| 4 Basic Types |
There are four basic types of hearing aids common tomost manufacturers. All four will help with mild to moderate losses, butif loss is more severe, choices can be more limited. While size is themost obvious difference, each style has different attributes that areimportant to consider.
Hearing aids worn behind-the-ear or in-the-ear can carrymore sophisticated technology and more powerful amplifiers; they arealso more durable. In contrast, new smaller models reside closer to theeardrum, and that proximity to the inner ear can help deliver a morenatural sound quality. Your hearing professional will provide you with arecommendation and rationale that's based on your specific needs andphysiology.
Behind-the-ear (BTE) aids have a plastichousing for the components which rests behind the ear. A clear plastictube funnels amplified sound into an earmold in the ear canal. Thismodel, though developed decades ago, can be every bit as sophisticatedas smaller hearing aids. In fact, it can hold more circuitry and amplifysounds to a greater degree than in-the-ear types. BTE aids can be moredurable than other types and a few are even waterproof.
In-the-ear (ITE) aids house componentry in acustom-formed earmold that fits within the outer portion of the ear. Itssize and easy-to-use controls also may be helpful for those with limitedmanual dexterity.
In-the-canal (ITC) aids are smaller still, with anearmold that fits down into the ear canal, and a smaller portion facingout into the outer ear. They are discreet, yet still visible within theouter ear.
The newest generation of hearing aids are those that fitcompletely in the canal (CIC). Barely visible – and then only if someone'speering into your ear – the only clue to their existence is the head of atiny plastic line with which you place or remove the aid. CICs arepopular for their aesthetic appeal, but the physiology of someindividuals' ears (i.e., a very narrow canal) may make this styleunsuitable for them.