If you have been diagnosed with hearing loss that can be treated with hearing aids, you’ll need to choose a device that is right for your needs. Factors to consider include your lifestyle, budget, cosmetic preference and the type/severity of your hearing loss. Hearing aids come in a wide variety of styles, and are named for where they are worn. The different styles are:
In-The-Canal (ITC) hearing aids are made with a custom casing that holds the electronic components, and include a tiny cord allowing the user to remove them. Their small size and placement within the ear canal makes them appealing to patients who desire discretion, but those with poor dexterity might have trouble operating them. ITC hearing aids are designed for people with mild to moderate hearing loss. Different models within this category include:
- Invisible In the Canal (IIC) hearing aids.
- Completely In the Canal (CIC) hearing aids.
- In The Canal (ITC) hearing aids.
In-The-Ear (ITE) hearing aids are worn in the bowl-shaped portion of the outer ear. They contain a plastic shell that houses the electronics, and a volume control button situated on the external part of the instrument for easy access. They are more visible than ITC hearing aids, but contain more features and a longer battery life thanks to their larger size. ITE hearing aids are made for patients with mild to severe hearing loss. There are two different types:
- In The Ear (ITE) hearing aids
Behind-The-Ear (BTE) hearing aids are made with a plastic housing that contains the electronic components, and a separate earmold. The housing is worn behind the ear, and attaches to the earmold – placed in the ear canal – with a thin tube. This is the largest style of hearing aid, but is a popular choice thanks to controls that are easy to operate and a longer battery life. It is especially popular with children and the elderly. BTE hearing aids are designed for all types of hearing loss. The two styles include:
- Behind The Ear (BTE) hearing aids
- Receiver In The Ear (RITE) hearing aids. In this style, the electronics are housed in a plastic casing that is worn behind the ear, and a separate receiver is worn in the ear canal. Receiver In The Ear hearing aids are some of the smallest hearing aid choices available.
Extended wear hearing aids are designed to be worn in the ear continuously for as long as four months. Marketed under the brand name Lyric, they are purchased on a subscription basis and are safe to keep in place while sleeping, showering and exercising, and the battery never needs changing. They are worn deep in the ear canal in close proximity to the eardrum and are designed for mild to moderately severe hearing loss.