Hearing Aids by Tricia Leagjeld - Redmond, OR

Couple wearing hearing aids with glasses enjoy a vacation.

Hearing aids and glasses might seem like incompatible opposites, but is there a means to get these two very important accessories to play nice? If you are looking at a behind-the-ear (BTE) device, this common question is even more relevant. Here’s the question, can I wear them both comfortably? Yes is the answer.

There are a few things, for those people who wear glasses, to think about before they buy new hearing aids, though. Here’s what you need to know when it comes to wearing hearing aids and glasses, together.

What Style of Hearing Aids Will Work Best for You?

Even if you don’t wear glasses, there are a lot of considerations when getting new hearing aids. Size, shape, and style are all personalizations that are readily available. You can even get them in stylish colors if you’re into that type of thing. Modern high tech hearing aids are not like the ones that grandpa had.

Start the process by really understanding what kinds of hearing aids are on the market. They break down into three basic categories:

  • 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 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.
  • In-the-canal (ITC) – This style is a lot like the ITE version but it sits deeper inside the ear, making them almost invisible.
  • In-the-ear (ITE) – As the name implies, this format of hearing aid fits directly into the opening of the ear canal with nothing mounted behind the ear.

ITE and ITC versions will allow people with glasses to avoid many drawbacks. The features of your new hearing aid should be reviewed after deciding on a style.

Considering The Features

Ultimately, 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. Watch for some of these common ones:

  • Noise reduction – Filters out background noise by amplifying one channel to enhance speech.
  • Directional microphone – This helps pinpoint the sound you need to hear while you are in a noisy spot. For example, if someone is talking to you at a restaurant, you will be able to hear their speech clearly in spite of the noise around you.
  • T-coil – This function permits you to hear better while talking on a land-line phone. T-coil technology is effective when you are listening to people talk through a speaker like at a bingo game or at the movies.

Determining the best features to fit your lifestyle is the objective. At that point, you can make a decision on the style of hearing aid.

What if You Want BTE Hearing Aids?

It is possible to wear BTE hearing aids with glasses. The trick is to wear both of these essential accessories correctly, so they are comfortable. Here are some tips:

  • Your hearing aid should be put in only after you put your glasses on. The placement of your glasses arm is more fixed than your hearing aid so it’s more difficult to adjust. Check in the mirror after positioning the hearing aid so you know it looks natural and isn’t hanging off your pinna, which is the outer part of the ear.
  • Select the correct size BTE before you commit to a purchase. There is the standard version, which can be a little bulky but will still work with glasses. A newer style option is the mini BTE. The portion that goes behind the ear is a lot smaller for increased comfort and also to reduce the feedback that you sometimes have with the BTE units. You have to try out both styles to determine which one works best.
  • Using both hands, and in a forward motion, practice taking off your glasses. Taking them off like this won’t become a habit right away. Each time you knock off your hearing aids, though, will help to develop the practice.

The only solution for those that have a real problem using a BTE device with glasses would be the ITE or ITC devices. For example, if you take your glasses off a lot, BTE devices will be a much greater burden. Children and people with smaller ears will have difficulty with this combination, too. 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. Use this trial to see if you can wear both or not.

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