your ear canal. Selecting the best hearing aid ear dome is important in helping you to hear your best. There are many sizes, styles, and features on ear domes which can cause some confusion when selecting which you should use. This article will hopefully provide you with some insights as you navigate which ear dome is best for you.
When it comes to selecting ear domes, there is no universal size. Some individuals have larger ear canals, resulting in the need for a larger ear dome size. Other individuals might have large ear canals, which narrow quickly resulting in the need for a smaller ear dome size. Because of this, you may have to go through a process of trial-and-error to determine what the best ear dome size is for you. To start, you should begin with the ear dome size you think will fit best in your ear canal. If the ear dome is comfortable and doesn’t move much in your ear canal, you might have a good fit on your first try. If, over time, you feel some pressure and discomfort while wearing your hearing aids, the ear dome size might be too large and you should try a smaller size ear dome. The ear dome should be snug, but not uncomfortable.
Next, you’ll want to determine what style of ear dome you need. The configuration of your hearing loss will greatly influence what style of ear dome is best for you. There are several styles of ear domes offered through Soundwave Hearing: open, tulip, and power domes. If you have a normal to mild/moderate hearing loss, an open fit ear dome might work best for you; as the holes in the dome allow for natural sound to enter your ear canal along with the amplified sound. If your hearing loss is a little worse, a tulip ear dome might be better to help hold sound in your ear canal. For individuals with greater hearing loss, a power ear dome might work best to hold as much sound as possible in the ear canal.
One thing you want to avoid, as much as possible, is feedback. Sound can leak out of your ear canal and re-enter the microphone of your hearing aid, causing a whistling sound. This can be annoying to you and those around you. The greater your hearing loss, the more likelihood you will have feedback. To test for feedback, put on your hearing aid and make sure it is powered on. Once your hearing aid is inserted correctly, cup your hand around your ear canal. If you or someone with normal hearing notice a whistling sound, you have sound leakage. This can be caused by a ear dome that allows too much sound to leave the ear canal. To help reduce feedback, you will need to close-off your ear canal more. This might mean using a larger ear dome or more closed-off ear dome, such as a tulip or power ear dome. The increased size and seal of the ear dome can help prevent sound from exiting and re-entering via the microphone. Please note that not all feedback can be eliminated, but changing the ear dome can help reduce feedback as you seal off the ear canal. Also, keep in mind that your ear canals, just like your hands and feet, are not perfectly symmetrical. Because of this, you might need a different size and style of ear dome for each of your ear canals.
When you start changing out your ear domes, you may notice that you hear differently with different styles. Using trial-and-error, you can determine what your personal listening preference is. It’s important to note that individuals do not process sound in the same way; so individuals with similar hearing losses might prefer different styles of ear domes. Whatever your listening preference is, make sure the dome is comfortable and makes you confident in hearing what you feel is best.
Written by Dr. Cynthia Chow, Audiologist, CAA The Hearing Place
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