Can Glasses Be Worn With Hearing Aids?

Woman wearing sunglasses with hearing aids

You wouldn’t be laughed out of the room for saying that the human head is quite an important system. It’s home to a lot of handy body parts – the brain, the mouth, the nose. But we all know the stars of the show are the eyes and ears.

If you disagree, then answer this: what other parts of the human body do we scientifically augment? Glasses and hearing aids are two medical engineering feats that have had an enormous impact on everyday life.

But of course, nothing is ever easy, and the layout of the all-important human head means that these often-essential augmentations can get in the way of one another. Or does it?

Let’s look at the best way to wear hearing aids alongside glasses.

Maybe you’re not a glasses wearer, but you’ve got your hands on some fresh new hearing aids and are reading up on all sorts of topics. It would be pertinent to remind you, then, that glasses aren’t just for the visually impaired.

If you’ve got hearing aids, wouldn’t it be unfortunate to be wearing them on a sunny day and then realise they interfere with any prospective sunglasses you wanted to wear? So keep that in mind if you’re thinking this article isn’t for you!

Can you wear glasses with hearing aids?

The question of the day – how compatible are glasses and hearing aids? Well, firstly, hearing aids come in loads of shapes and sizes – some being so small that they fit inside the ear entirely!

Obviously glasses can be worn alongside these models, meaning that ITC, IIC, and ITE hearing aids are in the clear to be worn with whatever you want. The real question is whether glasses can be worn with exterior hearing aids, like BTE or RITE hearing aid models.

These kinds of hearing aids hang over the top of the ear – right where the frame of the glasses rests. You can see how this might cause a bit of jostling over real estate, as both need that ever-crucial spot above the ear.

Well, we've got good news for you – glasses and hearing aids can work together to achieve their independent goals. A bit like those little birds that pick the food out of crocodiles' teeth.

Glasses can rest comfortably on top of the hearing aid, or the hearing aid can go over the glasses. The worst side effect that can possibly happen is a muffled thumping as you’re putting on your glasses, caused by them brushing up against the microphone of the hearing aid.

Some Exceptions

Of course, this confirmation works on the assumption that all humans are built with the same mold. But we know this isn’t true – and so here are a few reasons why your glasses won't always be compatible with your hearing aids:

  1. Your ear is extremely small, and the pinna (top outer portion of the ear) sits very close to the head. It is rare for an ear to be too small to hold both a hearing aid and glasses, even with children. Your hearing healthcare professional will be able to tell you whether the size of the ear will not hold both the hearing aid and the glasses
  2. You are constantly taking your glasses on and off. Glasses can still be worn with the BTE hearing aids in this case, but it is more likely that the hearing aids will feel “in the way”
  3. Your glasses earpiece is very thick, or you wear large eyewear retainers (croakies) with your glasses. This may cause there to be too much behind the ear, depending on the size of the hearing aid. If you also have a larger behind-the-ear hearing aid with the thick glasses earpiece, it may be bulky

Glasses with built-in hearing aids

But we live in the year 2020! Surely we’ve concocted a device that makes this question not even worth asking. Why, with just some sellotape and elbow grease, surely you could make your own hearing aid-glasses combination – so what’s stopping the pros from making a bona fide fusion of the two?

Well, nothing! Just like every invention you think of in the shower, it’s been done before. Known as “spectacle hearing aids,” these nifty polymerizations of sight and sound have hearing aids affixed to the ends of the frame, meaning you can comfortably use your hearing aids and glasses in tandem.

This can obviously come with its own disadvantages – obviously you can’t remove one without the other, so these aren’t intended to be used like reading glasses. And say if the lens of the glasses were to break, you’d need to leave them on and look through shattered glass if you wanted to maintain your hearing.

Overall though, these can be a nice way of combining two accessories and making things a bit simpler!

Next steps

If there is still a concern about whether you are able to wear glasses with behind-the-ear hearing aids, bring your glasses to your appointment. What appointment? Why, the one you book through us, of course!

By filling out this form, you can arrange a free consultation with a hearing healthcare specialist. You can get your hearing tested, have an appropriate hearing aid fitted, and ask all the questions you could ever want to ask.

Duncan is an Australian-born American-raised creative writer with a passion for healthy ears. He continues to build upon his audiology qualifications with research and various courses. Duncan has been working alongside Florida-based audiologist Lindsey Banks, Au.D., to make sure that Clear Living has the most up-to-date content.

Lindsey Banks is a graduate of the Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) program at the University of Florida. She uses her diverse experience in hearing healthcare and her passion for helping people to provide credible information to those with hearing loss who visit Clear Living.

31 Comments
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  • Kate Conn
    Thank you for all of these replies! I recently test drove a pair of Hearing Aids and couldn't stand them after 4 hours. Pinched my ears! Finally figured out that it was the combo of glasses and HA. My audiologist didn't seem to understand and only offered a smaller HA. It isn't the HA, its the wire sitting under my glasses. I will check out all options I've read about here.
    • Suraj
      Is CROSS option is also there with glasses
  • Morry Korman
    My father wore hearing aids (professional quality) that were built-into his prescription glasses for many years. This was a long time ago -- about late 1970's. To the best of my recollection they worked well and he had no problems with them. Many people had them in that era. Today apparently they are out-moded and seem not to be made anymore. I wish hearing aid manufactures would start making this type of prescription eye-glasses with built-in proffesional quality hearing aids again. I know I might be a customer for it as I wear hearing aids now.
    • Observer360
      Yes, hearing aid spectacles are available. Do a search on that term. Opticians know about them. Example: Varibel, from Holland.
    • Clear Living
      Yes, these types of devices were popular back then. Likely they are not as popular because eyeglass manufacturers and hearing aid manufacturers would have to improve their communication and collaboration with each other as their products are changing much more quickly.
  • Hans
    I wear a mini-BTE hearing aid (about an inch long) with my glasses that have metal temples without problems. I did bend the temple of the glasses a bit so that it fits snug against my ear leaving maximum room for the hearing aid. The hearing aid rests between the ear and the glasses temple. Others may want to see their optician to make the adjustment to their glasses if needed. Only when I push up my glasses, I hear the temple rub against the hearing aid for a second but other than that, absolutely no problem.
  • Gordon McCauley
    I am aged beyond vanity, so I am considering athletic type glasses with straps that avoid the ears altogether. Is this practical?
    • Clear Living
      Sure. They likely wouldn't come in contact with your hearing aids or have any negative effect.
  • Steve Kramer
    Try "bayonet" frames: they clamp to the head, instead of caress the ear to stay on. The military uses them also because you can put them on and off even when wearing a helmet.