If you have hearing loss that can be helped by hearing aids, one of the biggest decisions you’ll face is choosing a style.
Digital technology has revolutionized the industry: hearing aids today are much smaller and sleeker than past instruments, and are available in a range of styles to fit your individual needs, cosmetic preferences and budget.
You’ll be able to choose from the following types of hearing aids, depending on your degree of hearing loss and other factors.
In-The-Ear Hearing Aids
In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids are worn in the outer portion of the ear. All electronic components are housed in a molded plastic case, with the volume control located on the exterior of the device for convenience. ITE hearing aids are visible to others, but include features smaller in-the-canal devices lack, and have a longer battery life. An alternate version, the Receiver-in-the-Ear (RITE) style, places the electronics in a casing that fits behind the ear, with a separate receiver inside the ear. They are made for mild to severe cases of hearing loss.
In-The-Canal Hearing Aids
In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids are worn inside the ear canal, making them virtually invisible to other people. Their electronic components are housed inside a plastic casing, with a very thin cord attached to assist in removal. Their small size appeals to those seeking discretion, but translates to limited features and a shorter battery life. In addition to the ITC hearing aid, two other versions are available: Completely-in-the-Canal (CIC) and Invisible-in-the-Canal (IIC). All are used for mild to moderate hearing loss.
Behind-The-Ear Hearing Aids
Behind-the-Ear (BTE) hearing aids contain a plastic housing that hooks over the top of your ear and is worn behind it, and a plastic earmold that is placed in the outer portion of the ear. Sound is transmitted from the earmold into the ear. BTE hearing aids offer the most flexibility and are suitable for all types of hearing loss; their larger size and easily accessible controls make them especially popular with children and the elderly. They are available in an Open Fit style; these are smaller and do not include an earmold, which leaves the ear canal open and unobstructed. It is especially beneficial for patients with hearing loss in the high frequencies.