Headphones & Hearing Aids

Headphones & Hearing Aids

Leanne E. Polhill, LHAS, BC-HIS, BA Hearing Aid Technology, Hearing Aids, Hearing Health

Leanne E. Polhill, LHAS, BC-HIS, BA
Latest posts by Leanne E. Polhill, LHAS, BC-HIS, BA (see all)

Music lovers are among the first to seek out treatment for hearing loss once it becomes necessary. When they realize that they are hearing a reduced range of frequency, timbre, and volume in the sound they love, they are quick to make an appointment to get help. Whether they love to go to concerts, sit at home listening to records, or both, these experiences with music can be greatly enhanced through hearing aids. With aids in place, it’s almost as if the music takes on a new life, restoring the enjoyment and full spectrum of sound that was once there. Although hearing aids make it possible to enjoy music once again, they can be tricky to use with headphones. Several issues come up, including coordinating the levels of your devices, finding a comfortable fit, and making sure not to get in the way of the different components of the aids. Let’s take a look at the way that hearing aids can be integrated with headphones, making sure that you can get the full spectrum of sound from your music in your chosen listening environment.


Finding the Right Headphones

Although you might be used to wearing earbuds to listen to music, these devices are likely unsuited to use with hearing aids. When you have hearing aids in place, they will obstruct the fit and placement of earbuds, but some of the latest hearing aids can double as earbuds at the same time! Bluetooth connectivity makes it possible for your hearing aids to play media, including music, while also giving you enhanced sensitivity to environmental sound and the right spectrum of sounds to provide a complete listening experience. If you are interested in using your hearing aids as earbuds, talk to one of our providers about the options for Bluetooth connectivity in your devices.


Although Bluetooth connectivity is one options for transforming your hearing aids into earbuds, you might want to the audiophile quality available through over-the-ear headphones. These devices can provide a studio-quality experience, but they need to have the right fit to coordinate with hearing aids. Why not just turn up the volume on your headphones to a level that you can hear? When you turn up the volume on your device, you are bringing up all the frequencies of sound at the same level, but hearing loss tends to be unequal across the frequency spectrum. Your hearing aids are tailored to your individual need for frequency boosts in different bands of sound, so you will want this customized approach to sound transformation. When you look for over-the-ear headphones to wear with your hearing aids, try to find devices with a large ear cup, one that will fit over the entire hearing aid unit. Those who wear behind-the-ear hearing aids tend to have the most trouble finding the right fit, and you might need to try a wide range before finding some that work for you. You can visit an electronics store with your hearing aids in place to see which ones can cover your units in their entirety. This trial and error process will be worth the effort once you find headphones that integrate with your hearing aids!


Coordinating Hearing Aids and Headphones

Once you find the right fit, you will want to work with the volumes on your two devices to find a coordinated sound experience. In general, you will want to set the level of your hearing aids to something akin to your settings in the world. Perhaps try playing music through speakers at home and find what level is right for you. With this setting in place, start with the volume of your music device at zero. Slowly raise the level of your device until you have a comfortable listening experience. With these tips in mind, you should be able to find a way to listen to music that replicates the sound that you love while also finding a comfortable listening experience for your needs. Don’t hesitate to contact our hearing health professionals for advice about the process if you find it to be difficult. We can recommend ways to listen that will bring your favorite music to life once again.