Before you buy your first or next pair of hearing aids, make sure you're aware of what different styles of hearing aids are on the market. Hearing loss is specific to each individual, so the options that work for one person may not work for another. It's not just a matter of finding the features you need, but also knowing what styles are compatible with your hearing loss and which ones you'll be most comfortable using.
There are many different styles and features of hearing aids, but the first step in deciding where to go with those options is to determine which hearing aid would best suit your hearing loss needs. Below is a review of different hearing aid styles that are available and the level of hearing loss they can be used to treat.
1. Behind-the-ear (BTE) is a type of hearing aid that rests, almost like your glasses would sit, behind the ears. Because they are not limited by the space inside the ear, they can accommodate a larger, more powerful battery and amplifier. Sound travels from the outer shell of this device through a tube that inserts fully into the ear canal. The BTE hearing aids can be used by anyone with mild to profound hearing loss. In the pat this type of hearing aid was considered big and bulky, but today's advanced designs have made this type of hearing aid both comfortable and discreet.
2. Receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) is a type of hearing aid best used by someone with mild or moderate hearing loss. RITE hearing aids rest upon the ear in a manner similar to BTE, but instead of fully occupying the ear canal, the RITE leaves room in the canal, giving an “open ear” feeling to the hearing aid. The RITE uses a clear, nearly invisible tube that extends from the outer shell to the ear canal to deliver optimal sound quality. This type of hearing aid can be considered optimal for someone who would not be comfortable with the fuller feeling of a BTE hearing aid, but still wants the larger battery and extra features available in an over the ear model.
3. In-the-ear (ITE) types of hearing aid occupy the ear canal and can be used by those with mild to severe hearing loss. These types of hearing aids are typically able to accommodate a fairly large battery and amplifier. Because of their moderate size, ITE hearing aids can be fitted with numerous features, are easily to handle by the typical user, and come with volume control. As with other hearing aids that fit inside the ear, ITE is made to be compatible with an optional remote control. These hearing aids are for people who are comfortable handling smaller devices and who do not mind the feeling of having a hearing aid inside their ear canal.
4. Completely-in-the-ear (CITE--pictured on left) this type of hearing aid is hidden within the ear canal, and are thus invisible to the eye. They are made to personally fit the individual’s ear canal, so that they provide maximum comfort once inserted by an audiologist. For the typical user, these hearing aids require an in-office visit for technical adjustments or removal. CITE hearing aids are a good option for people who are most self-conscious about having their hearing aids spotted. Both the CITE and the ITC (#5) are for use by those with mild to moderately severe hearing loss. If you are comfortable relying on your doctor to adjust and insert this type of hearing aid and want to avoid the feeling of having your ear canal blocked, this might be the type of hearing aid for you.
5. In-the-canal (ITC--pictured on right) type of hearing aid allow more control than CITE, because though they sit within the ear canal, they can be removed, handled, and adjusted by a typical user. It should be noted, however, that both types of hearing aids can be paired with a remote control, giving the user the ability to moderate volume without having to fumble within the ear.
Now that you have reviewed the different styles of hearing aids available, why not make an appointment with your hearing health professional to get a free demonstration of the technology? Having problems finding a provider in your area? We can help! Just click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!