Posted on Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What Kind of Hearing Aid is Right for You?

Most people are familiar with the styles and options for glasses, contacts, and even LASIK surgery, but the choices available for hearing aids aren't as widely known. Since treating hearing loss sooner rather than later is shown to improve mental and physical health as we age, it's important to know what kinds of hearing aids are best suited for your needs. Second Sense Hearing Solutions has examined and identified the following top five options available in hearing aids: in-the-ear, behind-the-ear, receiver-in-the-ear, completely-in-the-ear-canal and in-the-ear-canal hearing aids.


1. Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids rest, 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.

2. Receiver-in-the-ear hearing aids (RITE) are 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.

3. In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids occupy the ear canal and are for use by those with mild to severe hearing loss. They are typically able to accommodate a 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.

4. Completely-in-the-ear (CITE--pictured on left) hearing aids are 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.

5. In-the-canal hearing aids (ITC--pictured on right) 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.

Further Reading

How do Hearing Aids Work?

Hearing Loss Treatment

If you'd like to learn more, see your hearing health provider. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!

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