Hearing aids and glasses don’t seem to go very well with one another, but sometimes both are necessary. So how can you make them get along? How to wear both is a question that is asked a lot, particularly if you are considering behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids. Is it even possible to wear them both and still be comfortable? The answer is yes.
Before buying new hearing aids, there are some things to think about if you wear glasses. Learn the strategies to wearing glasses and hearing aids together.
There Are Several Styles of Hearing Aids That Could Work For Your Situation
There are a lot of things, in general, to consider when getting new hearing aids. Size, style, and shape are all customizations that are readily available. You can even get them in fancy colors if you like that sort of thing. Modern high tech hearing aids are not the same as the ones that grandpa wore.
Begin your research by really understanding what styles of hearing aids are out there. They divide into three basic categories:
- In-the-ear (ITE) – As the name implies, this format of hearing aid fits right into the opening of the ear canal and has 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 far more advanced. With this style, the main section of the device mounts right behind the ear with clear tubing that connects to an earmold sitting in the opening of the ear canal. Open-fit models are essentially the same setup except without the earmold.
- In-the-canal (ITC) – This style is very much like the ITE model but it sits deeper inside the ear, making them virtually invisible.
If you wear glasses, you can stay clear of a lot of problems with ITE and ITC models. Once you choose the physical style, it’s time to evaluate the features of different hearing aids.
Understanding The Features
Essentially, it’s really the features that should drive your choice as you shop for hearing aids, not the shape. Hearing aid technology is evolving all the time, so features change. Some common ones to look for include:
- T-coil – This function allows you to hear better while talking on a land-line phone. T-coil technology is helpful when you are listening to people talk through a speaker like at a bingo game or at the movies.
- Noise reduction – Filters out background noise by amplifying one channel to enhance speech.
- Directional microphone – This helps pinpoint the sound you need to hear when you are in a noisy spot. For example, if someone is talking to you at a cafe, you can hear their words clearly in spite of the noise all around you.
Finding the right features to suit your lifestyle is the aim. At that point, you can decide on the style of hearing aid.
What if You Want BTE Hearing Aids?
Glasses and BTE hearing aids can be worn together. If you want them to fit together comfortably you need to wear both of these essential accessories the proper way. Here are some tips:
- Pick the appropriate size BTE before you commit to a purchase. There is the standard version, which is a little bulky but can still work with glasses. The other option is a relatively new style called mini BTE. The part that goes behind the ear is a lot smaller for increased comfort and also to reduce the feedback that you sometimes get with the BTE models. You have to try out both styles to see which one works best.
- Get in the habit of putting your glasses on first and then your hearing aids. The position of your glasses arm is more rigid than your hearing aid so it’s more difficult to adjust. Look in the mirror after positioning the hearing aid so you will know it looks natural and isn’t hanging off your pinna, the outer part of the ear.
- Practice removing your glasses by pulling them forward with both hands instead of up with one. It will take some time before you form a habit of taking them off like this. If you forget to do this motion you will knock off your hearing aid and that will reinforce the practice.
ITE and ITC styles are the only choices for those who can’t use a BTE device with their glasses. BTE devices will be a hassle if, for instance, you take off your glasses a lot. This combination will also be a hassle 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 make use of the free trial. Whether or not you can wear both will be evident after you try them.