There are two basic types of hearing aids, in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids and behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids. However, between those two types, there are many different styles of hearing aids, and it can be overwhelming when determining the best type and style for you.
Below is some basic information on the types and styles of available hearing aids. We also have more detailed information for each on our Hearing Aid Product page.
In-The-Ear (ITE) Hearing Aids
With ITE hearing aids, the hearing aid fits into the outer part inside the ear or in the canal. Of the ITE hearing aid type, there are multiple styles including, in-the-canal (ITC), invisible-in-the-canal (IIC), completely-in-the-canal (CIC), and low profile hearing aids.
The IIC and CIC hearing aids are the smallest and fit deeply into the ear canal so that they are virtually invisible. They are designed for those with mild to moderate hearing aid loss. Aesthetically they are nice because they are almost completely hidden inside the ear, however, due to their small size, they can be more difficult to insert and remove as well as change the battery.
ITC and low profile hearing aids fit inside the outer part of the ear. Overall, they are larger than IIC and CIC hearing aids and because of this, will be visible. Because they are larger, they are easier to handle. Low profile hearing aids offer different styles from half shells that fit half the outer part of the ear to full.
Behind-The-Ear (BTE) Hearing Aids
BTE hearing aids fit behind the ear with and sounds move down through a tube that goes down to the ear canal opening, but doesn’t cover the entire ear canal. BTE hearing aids are often larger and therefore can accommodate more controls and a larger batter for longer life. BTE hearing aids are good for all levels of hearing loss from moderate to severe.
Of the BTE hearing aids, there are three basic styles including a mini style with slim tube and tip, a receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) hearing aid, which is more discreet and reliable, as well as a BTE with an earmold.
What to Consider When Selecting a Hearing Aid
There are many considerations when trying to determine the best hearing aid type for your needs. Some of these include:
- Level of your hearing loss
The level of your hearing loss is one of the most important factors in selecting a hearing aid as you need one that is going to positively impact your ability to hear.
- Level of dexterity
You’ll need to be able to insert and remove the hearing aid as well as change the battery. If you have dexterity issues, you may want to consider a larger hearing aid that will be easier to handle.
- Daily activities
Your level of activity can play a role in the type of hearing aid you choose. If you're more active, you may want one that is more secure.
- Style preference
Your preference in terms of hearing aid style will play a role in the type you select.
If you’ve considered what you think would be the best hearing aid fit for you, it’s important to first come in for a consultation with an audiologist to see if it’s a good match or if there are other options that may work better for you.