Hearing aid domes are paired with receiver-in-ear (RIC) hearing aids. They are inserted in the ear’s canals to secure the amplifier, clench the hearing aid’s tube in place and form a seal over the canals. There are many sizes and styles, and it’s important to get a proper fitting from a hearing instrument specialist to ensure a correct fit for optimum comfort and hearing.
A proper fitting also guarantees that you are getting the most out of your hearing aids, otherwise sounds can leak out and the devices will wind up being ineffective. Wearing the right dome with the correct shape and size ensures that the hearing aids are functioning as they were meant to while feeling comfortable throughout your day.
Hearing aid domes, on average, should be replaced every two to three months - depending on how worn they are. You can consult your hearing aid provider about how often you should change out your domes and best practices to take care of them. It's important to be cautious when inserting and removing the domes from your ears. They could get stuck.
Selecting the Proper Shape
Domes are available in three fundamental shapes:
This style receives some natural sounds, which provide improved quality of sound with better sharpness. Unfortunately, it also weakens the amplification of bass sounds, and hearing aids with open domes usually need more power because some sound leaks out from the vents. This style prevents occlusion, where your own voice sounds echoed as though you’re in a barrel. It’s best for users with mild to moderate hearing loss. Feedback noises might also be a problem for anyone with moderate hearing loss. If that’s the case, talk to your hearing instrument specialist for different options or a refitting.
These are also known as vented or tulip domes. This style features less venting than an open dome, which is useful to amplify sounds if you have difficulty with hearing lower frequencies. It decreases the intensity of higher frequencies but is generally more helpful for anyone with moderate hearing loss.
If you have severe hearing loss, power domes should be used with your hearing aids. These domes completely seal the ear canal, which provides the best amplification with very few sound leaks. It’s important to note that these significantly increase bass and lower the sharpness of sounds. Power domes also cancel feedback noises.
Selecting the Proper Size
Generally, the hearing instrument specialist who fits the hearing aids will pick the right dome size and make sure it’s the correct fit. The dome should be slightly larger than the patient’s ear canal to seal the ear canal, but there shouldn’t be too much pressure on the ear’s skin. This will cause discomfort and redness to the ear. A dome that fits perfectly should make a light rustling noise when it’s inserted or removed. There should be some resistance.
What if it’s too small?
Hearing aid domes are considered too small if they show little resistance when inserted or removed. Very small domes might not make a noise when inserted or removed. If the domes are too small they won’t be very effective, and they will not securely fit the hearing aids in the ear.
What if it’s too big?
You’ll know if a dome is too big if your ears immediately feel uncomfortable within moments of contact. Open domes may cause more pressure in the canals when the vents deform, and other people’s voices might sound deeper and less clear. Power domes could become very uncomfortable, and soreness or swelling could occur due to the pressure in the canal walls.
If the sizes are too far off, the dome could fall out of the ear or deeper into the ear. This might result in a trip to get it removed by a professional. You should not attempt to take the domes out of your ears on your own. It could result in pushing the domes even further into the canals, which could damage the eardrum.
The best domes for you, are ones that fit comfortably, securely and provide the best sounds with your hearing aids. There are different dome styles and sizes for different brands of hearing aids, so you may need a few trials before settling for the right pair.
If you, or a loved one, need hearing aids and a proper hearing aid fitting, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing. Our hearing aid providers are ready to help you.