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Are there different styles of hearing aids?
There are three basic styles of hearing aids. The styles differ by size, their placement on or inside the ear, and the degree to which they amplify sound
Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids consist of a plastic case worn behind the ear and connected to a plastic earmold that fits inside the outer ear. The electronic parts are held in the case behind the ear. Sound travels from the hearing aid through the earmold and into the ear. BTE aids are used by people of all ages for mild to profound hearing loss.
A new kind of BTE aid is an open-fit hearing aid. Small, open-fit aids fit behind the ear completely, with only a narrow tube inserted into the ear canal, enabling the canal to remain open. For this reason, open-fit hearing aids may be a good choice for many people. In addition, some people may prefer the open-fit hearing aid because their perception of their voice does not sound "plugged up." This style is the most popular and has yielded the most success in our practice.
In-the-ear hearing aids fit completely inside the outer ear and are used for mild to severe hearing loss. The case holding the electronic components is made of hard plastic. The size, as compared to a canal aid or CIC aid, allows for more room to accommodate duel microphones, volume control, or program buttons if needed.
Canal aids fit into the ear canal and are available in two styles. The in-the-canal (ITC) hearing aid is made to fit the size and shape of a person's ear canal. A completely-in-canal (CIC) hearing aid is nearly hidden in the ear canal. Both types are used for mild to moderately severe hearing loss.
Because they are small, canal aids may be difficult for a person to adjust and remove if they have vision or dexterity problems. In addition, canal aids have less space available for batteries and additional devices, such as volume controls or program buttons. They usually are not recommended for young children or for people with severe to profound hearing loss because their reduced size limits their power and volume.