Hearing solutions are a deeply personal choice that can vary greatly from person to person, depending on their unique needs. However, there is a style of hearing aid that is most popular, and we’ll explore that in a moment. Before diving in, let’s take time to review the different types of hearing solutions that are available.
Essentially, there are two types of hearing aids: in-the-ear (ITE) and behind-the-ear (BTE).
As the name implies, a BTE hearing aid sits behind or on top of the outer ear. The sound is routed into the ear canal using tubing, which is custom-fitted and does not block the entire ear canal opening. The devices can be customized with different tones to match skin or hair, or with bright colors and designs. Most modern BTEs are Bluetooth hearing aids and rechargeable options are available.
Types of BTE hearing solutions include:
- Receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) or “receiver in the ear” (RITE)
The name depends on the manufacturer. The speaker sits inside the ear canal while the microphone and processor are in a small case behind the ear. These parts are connected by a small wire.
- “Mini” BTE or “on-the-ear” aids
This type of hearing aid is the smallest BTE hearing solution currently available. It is a small, sleek solution that fits behind the ear and uses a very thin tube in the ear canal. Some of them can be RIC, with the receiver, responsible for delivering sound, in the ear canal.
- BTE with earmold
BTE hearing solutions with earmolds have a longer shape that goes around the outer ear, following the contour. This style is often used for children since it is easy to reprogram and replace the earmold as the child grows.
These hearing solutions are worn in the ear canal and are fitted custom to each wearer. An impression of the ear is taken so the ITE hearing aid can be molded to provide a truly custom fit. Some styles sit fully inside the ear while others are closer to the outer ear.
Types of ITE hearing solutions include:
- Invisible in the canal (IIC) and Completely in the canal (CIC)
IIC and CIC are nearly the same styles, but IIC hearing solutions sit more deeply in the ear canal than CIC. These hearing solutions are typically used for people with mild or moderate hearing loss.
- In-the-canal (ITC)
An ITC hearing aid sits in the lower portion of the outer ear bowl and is slightly bigger than IIC and CIC styles. They usually have directional microphones and slightly longer battery life due to the larger size being able to hold a bigger battery.
These hearing solutions are quite similar to the ITC styles, with a design that ranges from a “half-shell” that fills half of the outer ear bowl to “full-shell” that fills the entire outer ear bowl. Due to the larger size, these hearing aids can hold a directional microphone and manual controls. This can help people with dexterity problems since it is easier to handle than other types of hearing solutions.
Unfortunately, the high price of hearing solutions can be a barrier for people with hearing loss. While the prices you see, ranging from $1,000 per ear and up, may seem ridiculously high, the truth is that there is not a huge margin on these devices. The reason for the high cost is because of the need for custom fitting and the advanced technology used to make these devices work.
Here at Puget Sound Hearing we understand that pricing can be a concern. That’s why we work with all the leading manufacturers of hearing solutions to find our patients the most affordable hearing solution for them, regardless of the brand. Our partner clinics work with patients to devise medically sound and budget-conscious treatment plans, because everyone deserves access to quality hearing care.
In general, classic BTE hearing solutions with tubing are the most popular hearing aid types. This is because the tubing and tips are easy to customize, making them comfortable for different ear sizes and shapes. They are also easy to remove and clean, with daily maintenance that can be managed without trips to your hearing clinic. BTE hearing solutions are also usually more budget-friendly if they require repairs.
The best hearing aid brand is the one that works for you and your unique situation. The answer to this question will depend on your specific needs, which can be determined with the help of trusted professionals.
At Puget Sound Hearing, we specialize in connecting patients to hearing solutions that best fit their lifestyles and hearing needs.
Connect with a hearing specialist who understands your unique case by finding a clinic near you today