Can Glasses Be Worn 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.

How to wear hearing aids with glasses

Why should I be worried?

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.

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 Lambden

Duncan Lambden

Writer

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.

Comments

  1. Kate Conn says:

    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.

    1. Suraj says:

      Is CROSS option is also there with glasses

  2. Morry Korman says:

    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.

    1. Clear Living says:

      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.

    2. Observer360 says:

      Yes, hearing aid spectacles are available. Do a search on that term. Opticians know about them. Example: Varibel, from Holland.

  3. Hans says:

    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.

  4. Gordon McCauley says:

    I am aged beyond vanity, so I am considering athletic type glasses with straps that avoid the ears altogether. Is this practical?

    1. Clear Living says:

      Sure. They likely wouldn’t come in contact with your hearing aids or have any negative effect.

  5. Steve Kramer says:

    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.

  6. David Lynch says:

    I was able to use Clic reading glasses easily.

    They have a strap well behind the head, so they can hang until you need them.
    They have magnets at the nose….they come apart there.

    I had no issues using Clic reading glasses and hearing aids. I do have issues when I wear prescription glasses with a glasses strap. I drive a lot, and need to take off my prescription glasses and wear sunglasses

    1. Clear Living says:

      Thank you for the input! We will look into the Clic glasses!

  7. Raymond Osborne says:

    Completely agree with all of the above. Hearing aids and glasses do not work. I wear vari focals and if they don’t take preference, they don’t sit right and you have blurred vision. Don’t bother wearing H A’s just too uncomfortable with glasses, also they amplify ALL noise so, if like me, hearing speak is a problem because of other noises, then you end up with everything louder but still can’t hear speech.

    1. Clear Living says:

      This is not true in most cases. You should work with an audiologist and an optician for the best fit of both your hearing aids and glasses. Also, today’s hearing aids do a good job at reducing background noise more than speech, especially if you invest in a high-quality hearing aids.

      1. Barbara says:

        I have $4000 rechargeable Unitrons and I can’t stand to wear them in a restaurant or anywhere there is a crowd, glasses or no glasses. The noise is deafening and I can’t hear the people I’m with, so I just don’t often agree to go out anymore. I just got glasses and with my hearing aids sitting outside them, they hurt my ears terribly. I will see my optician again today for some adjustment, but I really doubt I’ll wear both glasses and hearing aids at the same time. I’m recently blind in one eye and 20/400 in the other eye from AMD hemorrhages, so I have to have the glasses, therefore its the hearing aids that will go. It makes me sick to have spent so much to have to shelve them.

        1. Clear Living says:

          Hopefully your optician will be able to adjust the glasses so you can wear both, or you could consider getting a pair of glasses with a slimmer arm so there isn’t a lot of pressure on the ear.

    2. Keith says:

      That is so true. I cannot find a frame that allows varifocals to work with a BTE aid and avoid the eye strain/dizziness.

  8. Ju says:

    Not surprisingly my face and head isn’t exactly symmetrical and in my case my glasses don’t sit on my nose straight so glasses arm on one side sits significantly above ear and rests on top of h.aid at an angle and gradually pushes h.aid out of ear over few mins. If I readjust my glasses the glasses arm just raises the other side! Extremely annoying and don’t know what to do. If I readjust my glasses as you do when you wear them all day, everyday often dislodges aids – interrupts what I’m doing or I miss key info to fix all back into place. I now prefer to not wear my aids and lip read.

    1. Clear Living says:

      Hi Ju,
      It may be worth visiting an optical center while wearing your hearing aids to see if they have any recommendations and/or adjustments that can be made.

  9. Dolores says:

    I not only wear glasses and have hearing aid but I need oxygen 24/7. I also like wearing clip ear rings when possible. Believe iit or not all of these things are doable. For me the key factor was the Audioligist. It took multiple visits to get the perfect fit. My hearing aid fits in the ear and the battery BTEis on the outside.

    The only thing I would like is to be able to take a shower with them in.

