Hearing aids and glasses most likely seem like incompatible opposites, but is there a way to get these two very important accessories to play nice? This typical question is particularly true if you are thinking about a behind-the-ear (BTE) model. Is it even possible to wear them both and still be comfortable? The answer is yes.
People who wear glasses need to think about some things before buying new hearing aids. Learn the secrets to wearing glasses and hearing aids at the same time.
What Style of Hearing Aids Are Best for You?
There are quite a few factors, in general, to think about when investing in new hearing aids. Size, shape, and style are all customizations that are available. They even offer them in cool colors if you like that kind of thing. Today’s advanced hearing aids are a lot better than your grandpa’s.
Begin your research by really getting to know what types of hearing aids are available. They break down into three basic categories:
- In-the-ear (ITE) – As the name suggests, this style of hearing aid fits directly into the opening of the ear canal with nothing mounted behind the ear.
- In-the-canal (ITC) – This style is a lot like the ITE version but it sits deeper into the ear, making them nearly invisible.
- Behind-the-ear (BTE) – This is an older style of hearing aid, but today’s version of this technology is much more advanced. With this style, the main section of the device sits directly behind the ear with clear tubing that connects to an earmold resting in the opening of the ear canal. Open-fit versions are basically the same setup except without the earmold.
If you wear glasses, you can stay clear of a lot of issues with ITE and ITC versions. Once you choose the physical style, it’s time to evaluate the features of different hearing aids.
Learning About The Features
It’s really the features not the shape of the hearing aid that should be your prime consideration when researching. Hearing aid technology is evolving all the time, so features change. Watch for some of these common ones:
- Directional microphone – This helps pinpoint the sound you need to hear while you are in a noisy location. For example, if someone is talking to you at a party, you will be able to hear their words clearly despite the noise around you.
- Noise reduction – Filters out background noise by amplifying one channel to enhance speech.
- T-coil – This feature enables you to hear better while using a land-line phone. T-coil technology is useful when you are listening to people talk through a speaker like at a bingo game or at the movies.
Your goal is to determine the best set of features to fit your lifestyle. Then the style of the hearing aid can be decided on.
Wearing BTE Hearing Aids With Glasses
Glasses and BTE hearing aids absolutely can be worn together. The secret is to wear both of these essential accessories properly, so they are comfortable. Here are some tips:
- Pick the appropriate size BTE before you commit to a purchase. Although the standard size will still work with glasses, it’s a little bulky. The other choice is a fairly new style known as mini BTE. The portion that fits behind the ear is a lot smaller for increased comfort and also to reduce the feedback that you sometimes get with the BTE models. Either one will work fine with glasses but see which style fits you best.
- First put on your glasses, then put in your hearing aid. Placement of the hearing aid unit is a little more flexible so you can work it in around the arm of the glasses to make it comfortable. Check in the mirror after placing the hearing aid so you will know it looks natural and isn’t hanging off your pinna, which is the outer part of the ear.
- Practice taking your glasses off by pulling them forward with both hands instead of up with one. It will take time to make this movement a habit. Each time you knock off your hearing aids, though, will help to develop the practice.
ITE and ITC styles are the only choices for those people that can’t wear a BTE device with their glasses. BTE devices will be a big problem if, for example, you take your glasses off a lot. Children and people with smaller ears will have difficulty with this combination, too. If you schedule an appointment with a hearing aid professional you can get a free trial period to find out which style is best for you. Trying out the different styles is the only way you will know which style works best for you.