Since the first-ever hearing aid was released in 1989, the science and technology behind these devices have come a long way. The most traditional style of hearing aid is the behind-the-ear (BTE) style, which offers users comfort and adjustability. Now, there are hearing aids with digital features and more discretion than you could imagine. Yet, not all styles suit all people’s needs and preferences. Thus, you may want to know more about the various styles and their pros and cons. On that note, here is a guide to hearing aid styles.

BTE hearing aids

A BTE hearing aid is the most common and largest style you will find. The electronic parts reside in the case of a BTE hearing aid, which connects to the ear with either a slim tube or a customized earmold that fits inside the outer ear. The larger electronic casing fits behind the wearer’s ear.

In-the-canal (ITC) devices

Another type of available hearing aid style is one that can fit right inside the ear canal. You will need to get this hearing aid customized so it can fit perfectly in your ear. It’s a great option for those who want to conceal their hearing aid. There are three types available, ITC, completely in canal (CIC) and invisible in canal (IIC). These three options are the smallest on the market, providing the most natural listening experience possible. Because of their size, they can be difficult to handle if you have physical limitations.

In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids

An ITE hearing aid sits within the bowl of the ear instead of outside the ear like a BTE. These come in two options – full or half-shell, which either fit the entire bowl of the ear or just half. Most levels of hearing loss can wear these, ranging from mild to moderately severe. The shell is custom-fitted to the shape and size of your ear for comfort and ease of removing and inserting.

Factors to consider when selecting hearing aids

There are numerous different factors you should consider when selecting your hearing aids. Not only will these devices help you communicate better in your day-to-day life, but you’ll be wearing them for several hours. Before you select the perfect pair of hearing aids for your everyday needs, consider your preferences of the following:

  • Budget
  • Style
  • Size
  • Aesthetics
  • Features
  • Handling
  • Functionality

Depending on whether you want hearing aids for comfort or for discretion, you will most likely choose a different style of hearing aid from someone else. For those with severe hearing loss, a hearing instrument specialist will suggest that the ITE or BTE styles are most suitable. For discretion, the canal-style hearing aids will provide you with that preference.