What Are Hearing Aid Domes?

picutre of hearing aid alongside hearing aid domes and batteries

Throughout the centuries, people have struggled with hearing loss and finding adequate listening devices. Long ago are the days of using a hearing trumpet to encourage sound to travel deeper into the inner ear, but the struggle for an efficient hearing aid continues. In the quest to make sure people are given the best assistance possible, hearing devices have become smaller and more compact. Each new device builds on previous successes and incorporates the latest in tech. Hearing aid domes have made it possible for the auditory system to enjoy amplified sound more clearly and consistently.

Hearing Through Ear Receivers

A hearing aid dome is a tiny mushroom or bell-shaped silicone attached to a hearing aid tube’s end. The dome is small is enough that it can make it down inside the ear canal, though there are different sizes available to handle the individual aspects of the ear canal. Domes are used in conjunction with either the receiver ‘in-the-canal’ or receiver ‘in-the-ear’ categories of hearing aids. These two styles make it possible to put the loudspeaker or sound amplification system deep into the inner ear and leave the microphone and processor outside on top of the ear to receive the sound.

Choosing Your Hearing Aid

Hearing domes have unique construction and are not suited for all levels of hearing loss. The sound amplification starts with the small processor resting behind the ear when the sound waves are received through the microphone. As the sound is processed, it is carried back to the dome through a tiny wire or tube. The process works best for individuals who have mild-to-moderate hearing loss and those with high-frequency hearing loss. Those who have more severe loss would be better suited for a behind-the-ear device.

The patient and practitioner work together to decide which hearing support system will be the most effective. The device’s design and how it fits inside the ear are crucial elements to get right for a hearing aid dome to help overcome hearing loss. There are three key styles for these domes, and the style has an impact on overall sound quality.

  • Closed dome: In this dome, there is one piece of plastic surrounding the receiver and inserted straight into the ear canal. Without any interruption in the shape of the dome, inconsequential noises are more effectively blocked. This can increase your device’s sound level, often making this a good choice for those who suffer more severe levels of hearing loss. Some users feel that a closed dome makes noises sound hollow or leave them feeling like their ears are blocked.
  • Open dome: In an open-style dome, there are multiple openings alongside the body of the dome. These openings prevent the feeling of occlusion or the sensation that the ears are blocked. The sound is still easily amplified into the inner ear, and users with mild to moderately-severe hearing difficulties have success with this style of the device.
  • Power dome: This dome has little to no venting, making a full seal on the ear canal. Without any airflow or natural sound, the occlusion effect is more severe. However, this option has very little disturbance with feedback and provides the best sound amplification. This dome is often reserved for those with the most challenging hearing loss conditions.

Looking at the Details

As with any medical treatment, there are pros and cons to the use of hearing aid domes. Your practitioner or audiologist will give you the information necessary to make an informed decision that promotes better hearing, but you should be aware of these possible concerns or benefits. The final decision for what type of hearing assistance you use is left up to you.

The Pros

The small size and ability to fit down inside the ear canal are two of the biggest advantages of dome aids. Hearing aids need to be vented to prevent the ear from getting occluded. Some airflow and natural sound need to be able to reach the inside of the ear. Domes don’t block the passageway. Domes are also open enough to boost sounds and maintain greater frequency detection, letting in low frequencies without feedback and still keeping clarity with higher frequencies.

Domes are also easy to maintain. Care for a dome requires wiping them down each day with a soft cloth. Rub off any ear wax, and store the unit inside a protective case when not in use. Even with the variety of sizes and styles, domes are very affordable, making replacement inexpensive.

The Cons

Even though they are affordable, it is recommended that domes be replaced every two to three months. This can be an inconvenience. Domes could potentially be damaged during the insertion or removal, leading to additional expense for replacement. Having the dome get stuck in the ear is also possible, particularly if an individual is too hasty when inserting the device. Aging individuals and those with dexterity issues may struggle with the fine motor skills needed to handle the dome for cleaning or the insertion process. Any dome is also susceptible to damage from moisture in the ear or excessive wax buildup.

Finding a Distributor

It will take the help of a hearing care professional to outfit you with a dome the meets your unique hearing needs. Without a proper fit, you may experience discomfort or pain while wearing the device. There could also be feedback, or high-pitched whistling sounds, which come from the unit. People process sound differently, and what may have worked for your friend or family member may not be the same for you. Using the advice of your healthcare professional or personal audiologist, weigh the pros and cons of each dome-style against your hearing needs.

At Happy Ears Hearing Center, not only do our audiologists provide exceptional treatment for hearing loss, but our staff also ensure accuracy in hearing aid fittings. We offer various hearing aid domes, giving every patient access to the size and style that is the most comfortable and effective. From Starkey to Hansaton, we have your hearing dome needs covered.