Hearing aids and glasses probably seem like incompatible opposites, but is there a way to get these two very essential accessories to play nice? This common question is particularly true if you are considering a behind-the-ear (BTE) model. The question is, can I wear them both comfortably? Yes is the answer.
There are some things, for people who wear glasses, to consider before they invest in new hearing aids, though. Here’s what you need to know when it comes to wearing hearing aids and glasses, together.
Picking The Hearing Aids Which Best Serve Your Needs
There is a lot to think about when you’re shopping for hearing aids, even when you don’t happen to wear glasses. Hearing aids come in all shapes, sizes, and styles. You can even get them in cool colors if you’re into that sort of thing. Today’s hearing aids are not like your grandpa’s.
Start the process by really understanding what kinds of hearing aids are on the market. They divide into three basic categories:
- In-the-canal (ITC) – This style is a lot like the ITE version but it sits deeper into the ear, making them nearly invisible.
- In-the-ear (ITE) – As the name suggests, this format of hearing aid fits directly into the opening of the ear canal with nothing sitting behind the ear.
- Behind-the-ear (BTE) – This is an older style of hearing aid, but today’s version of this technology is way more advanced. With this style, the main section of the device mounts directly behind the ear with clear tubing that connects to an earmold sitting in the opening of the ear canal. Open-fit versions are essentially the same setup except without the earmold.
If you wear glasses, you can stay away from a lot of issues with ITE and ITC versions. The features of your new hearing aid should be reviewed after deciding on a style.
Learning About The Different Features
When shopping, it’s the features that should be your primary concern not the shape of the hearing aid. Hearing aid technology is evolving all the time, so features constantly change. Watch for some of these common ones:
- Directional microphone – This will help pinpoint the sound you need to hear while you are in a noisy place. For example, if someone is talking to you at a restaurant, you will be able to hear their speech easily in spite of the noise all around you.
- Noise reduction – Filters out background noise by amplifying one channel to enhance speech.
- T-coil – This feature allows you to hear better while using a land-line phone. T-coil technology is effective if you are listening to people talk through a speaker like at a bingo game or at the movies.
Finding the ideal features to fit your lifestyle is the goal. After that choosing the style should be easy.
Wearing BTE Hearing Aids With Glasses
Glasses and BTE hearing aids can be worn together. If you want them to be comfortable you have to wear both of these important accessories the proper way. Here are some tips:
- With both hands, and in a forward motion, practice taking off your glasses. It will take some time before you get into the habit of taking them off like this. The practice will be reinforced each time you knock off your hearing aid.
- Consider the size of the BTE hearing aids before purchasing. Even though it’s a little bit bulky, the traditional version will still work with glasses. The mini BTE is a fairly new alternative. Decreased feedback and enhanced comfort are gained by making the behind the ear part smaller. The only sure way to tell which one will be best for you is to try them both out.
- Your hearing aid should be put on only after you put on your glasses. The placement of your glasses arm is more rigid than your hearing aid so it’s more difficult to adjust. After positioning the hearing aid, check in the mirror to be sure it’s not hanging off your outer ear.
The only choice for those who have a real problem wearing a BTE hearing aid with glasses would be the ITE or ITC models. BTE devices will be a big problem if, for example, you take your glasses off a lot. This combination will also be a struggle for people with small ears and for children. Which style is best for you can be determined if you schedule an appointment with a hearing aid specialist and take advantage of the free trial. Trying out the different styles is the only way you will know for sure which style works best for your needs.