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Understanding 3 Common Hearing Aid Styles

an audiologist showing her patient new in-the-canal hearing aids

If you’re experiencing hearing loss, wearing hearing aids can be a fantastic way to enhance your listening experience. However, it’s important to ensure you get the best hearing device for your needs. With so many different styles available, it’s easy to get swept up by the range of options on offer. To make things easier, look at these three common hearing aid styles and find out how they can enhance your hearing function:

Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids

This style of hearing aid hooks over your ear and sits just behind it, with a custom earpiece sitting in the ear canal. A major benefit of BTE hearing aids is that they can be used by people of all ages and are suitable for virtually all types of hearing loss.

Although BTE hearing aids were traditionally quite large, many newer designs are far smaller. If you’re self-conscious about wearing hearing aids, this doesn’t mean that a behind the ear hearing device isn’t right for you. With newer, streamlined devices barely being visible, a BTE hearing aid need not be conspicuous.

When it comes to functionality, BTE hearing aids are generally capable of more amplification than many other styles. This means that they’re ideal for people with moderate, severe or profound hearing loss. However, the placement of a BTE hearing aid may mean that it’s more prone to picking up wind noise than other styles, so you may want to consider a device with a wind noise reduction feature to combat this.

In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids

Sometimes referred to as full shell hearing aids, in the ear models are designed to fit snugly within the outer portion of your ear. The entire device sits in a single casing, so you’ll simply need to place the hearing aid in your ear to begin using it. As in the ear hearing aids are custom made to fit your ear perfectly, they’re extremely comfortable to wear.

In the ear hearing aids tend to be the largest custom hearing devices on the market. While this may put some people off, their larger size can have some advantages. For example, many ITE hearing aids have controls on the device itself, which can be useful if you don’t want to adjust your hearing aids remotely. In addition, the increased size means that ITE are generally capable of offering more amplification than other custom devices.

As ITE hearing aids completely fill the outer portion of the ear, they can make sounds, like chewing your food, seem excessively loud. Known as occlusion, some people find this irritating but there are ways to avoid it. Choosing an ITE device that features a small vent to prevent occlusion can be a great option.

In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aid

As the name suggests, an ITC hearing aid sits within the ear canal itself. This allows noise to be collected and funneled naturally by the outer ear, before being processed and amplified. This often equates to enhanced directionality detection and creates a more natural sound.

ITC hearing aids sit completely within the ear canal, which means it’s virtually invisible. In fact, no-one is likely to see an ITC hearing aid unless they’re looking directly in your ear! For people who want an inconspicuous or invisible hearing aid, an ITC hearing device is your top choice.
Furthermore, in-the-canal hearing aids are exceptionally comfortable, as they’re custom made to fit your ear canal. Due to their placement, you’re unlikely to experience interference from wind noise too, which is another reason ITC hearing aid style are so popular.

However, the small size of ITC hearing devices does mean that battery power may be shorter when compared to other types of hearing aids. In addition to this, ITC hearing aids are usually too small to feature on-device controls, so you’ll need to adjust your hearing aid using a remote or app.  While ITC hearing aids do require a little more maintenance than other types of hearing devices, they can offer fantastic performance and their size and placement ensures complete discretion.

Finding the best hearing aid

With so many options to choose from, it can be tricky to decide which type of hearing aid to go for. When visiting your audiologist, you’ll be able to try out various different styles to help you decide which type of hearing aid provides the best fit. No matter what type of hearing device you choose, your audiologist will ensure it’s programmed to your needs and perfectly fitted to your ears.

To learn more, give Hear for You Hearing & Balance Center a call at (401) 312-7369 today!