What Style of Hearing Aid I Should Wear?

a hearing specialist showing her patient different sets of available hearing aids

Since their first appearance on the market at the beginning of the 20th century, hearing aids have been in continuous development. Today, these devices boast cutting-edge technologies, durable constructions and sleek designs. While there is a hearing aid model suitable for any lifestyle, it is essential to speak to your audiologist to understand which one is the best option for you. 

Generally, hearing aids fall within two categories

  • In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids sit in the outer bowl and are suitable for mild-to- severe hearing loss. They are versatile and discrete. 
  • Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids are devices that sit in a case located behind the heart and often boast a tiny tube that connects to the canal. These devices can prevent wax build-up, but they are more visible. 

All hearing aids are designed to carry sounds from the environment around you into the ear. They use a computer to adjust the sounds and make them clearer to your heart by reducing background noise, others’ voices and wind sound. 

Below, you can find out more about the different types of hearing aids. If you have any doubt, your audiologist will be able to review your lifestyle and needs and recommend the best model.  

Completely-in-canal (CIC) hearing aids

CIC hearing aids are among the smallest and most discreet hearing aids, and they entirely fit in your ear canal. Since they can be inserted deeply into the ear, they are virtually visible and suitable for anybody with mild-to-moderate hearing loss. These are also among the most advanced hearing aids, and all their functions are automated.

Some factors to keep in mind include:

  • They are small devices, not suitable for those who have dexterity issues. 
  • The batteries, which are smaller than the ones of other devices, might not last as long. 
  • Most functions are automated, but you won’t find volume controls or other buttons. 

In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aid 

ITC hearing aids also fit entirely in the ear, which makes them another discrete option. When in position, they should fit snugly in the lower half of the outer ear bowl. This makes them easy to position, use and remove. Thanks to their slightly larger size, their batteries last longer – which makes them suitable for individuals with moderate-to-severe hearing loss. 

Additionally, their larger case allows them to offer additional functionalities such as volume controls or wheels and directional microphones. 

In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aid

ITE hearing aids are a category of hearing aid models designed to be discrete and suitable for any hearing loss. There are two main kinds of ITE hearing aids: the ones that fill the entire ear bowl and the ones that sit on the lower part of the outer ear. 

These models – which are referred to as full-shell and half-shell, are larger than in-the-canal models, but they have a variety of functionalities and controls that make them one of the most popular options. 

With ITE hearing aids, you can enjoy:

  • Volume controls
  • Directional microphones
  • Longer battery life
  • Rechargeable batteries
  • Functionalities to reduce background noise.

Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid

Behind-the-ear hearing aids are a great alternative to ITE devices if you are experiencing mild to severe hearing loss. They rest behind the ear, and they are completed with a hook that connects the device to a custom-made earpiece positioned in the ear canal. 

These devices might be less discrete than ITE devices, but they have some benefits that might make them preferable over other models. 

Some advantages of BTEs include:

  • Mini versions are becoming more available.
  • They boast directional microphones.
  • It has greater amplification capabilities than smaller devices.
  • Offer long-lasting or rechargeable batteries.

Hearing aid features

In addition to selecting the right hearing aid for your hearing loss, lifestyle, aesthetic and budget needs, you’ll want to consider what features will improve your experience. Whether you’re looking to connect to the other devices in your home or simply want to reduce background noise, you can have your hearing aid equipped with:

  • Bluetooth
  • Directional microphones
  • Background noise reduction
  • Multisettings
  • Remote controls

Discover the best hearing aid for you at Pacific Audiology Clinic 

Visit us at Pacific Audiology Clinic or get in touch at 503-719-4208 to find out more about the different hearing aids and devices available and consult an expert audiologist to find the best solution for your needs.