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Which headphones work best with hearing aids?

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Which headphones work best with hearing aids?

Many hearing aid users often wonder if they can use headphones to enjoy their favorite music, movies, television shows and games in tandem with their hearing devices. 

The answer is yes! 

There is a wide variety of hearing aid-friendly headphones on the market. Of course, there are a few things to take into consideration when shopping around, such as the type of hearing aid you use, as well as your lifestyle and listening preferences. Read on to learn which headphones work best with the most common types of hearing aids.

Bone Conduction Earphones

If you live a more active lifestyle or want smaller headphones that still provide good sound quality—but do not make direct contact with your hearing aids—bone conduction earphones are worth checking out! Bone conduction earphones are compatible with most hearing aids, but are best suited for individuals who have the following types of hearing aids:

  • In-the-ear (ITE)
  • In-the-canal (ITC)
  • Completely-in-canal (CIC)
  • Invisible-in-the-canal (IIC)

While traditional headphones are worn over or inside the ears and send sound through your eardrums, bone conduction headphones are placed in front of the ear on the cheekbones and have transducers that send sound vibrations through your cheekbones to your cochlea, leaving your ears free to take in noise. 

The smaller, sleeker style is often popular with users who like to listen to music while exercising or during other physical activities. With these headphones, no devices are placed inside the ear canal, ultimately reducing stress on the eardrum and making them a great option for those who wear in-ear hearing aids.

On-Ear Headphones

While they don’t provide comprehensive noise-canceling capabilities of over-ear headphones, these headphones are smaller and are a great option for enjoying music during a quiet night in, or a podcast before falling asleep. On-ear headphones can be used with most types of hearing aids, and are smaller and lighter than over-ear headphones. On-ear headphones are a good option for individuals using the following hearing aids:

  • Completely-in-canal (CIC)
  • Invisible-in-the-canal (IIC)
  • In-the-ear (ITE)
  • In-the-canal (ITC)[MN1] [Office2] 
  • Receiver-in-canal (RIC)

On-ear headphones sit on the ears and have an opening in the middle of them, which makes it easy for the hearing aids to pick up sound waves. Plus, like the bone conduction earphones, you do not have to place anything in the ear, which minimizes any possible stress to the eardrum itself.

Over-ear headphones

Over-ear headphones may sound similar to “on-ear headphones,” but on the contrary, over-ear headphones are designed to fit over your ears.

One big advantage of over-ear headphones is that you have the option to purchase noise-canceling versions. Usually, the box will indicate whether the headphones fall under this category. Both users who do wear hearing aids, as well as many who don’t (think: DJs and professional musicians), prefer noise-canceling headphones because they provide an ultra-clear listening experience while “canceling out” any background noise.

Over-ear headphones are best suited for individuals using the following types of hearing aids:

  • In-the-ear (ITE)
  • In-the-canal (ITC)
  • Completely-in-canal (CIC)
  • Invisible-in-the-canal (IIC)
  • Behind-the-ear (BTE)
  • Receiver-in-canal (RIC)

It’s worth mentioning that a larger pair of over-ear headphones will probably provide a more comfortable fit for users who wear behind-the-ear hearing aids or receiver-in-canal hearing aids. To work properly, these headphones need to completely cover the ear, including the top of the ear where the hearing aid resides. 

Tips for using headphones with hearing aids

As you begin shopping around for headphones that best suit your hearing aids and lifestyle preferences, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Avoid earbuds: Since earbuds need to be placed within the ear canal to work, it is highly unlikely any style of earbuds will work with hearing aids.

Watch the volume: If you choose to wear your headphones with your hearing aids in, be sure to turn the volume down, as the music will be amplified from your hearing aids. Most of today’s smartphones and music devices provide built-in warnings when you approach sound levels that are too high. Also, be sure to not to listen for longer than one hour.

Aim for a comfortable fit: If headphones push on the hearing aid, or are positioned too closely to your hearing aid, you may experience feedback. This is an indicator that you should reposition your headphones. However, this may also be a sign that the headphones may not be the best fit for your specific type of hearing aid, and you should try another option instead.

Use Your Hearing Aids as Headphones

As hearing aid technology has improved, your set of hearing aids themselves can now become your headphones! Models like the Audéo B-Direct from Phonak both offer wireless streaming options. Additionally, many of today’s hearing aid accessories can transfer sound signals wirelessly from your TV, phone or computer to your hearing aids.

If you’re wondering which hearing aid would be best for you or what type of headphones would work best with your current hearing aid model, contact your local Connect Hearing and a hearing professional would be happy to help!

5 cruicial hearing health questions

Read this helpful guide before
your next visit to the audiologist.

Click here for the guide
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