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Types of Hearing Aids: Styles And How They Fit

Doug Breaker

Last updated on Dec 2, 2014

A hearing aid has three basic parts; a microphone, an amplifier and a speaker.

When someone speaks to a hearing aid wearer, their voice is amplified from the mic to the speaker in or near the ear. This amplified sound is useful for those individuals with hearing loss caused by damage or aging. Once patients have been diagnosed with hearing loss, their audiologists can help them decide which of the three types of hearing aids are best for the patients’ needs.

The Three Types Of Hearing Aids

  • Behind-the ear (BTE) are made of a plastic case worn behind the ear which is connected to a plastic earmold that fits inside the outer ear. BTE hearing aids are utilized by patients of all ages and levels of hearing loss.
  • In-the-ear (ITE) aids fit completely inside the outer ear, and include a magnetic telecoil feature which makes it easier to hear phone conversations. ITE’s are applicable for all levels of hearing loss.
  • Canal aids can be either an in-the-canal (ITC) style made to fit the size and shape of a patient’s ear canal, or a completely-in-canal (CIC) style which is hidden within the ear canal. These types of aids are used mostly by those with mild to moderate hearing loss, due to the fact that this style has a reduced size and limited power and volume.

Each of these hearing aids work differently based on their style of electronic programming:

  • Analog aids are programmable, and after being set by the manufacturer initially, can be adjusted later by both the audiologist and the user. Adjustments can be made using a program on a computer for changes in the listening environment (from small, quiet rooms to large open areas).
  • Digital aids convert sounds using numerical codes, which allow the hearing aid to adjust automatically based on different pitches and/or loudness. Digital conversion also allows the hearing aid wearer to focus on sounds coming from a specific direction.

Choosing The Type Of Hearing Aid Right For You

After a careful diagnosis by and discussion with your  doctor and/or audiologist, you might need a custom designed hearing aid for you specific hearing problem, but if you simply have mild to moderate hearing loss like most people with hearing problems, the surgeon designed, MDHearingAid can be an effective and affordable choice.

A follow up appointment may be necessary for custom hearing aids in order to receive proper fitting, setting, and counseling on wear and care for this important purchase. With over the counter hearing aids, they really are plug and play, with a small a mount of time on getting comfortable wearing the aid and used to the simple settings.

Remember, no matter what type of hearing aid you may get, it takes some time and patience to learn about and adjust to wearing a hearing assisting device. Once this period of adjustment has occurred, the short time and effort involved will prove to be worth a lifetime of enjoyable, good hearing!

Doug Breaker
Chief Executive Officer
Doug Breaker serves as CEO of MDHearingAid. Doug joined MDHearingAid after successful CEO roles at, and Doug's decades of experience... [ Learn More ]

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