The world of hearing aids is very similar to the world of smartphones or TVs – there are many different products available, all designed to fill specific niches. For instance, some patients want large hearing aids that provide maximum amplification, while others need devices that are discreet or flush to their ears. In this post, we discuss the three top hearing aid styles and why you might want to choose them. 

In the ear (ITE)

If you develop hearing loss, your audiologist may recommend that you choose ITE hearing aids. These hearing devices sit in the outer bowl of the ear and are small, but still large enough to easily handle. ITE devices tend to come in two sizes: full-shell and half shell. 

Full-shell devices spread out to fill most of the opening of the ear canal, providing more space for things like buttons, batteries and electronics. Half shell devices, by contrast, only partially cover the ear opening, making them slightly more discreet. These devices can be equipped with a variety of different features, whether you want Bluetooth connectivity or prefer directional microphones.

Behind the ear (BTE)

Because of their popularity, BTE devices frequently come to mind when picturing hearing aids. These feature an in-ear section that contains the speaker connected by a tube to another section that sits behind the ear and houses the controls and battery. 

BTE devices are more conspicuous than their ITE counterparts, but they also offer distinct advantages. Their larger size, for instance, means that they are able to amplify the volume of sound reaching your ears more, making them ideal for patients with profound hearing loss. Because of their convenient size, BTE devices can be equipped with numerous features. 

Some patients also like BTE devices because of the larger buttons and long battery life. However, they are not suitable for patients wanting discreet assistive hearing devices. 

In the canal (ITC)

The final highly popular hearing aid style is ITC, a device worn in the canal. These hearing aids tend to be slightly larger than the smallest counterparts: completely in canal and invisible in canal, but all are incredibly discreet. 

ITC hearing aids fit partially in the ear canal and have a small visible section that includes controls, like volume and memory. The advantage of these hearing aids is that they are less conspicuous than standard ITE and BTE models. The disadvantage is that some users may find it difficult to operate the controls. 

Which type of hearing aid you choose is ultimately a matter of weighing the benefits of each. Larger hearing aids tend to have more features, but they’re also less discreet.