What’s the Best Hearing Aid Style For You?
The size of the hearing aid is determined by whether it is inside the ear or behind it. The more severe hearing the loss, the larger size is needed to accommodate the added circuitry and wires.
- ITE (in-the-ear) hearing aids can be used for a wide range of hearing losses. These fit completely in the outer ear and are used for mild to severe hearing loss. They allow for larger sound amplifiers and more features such as a telephone switch. They are also much easier to handle the case is custom. This style is available with programmable, digital, and conventional technology. But it can be damaged by earwax and ear drainage, and their small size can cause adjustment problems and feedback.
- Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aids (BTE) is the biggest, most powerful and most noticeable model that fits behind the ear, along with a mold that fits in the ear canal. It helps with all types of hearing loss. Sound travels through the ear mold and into the ear. These are for mild to profound hearing loss and have a cool Bluetooth cell phone tech link. But if the ear mold is not properly fitted, there can be feedback – a whistling sound caused by either the fit or by buildup of earwax or fluid.
- There is also the in-the-canal (ITC) and nearly hidden, completely-in-the canal (CIC) hearing aids that are customized to fit the size and shape of the ear canal. They’re used for mild to moderately severe hearing loss. But because of their small size, they may be difficult for the user to adjust and remove. These aids may be damaged by earwax and ear draining.
So which is the most popular? The in-canal hearing aid, according to Trisha Dibkey, chief audiologist at Texas Medical School, “These are the most popular because they’re small-sized and fit into the ear canal – but not so deep that reception is impeded by ear wax.”