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Choosing the right hearing aid

Choosing the right hearing aid

Modern technological advancements now mean that there is a hearing device to suit every lifestyle and level of hearing loss. Hearing aids come in many different sizes and fitting styles (how they attach to your ear); they also have a wide variety of optional special features to customize your hearing support. All these different options mean that hearing aids can vary quite a bit in price too. So, which style should you choose? Here is a list of different hearing aid types complete with pros and cons, to help you make a more informed decision.

In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids

This style is designed to fit partially within your ear canal.

  • Suitable for mild-to-moderate hearing loss
  • Small design makes it less susceptible to picking up wind noise
  • Less visible than larger hearing aids
  • Is big enough to include special features
  • Speaker can be easily blocked by earwax

Completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing devices

As the name suggests, this style is made to fit completely inside your ear canal.

  • Suitable for mild-to-moderate hearing loss
  • This is the most discreet hearing aid style
  • It is the least likely to pick up wind noise because it sits inside the canal
  • Very small batteries and short battery life
  • Speaker is easily blocked by earwax
  • Small design makes it harder to handle if you have dexterity issues

In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids

This style fits inside the outer ear bowl and comes in two custom sizes: full shell and half shell. Full-shell models fill the outer ear bowl, while half-shell models only fill the lower part of the outer ear.

  • Suitable for mild-to-mildly severe hearing loss
  • They are a medium-sized device which makes them easier to handle
  • Larger batteries means more time between changes
  • They are more susceptible to picking up wind noise
  • They are slightly more visible than the CIC and ITC models

Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing devices

These hearing aids fit behind the ear and are attached to an earmold that fits in the ear canal using a small piece of tubing.

  • Suitable for mild-to-severe hearing loss
  • They are the largest and most visible of the different hearing aid types
  • They can amplify sounds to a greater degree than other models
  • They are susceptible to picking up wind noise
  • They are easy to handle and change batteries

Receiver in canal (RIC) or receiver in the ear (RITE) devices

These hearing aids are similar in structure to BTE hearing aids, though they are connected with a small piece of wire rather than tubing.

  • Suitable for mild-to-severe hearing loss
  • They are less visible than hearing aids worn strictly behind the ear
  • They are slightly more susceptible to earwax blockages than BTE aids

Finding the right hearing aid for your lifestyle needs, wants and preferences is essential in improving your hearing health and quality of life. Once you familiarize yourself with the different hearing aid styles available, have a conversation with your hearing care provider to find the right device for you.