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Understand 4 Hearing Aid Types

Understand 4 Hearing Aid Types

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with hearing loss and the audiologist recommended hearing aids as the best treatment options, you might be wondering which style is the best for you.

Understanding the types of hearing aid available empowers you to choose what’s best for you. This doesn’t have to be an in-depth understanding (leave that the audiologist) but simply having an idea of what you want then allows the audiologist to drill down to find the best match for your needs.

So let’s keep Sir Francis happy and sound out the different types of device to choose from.

1. Behind-the-ear

These devices have been around longer than most of the other hearing aids. The BTE houses everything except the receiver (the speaker that broadcasts the amplified sound) in a casing that sits behind the ear – hence the name.


  • The size means it contains a more powerful battery, with the advantages of more power for amplification plus fewer battery changes
  • Gone are the days of chunky BTEs. Choose from a variety of fashion colors or skin tones, and sleek streamlined designs
  • Better access to the switches and dials. This makes adjustments much easier for those with dexterity issues or visual impairment.


  • Less discrete than miniaturized types

This makes a BTE a good choice for severe hearing loss or those who prefer easy access adjustments

2. In the ear

This neat style that sits cradled within the bowl of the ear. These are second in terms of amplification power to BTEs and yet the lack of housing behind the ear makes them more discrete.


  • More discrete than a BTE
  • Many wearers find these more comfortable than a BTE
  • Great amplification suitable for all but the severest hearing loss


  • Not as discrete as the ITC or CIC styles (see below)

This style is a great compromise if you need amplification but don’t want it to be obvious

3. In the canal

We’re starting to talk ‘small’ with a capital ‘S’ here. Miniaturization allows all the component parts to shrink down and fit in the entrance to the ear canal. The appearance (if anyone even notices) is similar to wearing an ear plug.


  • Many people won’t recognize you’re wearing a hearing device
  • Powerful, yet discrete
  • Good for mild-to-moderate hearing loss


  • The switches can be difficult to use if you have dexterity issues
  • Size is a compromise to power

These are a great option when discretion is a key concern.

4. Completely in canal

We’re talking serious miniaturization here. The CIC is so small it sits wholly within the ear canal making it all but invisible to observers.


  • Total discretion
  • Highly capable


  • The miniaturization technology comes at a price
  • The small size is at the price of amplification and battery life.

The CIC is first choice for those with mild hearing loss who aren’t ready for the world to know they’re wearing a hearing device.

Talk to your audiologist

If you’re wondering what hearing aid style would work the best for your particular needs, discuss your options with the audiologist. Your audiologist will be able to walk you through the different styles, features and options available and help you make a decisions that’s best for your lifestyle.