In Ear or Behind-the-Ear? What to Know About Hearing Aid Styles
Hearing aids come in many shapes and sizes – just like the people who wear them. Depending on the person, certain hearing aids offer the right combination of performance, comfort and durability to keep up with their lifestyle and hearing needs.
There are plenty of things to consider when finding the perfect hearing aid, and fit is perhaps one of the most important. That’s because a hearing aid’s fit and style is more than just comfort. An aid’s fit can affect much more about its functionality and what it offers to a wearer.
When choosing your perfect hearing aid, you’ll likely ask yourself what fit and style is best for you. While our hearing experts are important advocates in finding your perfect aid, these are some important things to know about the most common hearing aid styles: in-ear styles (including Completely-in-Canal and In-the-Canal aids) and Behind-the-Ear aids.
Power and Performance
Like most electronics, hearing aids use batteries to operate. The power and longevity of an aid’s performance depends largely on the size of its battery, which can differ depending on the style of your hearing aid. A larger battery means more power, longer operation and often more functionality.
Behind-the-Ear (BTE) aids fit behind the ear rather than inside of it, which means the batteries that power them can be larger. In-the-Canal (ITC) and Completely-in-Canal (CIC) aids are limited in size by the size of the ear canal, and thus cannot have batteries as large as BTE aids.
Because of these limitations, CIC and ITC aids sometimes are more limited in their power and functionality – but offer a more discrete and streamlined fit than a BTE aid. Some find this trade-off perfect for them, while others want the flexibility of a BTE aid for functions like Bluetooth or feedback reduction.
Comfort and Fit
Just like the clothing that we wear, certain types of clothing are more comfortable for different kinds of people. This depends largely on our activities, our lifestyles and our sense of style. The same goes for hearing aid styles, and what we want out of them.
Generally, BTE aids are larger and less discrete than their in-ear counterparts – but with that difference comes more flexibility in comfort. BTE aids often designed as Open-fit, which means that the aid connects to the ear via a small tube. This leaves most of the ear canal open, which prevents the feeling of “clogging” that can be bothersome for certain wearers. This also prevents the sound of the wearer’s voice from becoming distorted (sort of like how your voice sounds strange if you have a bad cold or blocked ears).
Because a CIC and ITC aid fits within the ear canal, it’s not as easy to design an aid that offers a more open-fit feel. Of course, ITC and CIC aids are cleverly designed to make them as comfortable as possible, using “vents” to provide maximum air flow through the ear canal.
These are often designed with custom ear molds to fit perfectly within the ear, which means ITC and CIC aids are much more discrete for those who don’t mind the feeling of something within the ear. A well-designed ear mold with these aid styles can improve sound clarity as well, since it cuts down on wind noise.
Cost is an important thing to consider when investing in a new hearing aid. While a bigger investment usually promises a better aid more suited to our hearing needs and lifestyles, cost can also be a barrier to finding an aid with the functionality and performance that we need.
Because of size flexibility and prevalence, BTE aids are often more affordable than ITC and CIC aids. Basic BTE styles are some of the most affordable types of aids, and those that have a smaller budget will likely find a great pick among BTE aids.
However, those that value discretion highly might find the additional investment in an ITC or CIC aid worthwhile. Finding the right aid for you is important, and the investment is usually well worth it!
The best way to find the perfect hearing aid is to work with the experts. Our team can help you identify the pros and cons of different hearing aid styles, and assist in your journey to find the perfect aid. Ask our team about getting a hearing test and finding the perfect aid for you!
Find the right hearing solution today! Get started by contacting us to schedule an appointment.
Atlanta Hearing Doctor
5885 Glenridge Dr #155
Atlanta, GA 30328