Updated: January 18, 2017
One question I get a lot from people who are getting hearing aids for the first time is “Can I wear headphones to listen to music while wearing my hearing aids?”
There’s really two (2) parts to this question:
- Can you physically wear headphones with hearing aids?
- Will headphones make my hearing loss worse?
The answer is: it depends on your hearing aid AND it depends on your headphones.
Below you will find the three main types of headphones that work well with hearing aids, along with a chart that includes our top picks.
Bone Conduction Headphones
Best for: in-the-ear (ITE), in-the-canal (ITC), completely-in-canal (CIC), invisible-in-the-canal (IIC)
Top 10 Bone Conduction Headphones for Hearing Aids
Additional tips: If you’re interested in bone conduction headphones make sure to read our detailed guide that includes frequently asked questions and more in depth reviews.
Best for: completely-in-canal (CIC), invisible-in-the-canal (IIC)
*Can also be used for: in-the-ear (ITE), in-the-canal (ITC), behind-the-ear (BTE), receiver-in-canal (RIC)
(*Feedback is more likely to occur with these types of hearing aids)
Top 10 On-ear Headphones for Hearing Aids
|Everyday Hearing Rank||Picture||Name||Type||Price|
|2||AmazonBasics Lightweight On-Ear Headphones||Wired||$$|
|3||Panasonic RP-HT21 Lightweight Headphones||Wired||$|
|4||Koss KTXPRO1 Titanium Portable Headphones||Wired||$$|
|5||Sony MDRZX100 ZX Series Stereo Headphones||Wired||$$|
|6||Skullcandy Uproar Wireless On-Ear Bluetooth Headphone||Wireless||$$$|
|7||Sennheiser PX 100-II On Ear Miniheadphone||Wired||$$$|
|8||SOL REPUBLIC Tracks HD On-Ear Headphones||Wired||$$$|
|9||Sennheiser RS120 On-Ear Wireless RF Headphones||Wireless||$$$|
|10||Bose SoundTrue Headphones On-Ear Style||Wired||$$$|
You may notice we did not include a lot of wireless on-ear headphones. That was mainly because the price tends to increase quite a bit (not always, but usually). However, if you are sure you only want wireless you can check here for a larger selection.
Additional tips: For ITE hearing aids you may also be able to wear the circum-aural headphones (or headphones that rest completely cover them unlike supra-aural headphones). With ITE hearing aids of all sizes (ITC, CIC), the round opening in the center of the headphones sits right over the hearing aid, allowing the hearing aid to pick up the music through the microphone.
For IIC or extended wear hearing aids (such as the Lyric) it is easier to wear headphones with your hearing aids because the hearing aid is seated deep in the ear canal. You can easily wear on-the-ear headphones with these hearing aids.
We just talked about “on-ear headphones,” and now we’re talking about “over-ear headphones.” They may sound the same, and many people may even use them interchangeably, but trust us, they are completely different.
For a better understanding, check out the image below which differentiates between the two types.
Best for: in-the-ear (ITE), in-the-canal (ITC), behind-the-ear (BTE), receiver-in-canal (RIC)
Can also be used for: completely-in-canal (CIC), invisible-in-the-canal (IIC)
Top 10 Over-ear Headphones for Hearing Aids
|Everyday Hearing Rank||Picture||Name||Type||Price|
|1||Sennheiser HD 202 II Professional Headphones||Wired||$|
|2||JVC HARX500 Full-Size Headphones||Wired||$|
|3||Bluedio T2s Wireless Stereo Headphones||Wireless||$|
|4||Photive BTH3 Over-The-Ear Wireless Bluetooth Headphones||Wireless||$|
|5||Sony MDRRF985RK Wireless RF Headphone||Wireless||$$$|
|6||V-MODA Crossfade LP Over-the-Ear Headphones||Wired||$$$|
|7||Sennheiser HD 280 Pro Headphones||Wired||$$$|
|8||Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7B QuietPoint Active Noise-Cancelling Closed-Back Headphones||Wired||$$$|
|9||Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones||Wireless||$$$$$|
|10||Beats Studio Wireless Over-Ear Headphone||Wireless||$$$$$|
Additional Tips: For BTE hearing aids and RIC or RITE hearing aids, it is unlikely that you can wear headphones with your hearing aids unless you carefully position very large over-the-ear headphones like these over your hearing aid. (Note: these over-the-ear headphones are sometimes also referred to as “circumaural headphones”)
The headphones have to completely cover the ear, including the top of the ear where the hearing aid sits.
The positioning of the headphones may be a little different, with the center of the headphone opening up over the top of the hearing aid. This will allow for the hearing aid wearer to pick up the music through the microphone of the hearing aid.
What about earbuds?
I hate to say this, but it’s not likely that any style of earbuds are going to work with hearing aids. The issue is quite simply that the hearing aid already sits in your ear or ear canal, so putting another device in there just isn’t going to work.
(Note: also read our thoughts below about using your hearing aids as earbuds)
We’ve officially covered the most common types of hearing aids and which type of headphones works best with them. So, now let’s move onto question number two from above.
A few more things you should know about wearing headphones with hearing aids.
A lot of people are going to tell you that you shouldn’t wear headphones because they are a primary cause for hearing loss, especially in younger generations. Unfortunately this is only partially true.
Yes, headphones can cause hearing loss. No, they don’t have to…if you use them properly.
- If wearing your hearing aids with headphones, be careful to turn the music down, as the music will be amplified.
- If the headphones push on the hearing aid or sit too closely to the hearing aid, you may experience feedback, a whistling noise coming from the hearing aid. This is an indicator that you either need to re-position the headphones or are unable to wear those headphones with your hearing aids.
- Noise cancelling or noise isolating headphones should be your primary choice. The biggest problem with headphones is that people turn the volume up a lot higher than it needs to be primarily because of background noise (i.e. people talking on the bus, loud co-workers, etc.). Noise isolating and noise cancelling headphones help to remove the background noise so you don’t crank up the volume to dangerous levels. Regardless, you should always use a simple sound volume meter app that tells you exactly how loud your music really is. You should aim to be lower than 85 dB if you are listening to music for an extended period of time.
A Better Option for Listening to Music with Your Hearing Aids
With the improvement in hearing aid and wireless technology, hearing aids can now BECOME your headphones. There is no longer a need to figure out how to wear headphones over your hearing aids, or take your hearing aids out completely to listen to music with headphones.
With wireless hearing aids, you can connect your Bluetooth iPod or iPhone directly to your hearing aid with no wires! This lets you listen to music through your hearing aids, just as if they were headphones themselves. And the best part is, you’re already wearing your hearing aids so all you have to do is push play! Read about some of the recently released “Made for iPhone” hearing aids in this article.