Many people have the impression that there is only one style of hearing aids—you know the ones, the blocky, tan-colored ones you saw hooked over your grandparent’s ears. But with the advancements of modern digital hearing aids, that is far from the case.
As your Denver hearing aid specialist, our audiologist wanted to clear up this misconception. With this knowledge, you can have a better idea of what choices are available to you when you come into our clinic to be fitted for your new hearing aids.
Two Basic Body Styles Of Hearing Aids
While there are quite a few different styles of hearing aids, they all fall into two basic body style categories—Behind-The-Ear (BTE) or In-The-Ear (ITE). Some of the key distinguishing characteristics of these basic hearing aid styles are:
BTE – Main body of hearing aid device is tucked behind the ear, as the name would imply. A tube extends to the ear canal to carry captured sound to the ear. These devices are generally stronger than ITE hearing aids, as they are larger than most ITE style hearing aids. However, BTE style hearing aids are more clearly visible.
ITE – When it comes to these hearing aids, the main body of the devices is located inside of the ear. How far the device is in the ear can vary depending on the style, but all of them rest in the ear canal to a certain extent. Most of the ITE style hearing aids are for mild-to-moderate hearing loss, but the largest can accommodate more hearing loss, depending on the hearing aid manufacturer. The ITE style is relatively popular thanks to the low-profile nature of these hearing aids.
Now that you have a clear idea of what the basic hearing aids styles are, you can dive in and look at the various hearing aid styles available to you through our hearing clinic services.
Largest and most well-known style of hearing aid, the BTE style hearing aid is a powerful device. The BTE style is often the style of hearing aid which can contain the best hearing aid advancements, thanks to its larger size. So, if you are interested in things such as direct Bluetooth connectivity, rechargeable batteries, AI hearing aid assistants, automatic listening program changes, then the BTE style of hearing aids may be right for you.
This style of hearing aid often ends in a custom ear mold to make wearing it more comfortable. However, due to its size, the BTE style of hearing aid can be in the way when you wear glasses, headbands, and hats. There are smaller variants of the BTE called the mini BTE, which can reduce the size without reducing much of the power of the BTE, which is an option you may want to consider.
Smaller than the BTE style hearing aids, the RITE—also called Receiver-In-Canal (RIC)—style of hearing aids is a good compromise between the BTE’s power and the desire for a more discreet hearing aid. The RITE is particularly helpful if you struggle with dexterity issues, which can make handling a smaller hearing aid difficult. This style of hearing aid often has many of the tech extras which make the larger style of hearing aids popular, though most are not rechargeable.
There are also mini RITE hearing aids, which can help make this style of hearing aid practically invisible when tucked behind your ear. Also, with the thinner tubing and smaller case of the RITE and mini RITE, this style of hearing aid is not often a problem for those who wear glasses or wear hats.
Out of the hearing aids in this style, the ITE style of hearing aids is the biggest. It can take up either the entire shell of your ear, as is depicted above or just half of the ear. The full shell style of ITE hearing aids are the most powerful of all the hearing aids which go directly in your ears, with more space in the casing to install useful software such as directional microphones, smartphone connectivity, automatic listening program switches, and other benefits depending on what hearing aid manufacturer you choose to receive your ITE hearing aids from.
While the size of the ITE can be a benefit for those looking for powerful hearing aids and is a manageable size for most people with dexterity issues, they are relatively noticeable. The 3-5 shades an ITE hearing aid comes in is not generally a perfect match with your own skin, so the ITE style hearing aid is not a very discreet option when compared even to the mini BTE.
Smaller than the ITE style hearing aids, yet still somewhat visible, the ITC hearing aids are often good for those with mild-to-moderate hearing loss. This style of hearing aid is less prone to wind interference, as it rests just outside of the ear canal.
Some hearing aid brands such as ReSound have a variant of this style of hearing aid which comes with a microphone which rests in the helix of the ear. With the microphone following the curves of your ear, you may be able to enjoy more natural directional hearing.
For those with mild-to-moderate hearing loss, the CIC style of hearing aid can be highly appealing as it is usually not visible to others. This custom-made style of hearing aid comes with a plastic rod to make insertion and removal relatively easy. However, this style of hearing aid can be prone to earwax and moisture damage, thanks to its position in the ear canal. You will need to be diligent with your nightly cleaning to protect this small device.
The most invisible style of hearing aid, this style is highly popular for those with mild hearing loss who don’t want to advertise that they wear hearing aids. While the tech on these hearing aids is fairly basic due to its size, it is generally not an issue for IIC wearers, as they don’t struggle with severe enough hearing loss to need many of the extras that come with the larger styles of hearing aids.
A variant on this style of hearing aids is the Lyric hearing aid from the hearing aid manufacturer Phonak. This invisible hearing aid can be worn 24/7 and is safe to use even when you shower or swim, as long as you avoid fully immersing your head underwater. Talk to our audiologist to learn more about Lyric and if you are a good candidate for this device.
Find The Right Hearing Aid Style For You At Echo Hearing Center
Our audiologist is ready to help you find the right hearing aids and style that is perfect for your hearing loss. To work with a hearing specialist who will take the time to focus on you and your needs, contact us to set up an appointment today.