Hearing aids come in a wide range of styles. When choosing a hearing aid, you’ll have to take into consideration many factors – your type of hearing loss, lifestyle, cosmetic preference and budget. Regardless of the style you choose, all hearing aids work by amplifying sounds, improving the ability of those with hearing loss to communicate.
Understanding the different hearing aid styles can help you narrow down your choices.
In The Canal Styles
In The Canal (ITC) hearing aids contain a tiny plastic casing that houses the electronic components. This is worn inside the ear canal, and can be removed with a thin cord. Because they are extremely small features are limited and battery life is shorter, but those who wish to conceal their hearing loss will find these appealing as they are virtually invisible. ITC hearing aids are best for those with mild to moderate hearing loss.
This category includes, from smallest to largest, the following:
- IIC (Invisible In the Canal) hearing aids.
- CIC (Completely In the Canal) hearing aids.
- ITC (In the Canal) hearing aids.
In The Ear Styles
In The Ear (ITE) hearing aids are worn in the concha, or bowl-shaped portion, of the ear and partially extend into the ear canal. The electronics are housed in a plastic shell, with external controls for easier adjustments. While they are larger and more visible than ITC instruments, they usually come with more features and boast a longer battery life. ITE hearing aids are best for those with mild to severe hearing loss.
The two types in this category are:
- ITE (In The Ear) hearing aids.
- RITE (Receiver In The Ear) hearing aids. This style consists of a casing worn behind the ear, with a separate receiver in the concha of the ear.
Behind The Ear Styles
Behind The Ear (BTE) hearing aids transmit sounds from a housing worn behind the ear to an earmold in the ear canal. This style is larger and more visible than other types, but very popular with hearing impaired individuals of all ages thanks to its ease of use, convenience and extended battery life. BTE hearing aids are appropriate for all types of hearing loss, and are especially popular with children and those with manual dexterity issues.
There are two types available:
- BTE (Behind The Ear) hearing aids.
- Open Fit hearing aids. This is a smaller version that lacks an earmold, leaving the ear canal “open” so sound can enter unimpeded. This produces a more natural sound and limits the “occlusion effect.” Patients with hearing loss in the higher frequencies will find this type especially beneficial.