When you’re in the market for a hearing aid, there are many different hearing aid comparisons to think through. With so many different styles and types to choose from—how do you know which hearing aid is right for you? The most important factor to consider is what you need your hearing aid for. What type and degree of hearing loss do you have? A visit to the audiologist and examining your audiogram will help determine the answer to these questions.
Comparing Hearing Aids: Severe Hearing Loss
If you suffer from severe hearing loss, the best hearing aid styles for you are behind-the-ear (BTE) or in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids. The BTE model consists of an aid that sits behind the ear and hooks over the top. The hearing aid is connected via a small tube to a custom earmold inside the ear canal. The BTE model is the traditional style of hearing aid, but has gotten much sleeker and smaller over the years. The ITE hearing aid actually comes in two styles—both types of ITE hearing aid are one piece (rather than multiple elements connected by a tube), and can either fill the entirety of the outer ear, or half of the outer ear. These styles are called full shell and half shell, respectively.
The BTE model is capable of picking up more amplification than the ITE model, so it may be the style to choose if that’s your priority. If you’re concerned about aesthetics, most BTE models today are actually less visible than ITE, since the outside pack is often hidden by hair and the only visible part is the clear tube. However, the ITE is easier to handle than most other styles, and uses a very large battery, which allows you to wear it for a longer time than the BTE.
Comparing Hearing Aids: Mild to Moderate Hearing Loss
If you have mild to moderate hearing loss, there are more options available for you. The BTE style of hearing aid works, but you can also consider the models that sit in the ear canal: the in-the-canal (ITC), completely-in-canal (CIC), or the receiver-in-canal (RIC). As the names would suggest, these models are designed to fit either partly or wholly in your ear canal. These hearing aids are a lot smaller and often the go-to choice for people who might be a little self-conscious about their hearing aids or don’t want them to be easily seen.
The ITC style can include features that do not fit on its smaller counterparts, such as a telecoil or dual microphones. All three styles are more susceptible to getting clogged with earwax, as they sit further down in the ear than the BTE or ITE models. However, in-canal hearing aids are much less likely to pick up pesky wind noises, since they are deeper in the ear.
The best way to determine which hearing aid is the best model for your hearing and lifestyle needs is to speak with your audiologist and with a knowledgeable hearing aid representative (you can send Audicus your audiogram for a free consultation). It’s important to take your time and work with experts who can help you determine which is the best hearing aid for you!