Types of Hearing Aids

Hearing Aid TypesHearing aids come in many sizes, shapes, and styles – all of which work to best serve a patient’s needs and lifestyle. There are many factors to consider when selecting a hearing aid, such as cost, style, cosmetic appearance, and desired function. All of these factors play an integral role in helping the patient – along with a licensed professional – decide which device is best suited for optimal results.

Hearing aid selection is also based on the type of hearing loss a patient has and the severity of their hearing loss. These are the most common types of hearing aid devices:

Behind-the-Ear (BTE)

This model sits on the top of the ear in a hard plastic case, connected to a plastic earmold that is custom fit for the inner portion of the outer ear. Sound comes from the plastic case, where the electronics are housed, into the earmold and the ear. BTE aids are generally used for those people of all ages and most types of hearing loss.

Mini Behind-the-Ear (Mini BTE)

The “mini” BTE is a new kind of BTE hearing aid. Its small size completely fits behind the ear, with a narrow tube inserted into the canal to keep the canal open.

NIH hearing aids
Credit: NIH

In-the-Ear (ITE)

Often used for mild to severe loss, the in-the-ear hearing aid fits completely inside the outer ear. The hard plastic casing houses all electrical components. This hearing aid is normally not for young children, as the casing needs to be replaced as a child grows.

In-the-Canal (ITC) & Completely-in-Canal (CIC)

The ITC hearing device is custom molded to fit the individual’s ear canal perfectly. A CIC is located totally in the ear canal – it is nearly hidden inside the ear canal. Both styles are designed for mild to moderate hearing loss. Due to their small size, these styles may be difficult for an individual to adjust or remove. They also have less space for batteries.


Source: NIH



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