Hearing Aids With Glasses or Oxygen Tubes - Making It Work

December 15, 2022
Amy Sarow, AuD, CCC-A
Written by
Amy Sarow, AuD, CCC-A
Amy Sarow, AuD, CCC-A

Dr. Amy Sarow is a practicing clinical audiologist and serves as Audiology Lead for Soundly. Her expertise and experience span topics including tinnitus, cochlear implants, hearing aid technology, and hearing testing. She holds a doctoral degree in audiology from the University of Iowa. During her residency at Mayo Clinic, Dr. Sarow was inspired by the three-tiered, patient-centered approach, incorporating clinical work, teaching and research.

Soundly Staff
Reviewed by
Soundly Staff
Soundly Staff
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Hearing aids can be great tools to help improve your hearing and quality of life, but they can also compete for valuable real estate behind your ears. If you wear oxygen tubes or glasses, this guide is for you. 

Let's take a closer look at how glasses and oxygen work with hearing aids and what can be done to make them more comfortable.

Glasses, hearing aids, and oxygen compete for the same space behind the ears. 

The Vision Council estimates that about 75% of adult Americans use vision correction of some kind. Most choose eyeglasses for their vision correction option, with a smaller percentage choosing contact lenses. 

In the United States, there are approximately 1.5 million Americans who make use of supplemental oxygen.

Now add hearing aids to the mix, and you've got a lot of hardware in one place. 

The Good News: Behind-the-ear styles of hearing aids work for most people who also wear oxygen and glasses. 

The real estate behind the ear and in front of the mastoid bone is crucial if you wear glasses or oxygen. 

Does your ear stick out from the side of your head? Or does it rest more closely against the head? With more open space behind the ear, it will be easier to manage with a BTE or RIC hearing aid, glasses, or cannula.

The good news is that most people, even those with glasses or oxygen, can adjust to hearing aids and find that they benefit speech understanding and communication. 

If you're wearing glasses or a cannula in addition to your hearing aids, it will take some time to feel comfortable inserting the hearing aids and adjusting how they sound. The most important part here is to be patient with yourself.

Tip: Put your behind-the-ear hearing aids on first and then put on your glasses or oxygen. Reverse the order when taking everything off at the end of the day. 

What if your hearing aids, glasses, and oxygen don't fit?

If behind-the-ear hearing aids do not fit or if you're especially sensitive to pressure on your ear area, wearing a behind-the-ear unit with glasses or oxygen may not be comfortable enough for daily use. 

In this case, custom in-the-ear hearing aids will offer the most comfortable fit. Most in-the-ear devices are custom-molded for your ears, providing a snug fit that will not compete with glasses behind the ear. 

The tradeoff is that custom hearing aids can create a plugged-up sound quality for those with normal low-frequency hearing.  

Read more about hearing aid styles here

Hearing Aid Loss Prevention

Even with a properly fitting device, it's still possible for your hearing aid to become dislodged while wearing glasses or oxygen tubes — particularly when engaging in physical activities like exercise or cleaning around the house. Several options can help with retention and prevent hearing aid loss.

  1. A customized earmold with a canal lock or sport lock if you wear a RIC hearing aid.
  2. Many companies offer clips and straps that attach directly to your device and clip onto your shirt or a piece of your glasses frames for added security. 

Reducing the Oxygen Noise From Your Hearing Aid 

Adjusting to the physical fit of the hearing aids is one thing, but oxygen wearers also need to adjust to the sound of oxygen flowing.  

It will take some adjusting, especially during the first few weeks of wearing hearing aids. Your hearing care professional can make additional adjustments to make the sound less obvious. However, you can expect that some degree of that sound will always be noticeable and not completely disappear. 

Final Thoughts

For most people, wearing hearing aids with oxygen or glasses is not an issue, thanks to today's slim designs; however, if you find yourself uncomfortable even after adjusting the fit, consider investing in a custom device for better results overall.  

Additionally, clips and straps can help keep your hearing aid secure no matter what activity you're doing – from everyday tasks like grocery shopping to more strenuous activities such as playing sports or exercising at the gym. 

Finding ways to use these accessories together safely will ensure that nothing stands between you and better hearing health.

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Frequently asked questions

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