Hearing Aid Types

Hearing aid types: behind-the-ear and in-the-ear. Let’s discuss their differences.

What is a behind-the-ear hearing aid?

types of hearing aids behind the ear

The most popular hearing aid type, the behind-the-ear hearing aids (BTE). In this hearing aid all the electronic components, even the speaker is inside the body of the hearing aid which you wear behind your ear. There is a small hollow tube that carries sound from the speaker down into your ear canal. This helps to protect the speaker from earwax and moisture from your ear canal.

Advantages of behind-the-ear hearing aids

  • Excellent choice for mild to profound hearing loss
  • Can be worn with domes or custom earmolds
  • Larger size allows for more desirable features
  • Minimizes damage from moisture and earwax
  • Sound flexibility as hearing needs or environment changes
  • Easier to hold and is more durable
  • Large batteries provide you with a longer battery life

Disadvantages of behind-the-ear hearing aids

  • Larger models could cause discomfort behind your ear. Note: most behind-the-ear hearing aids are now designed to be small and lightweight and this is often not an issue.
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Receiver-in-canal hearing aids

what is a ric hearing aid

Receiver-in-canal hearing aids (RIC) are quite similar to BTE hearing aids. Both hearing aid types are worn on the ear and most of the hearing aid’s technology is located in the body of the hearing aid. The big difference is that with the RIC hearing aids your receiver or speaker is placed inside of your ear canal, instead of it being inside of the body of the hearing aid. The receiver in your ear is connected by a tiny wire to the body of the hearing aid that rests behind your ear.

Advantages of RIC hearing aids

  • A small and nearly invisible hearing aid choice
  • Less feedback and less “occlusion” (blockage of the ear)
  • Gives you a very natural sound
  • Sound flexibility as hearing needs or environment changes
  • Hearing aid body on-ear allows for more desirable features

Disadvantages of RIC hearing aids

  • Less effective for moderate to severe hearing loss
  • Often more expensive
  • Increase exposure to moisture because the receiver is in the ear

What is an in-the-ear hearing aid?

hearing aid types in the ear

In-the-ear hearing aids (ITE) are custom hearing aids that you place completely inside your outer ear. Their electronics are held inside a hard plastic case. They are pretty versatile and can help a broad range of hearing loss from mild to moderate, depending on the model they can be more conspicuous and bulkier than other models. On the flip side, they can be small, almost invisible but because of their small size lack features and can be difficult to handle.

Advantages of in-the-ear hearing aids

  • Small and nearly invisible design
  • For mild to moderate hearing loss

Disadvantages of in-the-ear hearing aids

  • Small batteries and these can be very difficult to change
  • Many useful features (directional microphones and wireless) cannot be included due to their small size
  • Can be very expensive