Hearing aid domes are small, bell-shaped pieces of disposable plastic that sit at the end of hearing aid tubes. These pre-fitted pieces rest in your ear and provide ample comfort. But they don’t last forever. When people first pick up a brand-spanking-new pair of hearing aids, they may have questions regarding longevity. How long do the domes last? When should you replace them? And how do you know when it’s time to pick up some new disposable domes?

What are the Different Types of Domes?

When you first receive your hearing aid, you may notice that your hearing dome looks a little different from other domes you’ve seen. Don’t worry! That’s not unusual. There are two primary types of domes — open-style domes and close-style domes.

What Are Open-Style Domes?

Open-style hearing aid domes are domes with openings (or holes) in the plastic. The reason the plastic remains open is to prevent the “occlusion effect.”

What’s the occlusion effect?

Put your fingers over your ears for a moment and try to talk. Do you notice that your voice seems louder and “boomier”? That’s the occlusion effect. If you have mild hearing loss, domes that are entirely closed may make you hear that occlusion every time you speak.

You definitely don’t want that!

Since open-style domes still receive some outside sound, they’re best suited for individuals with mild-to-moderate hearing loss. The actual sound amplification is still impactful, but the openings make the amplification less aggressive than closed-style domes.

What Are Closed-Style Domes?

Closed-style hearing aid domes are hearing aid domes without any holes or openings. Since the dome is entirely closed, minimal outside sound comes through the ear canal — making the sound amplification much higher than open-style domes. These are best suited for individuals with severe hearing loss.

An important thing to note here is that some manufacturers make an additional dome-style called a “power dome.” These are also closed domes, but they may be more occlusive than their other closed dome models.

When Should You Replace Your Domes?

One of the most common questions at the practice is, “when do I need to replace my domes.” Remember, domes are disposable by nature, and they aren’t mean to be a permanent solution. Since domes rest in your ear canal, they can gather earwax, get damaged during the insertion and removal process, and be impacted by leaning your head against objects.

You should change your domes every few months — regardless of your dome type.

This helps keep your hearing aid working optimally, and it keeps the sound quality you hear daily at it’s best.

Even though your hearing domes need to be replaced every few months, you still also have to clean them regularly. Earwax buildup and debris from the environment can impact the quality of sound you receive.

Here are a few easy steps you can follow in cleaning your domes:

  1. Remove the hearing aid from your ear and peel the dome off of the device.
  2. Use some cloth or a brush to remove debris and wax from the outside and inside of the dome.
  3. Take the cloth and put a small dab of alcohol on it (or use an alcohol wipe) to disinfect the dome thoroughly.
  4. Run the dome under some water and add a splash of soap.
  5. Rinse the dome and let it dry for 30 minutes.
  6. Position the dome back on the hearing aid device.
  7. That’s it! You’re done!

Following this simple 7-step process, every few days can significantly improve your hearing quality.

If you need replacement domes, cleaning advice, or any help with your hearing aids, book a hearing evaluation, and visit us!

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Dr. Kalyn Bradford Au.D.

Dr. Kalyn Bradford is the director of hearing aid services here at Physician's Hearing Care. She completed her externship with Physician's Hearing Care in 2013 and subsequently joined the practice in 2014 after graduating with her doctoral degree in audiology from Louisiana Tech University. She joined PHC as a clinical audiologist, where she performed comprehensive audiological exams and specialized in helping patients to hear better using the latest hearing aid technology available. She has carried that experience into her current role as director of hearing aid services, where she does an excellent job managing the audiologists to ensure that all patients are treated with the best hearing care possible.