Once you and your hearing care professional have decided that you need a hearing aid to correct your hearing loss, you will have a few more decisions to make. The first will be the style of hearing aid you want. Some of this decision will be determined by the level of your hearing loss. Generally, those with profound hearing loss are best served by behind-the-ear (BTE) devices, but others have a choice between the larger BTE units and the small, discreet in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids. Here we tell you about your options within the ITE category.
The Four Types of In-the-Ear Hearing Aids
In-the-ear hearing aids consist of a single unit that is custom-molded to fit in your ear. The various styles differ in how far into your ear canal they fit. This style of hearing aids allows for privacy, as they are difficult if not impossible to see from the outside. They offer advantages such as low or no wind noise, comfort, and ease of use.
The four specific models are:
- Invisible-in-the-canal. These devices are the smallest hearing aid available and are inserted completely into the ear canal. They may be difficult for some people to manage, as the wearer must insert the device deep within the ear canal and carefully remove it every day. This model sits next to the eardrum, so the wearer experiences immediate sound travel and less ambient noise than he or she would with other models.
- Completely-in-the-canal. This model fits into the ear canal, but is still somewhat visible to outside observers. While still small and discreet, it is not as small as the invisible model, so it is a little easier for most patients to manage. The wearer still gets the advantage of less ambient and wind noise. The device is custom fitted to your ear canal, making it comfortable and effective. This is one of the most popular models available, but it will not correct profound hearing loss.
- In-the-canal. While the in-the-canal style is slightly more visible to others than the two completely-in-the-canal models, many people are more comfortable with putting it in as they don’t have to insert it far into the ear canal. It is also custom fitted to the wearer’s ear canal and offers the benefits of being discreet and blocking wind noise.
- In-the-ear. This model is custom molded to sit in the outer bowl of your ear. It is the easiest in-the-ear model to manage, and its larger size allows for easier access to volume controls and the battery compartment. While not as discreet as the smaller models, it is still less obtrusive than behind-the-ear models, so may be a nice compromise for many users.
When you discuss these options with your hearing aid technician, you will be able to see and touch them and even try them out in your ears to get an idea of how difficult they will be for you to manage. Not every model is appropriate for every type and degree of hearing loss, so you will have to discuss these restrictions with your technician.
Depending on your lifestyle, these tiny devices may be the answer for you. For runners or other active people, in-the-ear hearing aids will eliminate wind noise and sit comfortably in your ears, rather than behind the ear where perspiration can become a problem. Be sure to discuss your lifestyle concerns with your hearing aid specialist.
Our Hearing Aid Specialists Will Help You Find the Best Fit
Collier Otolaryngology Hearing Center has several convenient locations in Naples to serve you. We offer free hearing screenings to get you started, followed by a comprehensive hearing evaluation to fully diagnose the cause and degree of your hearing loss. We will discuss your results with you and explain your options for treatment. We offer a wide range of digital wireless hearing aids and will take the time to explain the benefits of each model. Call now to schedule your free screening. We are looking forward to helping you hear better!