If you are considering the purchase of hearing aids, the number of hearing aid styles can seem overwhelming. It is important to remember, however, that not all styles are appropriate for everyone. To choose the best hearing aid style for your hearing loss, you and your Audiologist should consider all of the following:
- The severity of your hearing loss
- Your manual dexterity
- Your personal preferences
- The availability of new technologies
- The size and shape of your ear canal
Hearing Aid Styles Are Described Below:
The BEHIND-THE-EAR (BTE) style of hearing aid fits behind the ear and is attached to a custom ear mold that fits inside your outer ear. They are a good choice for those with severe-to-profound hearing loss and can be easier to use for those with finger dexterity as the batteries are larger and easier to handle.
OPEN FIT hearing aids are also a type of BTE. They are much smaller however. The RITE or RIC style features a receiver placed inside the ear and the RITA style has the receiver in the aid itself. These “mini” BTEs have numerous benefits including the fact that they are more cosmetically appealing and can eliminate the feeling that some describe as sounding like “talking in the barrel.”
IN-THE EAR (ITE) styles are also cosmetically appealing because of their size. They require that a custom mold be made to fit the outer ear (concha). This custom style is also available as an in-the-canal (ITE) style, where only part of the concha is filled and as a completely-in-the-canal (CIC) style which fits more deeply into the ear canal.
CROS/Bi-CROS aids are designed for those who have normal hearing or hearing that can be helped with a hearing aid in one ear, but who have very little or no hearing in the other ear. This style of aid is worn on the side with better hearing, while a microphone is worn on the other side, allowing the person to pick up sound on the poor hearing side.
Hearing aid styles that are appropriate for your hearing loss can only be determined after a complete hearing evaluation and should not be chosen without the help of your hearing professional.