The Best Headphones to Wear with Hearing Aids

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The Best Headphones to Wear with Hearing Aids

Woman listening to hearing aids

If you’ve started wearing hearing aids then it’s time to STOP wearing your ear buds. Luckily, there are plenty of hearing-aid compatible headphone options to keep you connected to your music, podcasts and Netflix.

Since there are so many options, it’s best to start the research by narrowing down which type of hearing aid you’re using.  Here are some common types:

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

Certain headphones work better with certain kinds of hearing aids. Here are three common headphone options and the hearing aids they are most compatible with.

  1. Over-Ear Headphones

These sit over the ears, can be very stylish and are gaining popularity.  As an added benefit, they help with noise cancellation. When we listen to headphones without noise cancellation, we often turn up the volume to compensate for background noises.  Headphones at high volume are damaging to hearing and should be avoided.

Most compatible hearing aids for Over-Ear Headphones:

  • BTE – Behind-the-ear
  • ITC – In-the-canal
  • ITE – In-the-ear
  • RIC – Receiver-in-canal
  1. On-Ear Headphones:

These rest directly on the ears and are a nice lighter-weight alternative to Over-Ear Headphones.  They generally have an opening in the center of the headphone which often may accommodate a hearing aid. Opt for On-Ear Headphones with noise cancellation for the best results.

Most compatible hearing aids for On-Ear Headphones:

  • CIC – Completely-in-canal
  • IIC – Invisible-in-the-canal

Compatible, but with higher chance of feedback:

  • BTE – Behind-the-ear
  • ITC – In-the-canal
  • ITE – In-the-ear
  • RIC – Receiver-in-canal
  1. Bone Conduction Headphones:

Bone Conduction headphones operate differently than standard headphones by sending vibrations through your jawbones and cheekbones.  The vibrations then move to the inner ear and the brain to be processed.

Most compatible hearing aids for Bone Conduction Headphones:

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

This guide is a good start and there are plenty of options within each category. Headphones, like so many of our electronic devices and gadgets, are a personal choice involving characteristics like price, aesthetic appeal and sound quality.  It would be a good idea to try the headphones with your hearing aids before purchasing, especially if you plan to invest in higher-end headphones.  Hearing healthcare professionals also recommend choosing noise-cancelling headphones.

If you notice a high-pitch feedback noise with your new headphones, you may need to adjust them so that they are not too close to your hearing aid.  If adjusting does not correct the feedback issue, then they may not be the right headphones for your type of hearing aid and it may take a few tries to find the perfect ones for you.

Finally, remember that hearing aids will amplify the sound coming through the headphones, so pay attention to volume.  Standard hearing care practices still apply when wearing headphones with hearing aids. So turn the volume down, limit your overall headphone time, and take frequent hearing breaks to let your ears recover.

Schedule an appointment with us to discuss hearing aid best practices and to customize a hearing health plan for you!

 

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