What are Hearing Aid Domes and What are the Different Types?

While different styles of hearing aids are only about the size of your palm, each device consists of numerous small parts that work together to help you hear better.

A hearing aid dome is the physical part of a hearing aid that sits inside your ear. Here’s what you need to know about the different types of domes.

If you choose a Receiver-in-Canal (RIC) or Receiver-in-the-Ear (RITE), you'll probably use a hearing aid dome. Choosing the right dome is essential to your hearing aid's functionality and fit, so here are a few tips on choosing the right size and style.


What Are Hearing Aid Domes?

The dome is a small piece of pliable plastic shaped like a cone. It is attached to the end of the hearing aid's tube and sits inside the ear canal, feeding the sound the hearing aid picks up. Its purpose is to block out background noises and amplify more important sounds. Hearing aid domes are usually used for people with more severe hearing loss.

Hearing aid domes also significantly impact the sound quality, and each dome style is slightly different. The dome size is also important in making sure that it’s comfortable to wear for the user. Your hearing aid specialist will guide you through choosing the correct style.


Open Hearing Aid Dome

The open hearing aid dome is ideal for people that have moderate hearing loss. This allows some background noise (any sound not picked up by the hearing aid) to pass through, reducing the occlusion effect.

The occlusion effect is when the user hears their own voice become boomy because the dome blocks the ear canal. If you put your fingers in your ear and speak, you'll experience occlusion. Studies have confirmed that open hearing aid domes effectively reduce occlusion because they allow air to pass through.

This kind of dome is ideal for listening to company presentations or conversations that have very few frequency changes as it provides a more natural sound.


Closed Hearing Aid Dome

A closed hearing aid dome can help those with severe hearing loss as it aggressively blocks out background noise and increases sound levels. It's particularly useful for increasing low frequencies by up to 20 dB.

While there is more occlusion in the closed dome than the open dome, there are still vents which help reduce some occlusion.

If you attend a musical concert or any other event with various high and low frequencies, the closed dome is ideal.


Power Hearing Aid Dome

The power hearing aid dome is the strongest type of dome available. It is similar to the closed hearing aid dome in that it fully blocks the ear canal, though unlike the closed dome, there are no vents. This makes it both the most powerful and the most occlusive kind of hearing aid dome.

How Should a Hearing Aid Dome Fit?

Choosing the correct hearing aid dome size is important as this piece will sit inside your ear and impact your comfort. One study found that about 35 percent of people still struggle with hearing aid fitting, so choosing the correct hearing aid dome style and size is essential.

A comfortable and effective hearing aid dome should be just a little bigger than your ear canal's diameter to fit snugly. Domes are made of a pliable plastic that will mold to your ear, though if it's significantly larger than your ear canal's diameter, it can cause pain.

If your hearing aid dome is too small, you may hear whistling in your ear.

Your audiologist will advise you on choosing an appropriate hearing aid dome size and style.


Unless you’re experiencing severe hearing loss, you probably don’t need a hearing aid dome. However, if you do require a hearing aid dome, talk to your doctor about which style is right for you and speak up if the fit is uncomfortable. You can also check out different Phonak hearing domes and Unitron hearing domes that are currently available.