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What are the Different Types of Hearing Aids?

By Sherry Holetzky
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Hearing aids are miracles of technology that offer hearing impaired persons better quality of life. There are four different styles of hearing aids, which include the body aid, the behind-the-ear aid or BTE, the canal aid -- either in-the-canal (ITC) or completely-in-canal (CIC), and the in-the-ear aid or ITE.

The body aid is a pocket pack that can be carried in the pocket or worn on the belt or waistband. A wire runs to the ear. These hearing aids are for people with intense hearing loss. Because this style is not about aesthetics, it is much larger than other hearing aids. The extra space allows for more working parts and a more elaborate design, which allows this type of aid to filter and amplify sound better.

BTE hearing aids use a receiver inside the ear, but hide the working parts in an attached piece that fits snugly behind the ear. Both kids and grown ups can use behind-the-ear hearing aids, and they are recommended for most types of hearing loss from minimal to intense.

ITC hearing aids are also for minimal to intense hearing loss. They are custom made to fit inside the ear, but in-the-canal hearing aids are not recommended for children. CIC aids are hidden deeper within the ear canal. Completely-in-canal hearing aids are intended for moderate to severe hearing loss. This type of hearing aid may be harder to remove, and is therefore not suggested for children either. Both of these styles can be affected by ear wax or fluids draining from within the ear, and must be kept clean to maintain optimum performance.

ITE hearing aids are worn in the outer ear instead of the canal and are used for mild to somewhat severe hearing loss. This style is not generally used for children, because the case that holds the working parts must be changed as ears grow larger. In-the-ear hearing aids may also contain extra components such as a telecoil. A telecoil helps make phone calls sound better.

Depending on their hearing loss, some people may need to utilize two different types of hearing aids at the same time, to amplify sound and to filter out noise. It depends on the severity of their hearing loss as well as their environment. If you are considering using a hearing aid, speak to an audiologist to find out which type is best suited to your needs.

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Discussion Comments
By anon201395 — On Jul 30, 2011

I prefer to buy mine online going forward. I went to my audiologist for a "free" hearing test. When I was done is when I decided I would take matters into my own hands. There's no way in hades I'm spending 6k on a set of "premium" technology. I found some online and spent a fraction of the cost and can hear just fine without having spent 6k. There should be a law against this. --Rick

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