WHAT STYLE OF HEARING AID IS BEST FOR ME You may be asking yourself, what hearing aid will work best for me? Well, that really depends on the kind and severity of your hearing loss but here are some advantages of each style:
Completely in the Canal (CIC)
Canal aid, or in the canal - (ITC)
- Small and discreet for cosmetic purposes
- Efficient in delivery of high frequencies. (Outer ear collects and focuses high frequency sound waves to the opening of the ear canal).
- You may be able to use a telephone or headsets normally, because the aid is recessed in the ear.
- Sound can be reproduced without driving the speaker into distortion, as speaker is near the eardrum
- Usually most expensive instrument because of small size.
- Usually too small to having a volume control that can be used while in the ear.
- Not appropriate for severe to profound hearing losses. (Not enough power without having feedback)
- Not appropriate for high frequency (ski-slope) type hearing loss. (Too much occlusion)
- Not suggested for children, as their ears grow too fast.
- Difficult to use and operate for persons with dexterity or eyesight problems. (Small size and battery)
- CIC hearing aids have the highest repair rate compared to other hearing aid types.
Cons: Short battery life. Too small for directional microphone. Ear might feel plugged up unless aid is vented. Vulnerable to wax and moisture.
Over The Ear or "Open Fit" (OTE)
- All of the advantages of the CIC above, although slightly larger.
- Can have options such as volume control and multiple memories.
- Can have a larger vent opening than a CIC.
- Can utilize more advanced circuitry because of more room for components.
- Less expensive than CIC, but more expensive than larger aids
- Can fit more types of hearing loss than CIC, but still not as severe of loss as larger aids
- Better than CIC for persons with dexterity problems, but still fairly small
- Higher repair rate than ITE or BTE
Cons: Sweat might cause malfunction. Limited manual controls.
- Great for high frequency losses due to their "open fit" (they don't plug you up) ability
- More reliable than in the ear aids in some cases, because the circuitry is out of the ear
- Not easily visible, especially from the front
- May not be suitible for more than a mild or moderate hearing loss in the low frequencies
- Some models do not have manual controls in order to build the hearing aids smaller
Behind the ear (BTE)
- The hearing aid fits over and behind the ear, so there is a great amount of flexibility as to what size or type of earmold fits in the ear or ear canal.
- Earmolds can be made of hard or soft materials, can be modified or changed at will and for less expense that remaking the shell of a an in the ear type aid.
- Can be used for severe and profound hearing losses, as the microphone is further from ear canal and feedback is less likely.
- They are sometimes less expensive than in the ear type aids
- More options can be selected, such as connections for assistive listening devices, and more recently, attachments for blue tooth technology
- Wide selection of case colors can be used to blend with hair color.
- Larger controls and battery sizes are available
- Some people find having a hearing aid that must go both in their ear (the mold) and behind their ear (the aid) to be cumbersome and difficult to put on and use.
- BTEs are more visible for those without much hair
- BTEs can be more inconvenient for physically active people
- BTEs are more susceptible to moisture and perspiration damage
Cons: Most visible. Vulnerable to sweat and wax. Plugged-up feeling from earmold unless vented.