Using Headphones In Tandem With Hearing Aids

Sometimes we can forget how privileged we are to be able to hear without any help from hearing aids. One of the things we all take for granted is listening to headphones. But what about those who do need hearing aids? Can you use hearing aids with headphones?

Yes, you can. Hearing aids come in different forms and work in different ways. Most hearing aids will let you use over-the-ear headphones with them without much hassle. So, there is nothing to worry about. You can also use bone conduction headphones.

In some cases, you might need to do some trial and error though. Some headphones might be a better fit for you with your particular model of hearing aid.

Can You Use Hearing Aids with Headphones?

Hearing aids are meant for people who have difficulty hearing. They are medical devices that go on your ears pretty much as headphones do. One question some people might be wondering is can you use headphones with them?

If you just recently got hearing aids, do not worry. You can still listen to all those banger top chart hits. If you love music and like to jam out to them all the time, with some experimentation, you can get the right pair for you.

The key word here is experimentation. There are different kinds of headphones and also hearing aids. Some combos work well with each other. And some not so much. 

I will break down the different kinds of hearing available. Let’s break down the hearing aid types and which type of headphones work best for them.

IIC and CIC Hearing Aids

IIC stands for Invisible in the Canal hearing aids. While CIC stands for Completely in the Canal. If you are someone who has mild hearing loss, your doctor might prescribe you these aids. They work for moderate hearing as well.

The good thing about these is that they are pretty discrete. Since they sit inside the ear canal. So, when searching for headphones, you can find quite a lot of options.

Type of Headphones to Use with IIC and CIC Hearing Aids

I recommend going with over-the-ear headphones if you have ICC and CIC hearing aids. These headphones have large ear cups and can comfortably be put on over your aids without much worry.

ITE Hearing Aids

ITE stands for In the Ear. So, these hearing aids will fit in the lower part of the outer ear. Some other versions of ITE aids will fill the majority of the outer ear.

These aids are pretty common. For these kinds of hearing aids, you have two headphone choices.

Type of Headphones to Use with ITE Hearing Aids

The same over-the-ear headphones will also work with ITE aids. Since they have pretty large ear cups. An interesting thing you can try is bone-conducting headphones.

These are pretty state-of-the-art headphones and work in a very interesting way.

Bone conducting headphones work by transmitting the sound through vibrations. They transmit these vibrations to the jawbones and the cheekbones. The sound quality might not be that good though.

A perk of bone conduction headphones is that they will not block any incoming sound from your surroundings.

This is because you do not wear these headphones over your ears, or in this case over your hearing aids. They sit right in front of the ear.

ITC Hearing Aids

Thirdly, you have the ITC type of hearing aid. ITC stands for In the Canal. Those who like wearing earbuds will like these types of hearing aids. ITCs will sit right at the lower part of the outer ear.

Since it is placed there, these kinds of hearing aids are pretty comfortable to wear. Not to mention they are easy to use as well.

The batteries are larger and they are also physically larger compared to say IIC hearing aids. 

That means they will last you longer and can also correct a broader range of hearing loss conditions too.

Type of Headphones to Use with ITC Hearing Aids

ITC hearing aids do not give you a discrete fit like IICs do. However, they are pretty usable with headphones as well.

As I mentioned before, you can use earbuds with them and over-the-ear headphones will work with them too.

BTE Hearing Aids

BTEs hearing aids, or Behind the Ear hearing aids are also pretty common. And they are the 4th type of aid you will see. BTEs come in different sizes as well. Some are large while others are called mini BTEs. 

These hearing aids that have ultra-thin tubing and work with earmolds are meant to treat severe hearing loss.

Another subtype is RIC and RITE – Receiver in The Ear. These have speakers built into the tip itself.

Type of Headphones to Use with BTE Hearing Aids

When choosing headphones that work with BTE hearing aids, you need to get slightly larger ones. The idea here is to cover the mic as well. So, some over-the-ear headphones will be perfect for that. 

If you do not cover the mic, then you might hear outside noise as well. The headphones might not perform on par. You might need to do some trial and error here.

Having the headphone speaker farther from the hearing aid mics will get rid of any audio feedback issues. That is pretty important if you want to get the best possible sound.

Bluetooth Hearing Aids: Kill Two Birds with One Stone

Hearing aids have come a long way from the old days. They are much more hi-tech and allow for all kinds of different connectivity options. Some aids in the market are Bluetooth enabled.

These are pretty nifty little hearing aids that you can use just like normal Bluetooth headphones.

These hearing aids can be connected to any device just like normal. But its star feature is also somewhat of a downside. Since they are Bluetooth enabled, it means that they need to recharge quite often.

So, you might see the battery drain faster than usual. In that case, if you need to have hearing aids on all the time, you can consider getting two pairs of Bluetooth hearing aids. 

You can wear one while the other is charging. And swap them out when the one you are using runs out of juice. You can connect these with any device actually, like a tablet, laptop, or phone.

They might cost you more than normal hearing aids though.

What Can You Do If You Have Single-Sided Deafness?

Some people might only have hearing loss on just one side. What are your options then? I would also suggest getting bone conduction headphones in this case as well. 

They work in most scenarios. You will not miss the sensation of ‘surround sound’.  Other headphone types are called 2E1 headphones – 2 ears, 1 headphone. Those can be a good option as well.

Hearing Aid and Headphone Safety Tips

When using hearing aids with headphones, you need to make sure that you are not blasting the sound. Turn the volume down to reasonable levels. You should also consult your doctor about safe audio levels for you. 

Just because you can use headphones with hearing aids, does not mean that you should blast them all the time. Otherwise, it can be very dangerous and cause more damage. 

Wrapping Up

So, can you use hearing aids with headphones? Absolutely yes! If you are using hearing aids, then there is no reason to deprive yourself of the wonderful world of music.

Over-the-ear headphones can work with most hearing aids. And some aids allow for earbuds as well. 

Photo of author

Josh Koop

I love listening to everything I can, from podcasts to music and movies. I have always loved to live in my head, and headphones were a portal to help quiet the noise in my head. Now I write and hope to bring to your attention all the best information to learn how to enjoy your experience just as much as I do!

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