A hearing aid is a small electronic device that you put in or outside the ear. It’s a useful device for people who are suffering from hearing loss, enabling them to do normal activities and increase the quality of their life.
When choosing a hearing aid, there are several options to consider. Your choice will depend on the degree of hearing loss you have, your personal preferences, lifestyle, and cosmetic concerns.
There are two types of hearing aids: in-the-ear (ITE) and behind-the-ear (BTE). ITE hearing aids are placed inside the ear canal and are custom-fit. They can be worn deeply in the ear canal or near the outer ear. ITE hearing aids are available in different skin tones, so they blend with your skin colour, making them unnoticeable.
BTE hearing aids are placed on top or behind the outer ear. They have tubing that sends sound into the ear canal with the use of a custom-fit earmold. They come in different skin and hair colours to make them less noticeable, but they also come in flashy designs if you want to add your flair.
Common hearing aid styles
1. Invisible in the canal (IIC) and Completely in the canal (CIC)
IIC and CIC are the smallest and most discreet hearing aids available these days. They are placed deep in the ear canal, making them virtually invisible. Because they are well within the ear canal, the quality of sound is better. The downside, however, is that they are too small for added features such as connectivity to smartphones, volume wheels, and program buttons.
2. In the canal (ITC)
ITC hearing aids are comfortable and easy to wear, as are placed in the lower bowl of the ear. They are larger than the IIC and CIC and have longer battery life. They also have additional features, such as directional microphones and volume wheels. On the downside, wearers can feel a little plugged up.
3. Receiver in the ear (RITE)
Also known as the receiver in canal (RIC), RITE hearing aids are open fit, with a hearing speaker built into an insertable ear dome. The microphone and processing chip are in a case that sits behind the ear. They provide above-average sound quality and come in rechargeable battery options and wireless connectivity.
4. Behind the ear with an earmold
BTE hearing aids with earmolds are fit for all types of hearing loss situations and are packed with features. They have more controls, longer battery life, and wireless connectivity to devices. They can be reprogrammed as needed and is replaceable. On the downside, users can feel plugged up, and it can be a little inconvenient if you are wearing eyeglasses.
Choosing the right hearing aid style for you
When choosing the right hearing aid style for you, consider how comfortable it will be for you to wear. That will depend on the degree of your hearing loss, if you have problems with dexterity, and if your activities are limited.