Have you ever had trouble with your hearing aid? One common issue that some people experience is the dome of their hearing aid falling off and getting stuck inside their ear canal. This can be a frustrating and potentially dangerous situation.
Do you think a dome is in your ear? It’s important to seek professional help instead of trying to remove the dome on your own. Attempting to remove it yourself can lead to further complications, including pushing the dome further into your ear or damaging your ear canal.
Picture this Situation
You pull out your hearing aid at night and do not see the dome (earbud, ear tip, cap, or earpiece) on it. You naturally wonder if it is lost or perhaps still in your ear.
Having a dome in your ear can spike anxiety and cause panic but rest assured that the dome will not cause any damage to your ear canal or ear drum. It will likely just cause a bit of annoyance and inconvenience of driving to a medical provider to get it out. Let me answer some of the questions that may be running through your brain about having a dome in your ear.
Should You Attempt Removal
Have your spouse or family member look into your ear with a flashlight. If the dome is clearly visible within the first 5mm of the canal. They can probably use tweezers and easily pull it out. Only attempt if the dome is VERY SHALLOW.
Attempting to remove a stuck dome that is deep in your canal on your own can be dangerous and can lead to severe complications. One of the risks is pushing the dome further into the ear canal, making it harder to retrieve. Any scratch of the skin while attempting to remove can hurt. Additionally, if the dome is not properly removed, it can cause hearing loss or other complications.
Another important factor to consider is the need for visualization of the dome before attempting to remove it. A hearing healthcare professional has the necessary tools and expertise to visualize the dome and safely remove it. Attempting to remove it yourself may result in injury to the ear canal or eardrum.
Where to Seek Help
- Audiologist’s office (likely free of charge if you purchased there)
- Primary care provider or urgent care
One option is to visit your audiologist’s office. They have specialized tools and equipment that can remove the dome safely and effectively. Additionally, many audiologists offer free dome removal services as part of their aftercare program. If you purchased your hearing aids from an audiologist, it’s likely that you have access to this service.
Another option is to visit your primary care provider or urgent care. While they may not have specialized equipment, they can still help remove the dome.
Does the dome have to be removed immediately?
No, a dome in the ear canal does not need to be removed immediately as it is not going to cause any damage to the skin in your ear canal or the eardrum itself. However, I would recommend having the dome taken out of your ear as soon as possible or at least within a few days.
The longer the dome stays in your ear, the harder it can be to remove. Earwax can build up around the dome, making it more difficult to visualize and safely remove.
Does removing a dome hurt?
If you try removing the dome yourself, you are likely to accidentally push the dome deeper into your ear canal and possibly scratch the side of the ear canal wall. Unfortunately, the ear canal is full of very sensitive nerves that are not used to being touched and this may cause you pain. Generally, at an audiologist’s office, because they are used to doing this, it should not hurt to have a dome removed from your ear.
The audiologist usually has a microscope that they can use to get a great view down inside of your ear canal and then will use alligator forceps to grab the dome and pull it out. By doing it with the microscope they are very careful not to touch the canal wall and cause pain to you.
Can You Wear a Hearing Aid When a Dome Is Stuck in Your Ear Canal?
If you have a stuck dome in your ear canal, it can be tempting to continue using your hearing aid. However, doing so can be dangerous and lead to further complications. You can just use one hearing aid temporally for the ear that is not having the issue.
One of the risks of using a hearing aid when a dome is stuck is that it can cause the dome to become lodged even deeper in the ear canal. This can make it even more difficult to remove and can cause additional discomfort or pain.
How to Prevent a Dome from Falling Off in Your Ear
Preventing a dome from falling off and getting stuck in your ear canal can save you from the hassle and potential danger of attempting to remove it yourself. Here are some tips to help prevent a dome from falling off in your ear:
- Use the Correct Dome for Your Hearing Aid
Each hearing aid model has a specific size and shape of a dome that is compatible with it. Make sure you are using the correct size and shape of the dome for your hearing aid. Using the wrong size or shape of dome can cause it to fall off or become dislodged, potentially leading to it getting stuck in your ear canal.
- Proper Insertion and Handling of the Hearing Aid
Improper insertion or handling of your hearing aid can cause the dome to become dislodged or fall off. Make sure to follow the instructions provided by your audiologist for inserting and handling your hearing aid. Additionally, always clean your hearing aid and dome regularly to prevent earwax buildup or dirt that may cause the dome to fall off. Also, replace the dome when needed.
- Switch to an Earmold or ITE aid if the Dome Repeatedly Falls Off
If you find that the dome repeatedly falls off, it may be time to switch to an earmold. An earmold is a custom-fitted hearing aid that is designed to fit securely in your ear. Your audiologist can help you determine if an earmold is a better option for you.
While losing a dome and not knowing if it is inside of your ear can feel quite distressing, rest assured that there is a quick solution available that is generally pain-free and easy to fix. Please remember that I do not recommend attempting to remove the dome on your own.