    1. Clear Living says:

      Thanks for the feedback Dolores. We agree, an audiologist can make a big difference when it comes to getting the proper fit.

    2. Mike says:

      I’m ah 80 year-old guy who wears glasses, BTE hearing aids, and now, an oxygen cannula. So I sympathize. I’m surprised there aren’t more of us with so many of us living longer now. But that’s a lot of stuff to pack behind your ears. I have seen some ads for eye glass frames with an oxygen cannula that would help some, but it seems as if you have to order your glasses from that supplier. I will explore further with my audiologist and with my optician. I have tried taping the cannula to the eyegoass temples and that helps, We’ll see.

  10. gfmucci says:

    I would think that straight earpiece frames like those shown here would work fine…
    https://www.frameboutique.com/display-product.asp

  11. John mccann says:

    Is there a frame to use for people constantly put glasses on and off? All frames I have tried are most annoying. And in many cases the aid is pulled from the ear. can you help me.

    1. Lindsey Banks, Au.D. says:

      Hi John,
      Usually the thinner the frame the better but there is no one frame that I know of that works for everyone.

  12. Mike Shearer says:

    Not entirely true!! glasses can too easily dislodge hearing aids from behind the ear, and then you are dependent on the rest of the device holding the aid until you become aware that it is loose. It’s even worse if (like me) you have a beard in which the aid can be caught until it falls off.
    I have had this problem to such an extent that I wear aids only when I know I am going to be in circumstances, like at a meeting, where I really must be able to hear other people. Which defeats the purpose of having them. But there seems to be no solution. I’ve explored double-sided stick tape that will stick to skin (nothing found) or whatever it is that holds wigs on bald heads. Again, nothing found.
    I feel quite strongly that a device that depends on gravity and very limited friction to stay in place is poor design.

    1. Carole says:

      I have had this problem and am very unhappy about it. At 82, I need my hearing aids and my glasses, but both contribute to pain and discomfort on top of or behind my ear. I am searching for some kind of foam or coating to apply to the underside of the plastic wire that runs from my hearing aid, and same for the new glasses frames that are thinner than the old ones, but are cutting me more as they are metal. My audiologist says I must wear my hearing aids daily or my brain will not adjust to them…but I find it so irritating and painful to wear them more than a couple or three hours. When I am alone she says wear them but I simply cannot …perhaps it is because I have fibromyalgia, that they pain me so.

      1. Drea says:

        I do have that problem too. I try to wear both my hearing aids and glasses but both at the same time hurt my ears. I’m just trying to find a more comfortable way to wear both

    2. Ju says:

      Exactly the same problem Mike – only wear aids when necessary & then often give up as my aid has fallen out. Family get fed up repeating themselves to me. And I’ve not even reached 50yrs yet.
      My hearing aid amplifies my glasses rubbing if glasses on top of aid and if over glasses amplifies my shoulder length hair moving esp. moving head – sounds like a crisp packet russling in my ear so I’m distracted from what I’m supposed to be listening to. Also after realised my face isn’t exactly symmetrical and my glasses don’t sit on both ears the same so one side always pushes off my h.aid. Wearing glasses since I was 3yrs, a breeze compared to h.aid.

      1. Nigel says:

        I have just looked up about this potential problem as I’m having BTE hearing Aids very soon and I only need glasses to read with. A little while ago I tried simple on the nose glasses to read with. Nooz is one company and Thin optics is another worth checking out. The reading strength goes up to 2.5. Great for out and about.

        1. Bek says:

          I find if you get the arms straightened out the glasses don’t clash with the aide and are easier to wear. My glasses used to wrap around my ears, but now they are almost straight and the rubbing is less prominent. I had my optometrist straighten out the arms and make them tighter on my head.

          1. H says:

            Go with Oakley straight temple glasses . They hang on to your head and work very well I wear Oakley “half shock” some styles hang on better than others so start out with the half shock and try several different styles until you are happy.

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