Hearing aids are useful in improving the hearing and speech understanding of people who have hearing loss and assist individuals to hear in both quite and noisy situations. Hearing aid styles differ by size, their placement on or in the ear and the degree to which they amplify sound. There are several factors that should be considered when determining what style is most appropriate for you. Together with your hearing practitioner you will discuss the different styles of hearing aids and which aid would most suit your needs.
An open fit hearing aid fits behind the ear and is connected to a plastic ear mold or dome that fits comfortable inside of the ear. Many of these plastic domes have tiny air pockets which allow air to pass through the ear canal making sound more natural and reducing the effects of occlusion. This hearing aid amplifies high frequency sound without blocking the ear canal. Sound travels from the hearing aid through a narrow tube and into the ear. This narrow tube sits flush against the face, making this style of hearing aid cosmetically appealing.
Behind the Ear (BTE)
The electrical components of the hearing aids are held in a slim case that sits behind the ear. It is connected to an earmold that fits inside the ear and is attached to the hearing aid by a thin, clear tube. Sounds processed by the hearing aid are sent through the ear by this tube and earmold. BTE aids are used by individuals of all ages for mild to profound hearing loss. It is the largest hearing aid and allows more power than other styles.
In the Ear (ITE)
In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids fit completely inside the outer ear and are used for mild to severe hearing loss. The case holding the electronic components is made of hard plastic known as the shell. ITE’s are the largest of the custom products.
Canal Hearing Aids (ITC or CIC)
Canal aids fit into the ear canal and are available in two styles. The in-the-canal (ITC) hearing aid is made to fit the size and shape of a person’s ear canal. A completely-in-canal (CIC) hearing aid is nearly hidden in the ear canal. Both types are used for mild to moderately severe hearing loss.