When it comes to hearing aids, things have changed a lot in recent years! A quick internet search will net you hundreds of answers regarding the different types of hearing aids and their benefits. Before you decide to purchase hearing aids, it’s a smart idea to see an audiologist for an exam and hearing tests to determine if hearing aids will benefit your hearing loss. A little guidance goes a long way when it comes to this important purchase. These are the most common types of hearing aids available.

Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids

Just as the name implies, the major part of this hearing aid sits behind your ear. A small tube or wire hooks over your ear and sits in your ear canal. It may or may not be custom-fitted. Many of today’s BTE hearing aids are small and barely visible. These are the most common type of hearing aids.

In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids

These hearing aids cover a portion of your outer ear closest to your ear canal. Because of their size, ITE devices provide features like volume control and directional microphones. The style is a little larger to cover the ear and may provide better hearing for some people.

In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids

This type of unit offers a custom-fit and is only partially visible. Because it is more open, some people find that they hear more ambient sound. These are easily inserted and removed but may be more difficult if you have limited dexterity.

Invisible-in-canal (IIC) hearing aids

These are invisible to the eye and sit inside the ear canal. In fact, a small tool is usually used to insert and remove them, which some people do not like. These units are quite small and often require frequent battery changes and may have fewer options.

Bluetooth connection

Bluetooth allows your hearing aid to connect wirelessly to a cell phone, the television, or even an mp3 player! Depending on your work and how you use your hearing aids, some people find Bluetooth connections very beneficial with more natural sounding audio. However, this is a very specific application and should be discussed with your audiologist.

The type of hearing aid you purchase is a personal choice. Some people prefer less visible hearing aids and opt for ITE or ITC devices. Remember, any time something goes in your ear canal, there is a possibility of earwax build-up, so it’s important to regularly and properly clean your hearing aids. With many choices, there are hearing aids that will improve your hearing and work within your budget.

Talk to your audiologist to determine what hearing aid style is the best for your hearing loss, lifestyle and budget needs.