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There are many styles of hearing aids. The degree of the hearing loss, power and options requirements, manual dexterity abilities, and cosmetic concerns are some of the factors that will determine the style most suitable for you. There are several types of aids available on the market; the most common types of aids that are used by approximately 95% of people with hearing loss are either behind-the-ear (BTE) or in-the-ear (ITE) aids.
BTE hearing aids are the largest hearing aids and they are very reliable. BTEs have the most circuit options and they can typically have much more power than any of the custom made in the ear units. BTEs are the units that “sit” on the back of your ear. They are connected to the ear canal via custom-made earmold with a plastic tubing. This carries the sound from the hearing aid into your ear. The earmold is custom made from an ear impression to perfectly replicate the size and shape of your ear.
An in-the-ear aid does not have the piece behind the ear. All of the mechanical parts of the aid are housed inside a plastic shell that is in the ear. In-the-ear aids come in a variety of sizes including larger ones that fill up the outer part of your ear or smaller ones that fits in part of the outer ear.
ITC hearing aids are inserted into the canal portion of the ear and do not fill up as much of the outer ear. They may require good dexterity to control the volume wheels and other controls on the faceplate and they are smaller than ITEs.
Completely-In-the-Canal units are inserted deeper into the ear canal and is less visible than the other styles of hearing aids. CICs are simple to use and do not usually have manual controls due to their small size.
The OPEN Fit mini-BTE sits behind your ear but is small enough that it usually cannot be seen from the front or side – even for people with short hair styles. The miniature open ear bud sits deep in your ear canal and cannot be seen. The slim tube that connects the OPEN instrument and the ear bud is so small and clear that it is difficult to see. The earpiece may be a “few sizes fits most” dome arrangement or may be a custom made earmold. These aids come in many colors and are appropriate for mild to moderate high frequency (high pitch) hearing losses.
RITE hearing aids are a new style of the Open Fit mini-BTE. RITE hearing aids take the receiver (or speaker) out of the behind the ear portion of the aid and place the receiver directly into the ear canal. The two pieces are connected by a very thin wire encased in plastic tubing. The placement of the receiver in the ear canal tends to enhance natural sound quality. These types of aids may have a custom or standard ear piece . These aids also come in a wide variety of colors and shapes.