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Behind The Ear Or In The Ear Hearing Aids?

Finding the right hearing aid or realising the necessity for one is not always easy. According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, one out of every fifth person who needs a hearing aid actually uses one. This means that more awareness is needed to pinpoint the advantages and possibilities of different hearing aids.

There are various types of hearing aids. The three main styles are behind the ear (BTE), in the ear (ITE) and in the canal (ITC). Each of these, respectively, offers a wide array of solutions varying in size, colour, design, features, sound processing, etc.

We will focus on two types of hearing aids – behind the ear and in the ear and will discuss their benefits and differences. It is important to remember, though, that every person is different so there is not a universal device. Depending on the specific case, one or another aid may be recommended as more appropriate.

Behind the ear hearing aids are one of the most popular devices for hearing help. They consist of a small plastic case that is located behind the ear, a dome that goes into the outer ear and a connecting thin tube that amplifies the sound. All the electronics such as the microphone, battery, controls and often the loudspeaker, are discreetly hidden in the case, while the almost invisible thin tube connects it to the open-fit dome. As the electronics are outside the year, they are protected from clogging and are easy to maintain and clean.

Another type of hearing device is the in the ear hearing aid. It is suitable for mild to profound hearing loss depending on the style and fit. Offering in essence the same functions as the behind the ear hearing aid, it is different in size and location. This type of hearing aid is placed entirely in the ear. The hard case contains all the electronics, controls, microphone, and telecoil feature if present (making it easier to hear phone conversations) , etc.

Most in the ear hearing aids are custom made to fit the individual ear and could be visible when there is a face-to-face interaction. Use by children is not common as with growth, the aid will become too small and would need to be replaced and that could become an expensive process. One of the problems with in the ear hearing aids may come from earwax and moisture finding its way into the aid that could be detrimental to the device, so one should be careful and clean it regularly.

Both types of hearing aids have their advantages. However, choosing a hearing aid should be done depending on its functions, not purely on aesthetic reasons.  Here is a list of the main features of both hearing aids.

Benefits of behind the ear hearing aids:

  • durable battery life
  • easy to clean and maintain
  • suitable for people with an earwax build-up
  • range of colours and sizes
  • possibility for connection to FM systems

Benefits of in the ear hearing aids:

  • small and discreet
  • custom size
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