Hearing Aid Styles

Hearing aids come in several different styles, and each has its own advantages and limitations. Selecting a style depends on several factors, including:

  • Severity of hearing loss
  • Ear size and shape
  • Personal preferences
  • How well you can use your fingers and hands
  • Availability/accessibility of new technologies

Behind-the-ear
Behind-the-ear hearing aids fit in a curved case which fits neatly behind or over your ear. Molds are made to fit the exact shape of your ear. This type of hearing aid is suitable for patients with a wide range of hearing loss, from mild to severe. They also tend to be the most durable, with less need for repair and longer life expectancy. They can be worn easily, even by people who wear eyeglasses.

Open-ear hearing devices
Open-ear hearing aids fit in a case which curves over or behind your ear. It consists of a miniature behind-the-ear hearing device, which is coupled to an ultra thin tube with a soft rubber tip that fits into the ear. This type of hearing device is the most appropriate for those with normal to near normal hearing in the lower pitches, and with mild to moderate hearing loss in high pitches. These type of aids help reduce complaints related to the loudness of one’s own voice. As this aid is smaller, a certain amount of manual dexterity is necessary to ensure proper insertion and placement.

In-the-ear
These types of hearing aids are custom designed and fit directly into your ear. All of the components are housed within a plastic shell, with no external wires or tubes, and they are very light in weight. Properly made, they fit securely into the ear. This type of hearing aid is best suited for those who have mild to moderately severe hearing loss.

In-the-canal
Like in-the-ear hearing aids, in-the-canal aids are custom designed, with the main difference being that they are slightly smaller and fit more deeply into the ear. They are typically less visible, with the components also being housed within a single plastic shell. Because of their smaller size, however, they can only be used by those experiencing mild to moderate hearing loss.

Completely in-the-canal
Also custom designed, these type of hearing aids fit the deepest into the ear canal and are the least visible. They may also reduce issues like wind noise and feedback. Due to their small size, the battery is also smaller, causing battery life to be somewhat short when compared to other styles. Due to their size, these aids can also be difficult to handle, particularly for those who have issues with finger and hand dexterity (such as arthritis). Due to exposure to moisture and ear wax, this style also tends to go in for repairs more often and has a shorter overall life expectancy.