Dear Anna, there are times where it seems like it would be best for me to wear my hearing aids while I am sleeping. For example, when traveling, or at sleepovers with friends. Is it safe for me to sleep with my Phonak hearing aids while they’re on? Will it affect my ears or break my hearing aids?
This is a question that comes up a lot in the clinic when someone is fitted with hearing aids. But why do people want to keep their hearing aids in overnight when they are sleeping?
These reasons are wide and varied for example; being anxious about not hearing children waking in the night, worrying about not hearing an alarm or it could be for tinnitus relief.
However, the answer that someone will receive from their Audiologist is that they should not sleep in their hearing aids. There are many reasons why this is the case.
A hearing aid that fits behind the ear has microphones that are positioned in the hearing aid housing behind the ear. When you sleep wearing the hearing aid, while it is switched on, every-time the microphones get covered with a pillow or mattress there is the potential to create feedback/ whistling from the hearing aids. This is not so great for sleep quality for you, or for the person you might share a bed with.
Another issue is comfort. Custom hearing aids and ear pieces are made out of a range of material; hard acrylic, silicon or even titanium so when you lay on your ear for more than a short amount of time this will not be very comfortable and the material may press into the skin of the ear causing pressure points.
We also see that on average hearing aids are worn for over eight hours per day and these materials are not breathable so removing them at night when you go to sleep allows the skin to breathe and rest and for ear wax to gradually migrate out of the ear.
The only hearing aid that is worn for 24 hours per day and therefore at night is the Phonak Lyric™ hearing aid and this is only because it is designed to specifically address the reasons I have listed above. All of the Lyric electronics are contained inside a tiny capsule and this is surrounded by a soft specially formulated breathable biocompatible foam. It is positioned in the ear canal so that it is unaffected by feedback or head position.
So for a peaceful, comfortable night’s sleep and to keep your ears happy and healthy, I would recommend removing the hearing aids before you go to bed at night.
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