Trying to figure out which hearing amplifier is best for you or a loved one can be difficult. Just when you thought your options were limited, you find out you were wrong!
There are many different types of hearing amplifiers and hearing aids to choose from. They all range from different prices, sizes and features. So which one should you choose?
In this article we will cover all the different types and provide the Pros and Cons for each one. This information will definitely help you when looking for a device to improve your hearing.
To start, here are the most popular styles of hearing aids:
- Completely in the canal (CIC)
- Canal aid, or in the canal (ITC)
- Full shell, or in the ear (ITE)
- Behind the ear (BTE) sometimes called Postauricular
- Body hearing aids
Those at the top of the list are normally the smallest, and the newest in the history of development of the hearing aid.
Pros and Cons for Each Type of Hearing Amplifier
Every type of hearing aid device has it’s benefits over the other. Some will prefer larger devices due to old age or difficulty manipulating smaller buttons. For that reason we provided a complete list of the advantages and disadvantages of each style of hearing device.
Completely in the canal (CIC)
Advantages of CIC:
- Small and discreet for cosmetic purposes.
- Efficient in delivery of high frequencies. (Outer ear collects and focuses high frequency sound waves to the gap of the ear canal).
- You may be ready to use a earplug or headsets commonly, as a result of the help is recessed within the ear.
- Sound are often reproduced while not driving the speaker into distortion, as speaker is close to the tympanic membrane.
Disadvantages of CIC:
- Usually most expensive instrument because of small size.
- Usually too little to having a volume management which will be used whereas within the ear.
- Not appropriate for severe to profound hearing losses. (Not enough power without having feedback)
- Not applicable for top frequency (ski-slope) sort hearing impairment. (Too much occlusion)
- Not steered for kids, as their ears grow too quick.
- Difficult to use and operate for persons with facility or sight issues. (Small size and battery)
- CIC hearing aids have the highest repair rate compared to other hearing aid types.
Ear Canal aid, or in the canal (ITC)
Advantages of ITC:
All of the advantages of the CIC above, although slightly larger. In addition:
Can have options such as volume control and multiple memories.
Can have a larger vent opening than a CIC
Can utilize more advanced circuitry because of more room for components
Disadvantages of ITC:
- Less expensive than CIC, but more expensive than larger aids.
- Can fit more types of hearing loss than CIC, but still not as severe and profound of loss as larger aids.
- Better than CIC for persons with dexterity problems, but still fairly small.
- Higher repair rate than ITE or BTE.
Full shell, or in the ear (ITE)
Advantages of ITE:
- Has higher retention in ear since it will lock in situ within the external ear.
- Room for a large vent, to reduce occlusion.
- Room for advanced circuitry and circuit options.
- Easier to handle and adjust.
- Usually less expensive the canal aid or CIC.
Disadvantages of ITE:
- ITEs are in the ear, but they can be more easily seen than the ITC and CIC.
- Higher repair rate than BTE, because of wax getting into speaker.
Behind the ear (BTE)
Advantages of BTE:
- The hearing aid fits over and behind the ear, so there is a great amount of flexibility as to what size or type of earmold fits in the ear or ear canal.
- Earmolds can be made of hard or soft materials, can be modified or changed at will and for less expense that remaking the shell of a custom type aid.
- Can be used for severe and profound hearing losses, as microphone is further from ear canal and feedback is less likely.
- Sometimes less expensive than custom aids.
- More choices are often elite, such as connections for assistive listening devices.
- Wide selection of case colours are often wont to mix with hair color.
- Larger controls and battery sizes are available
- Some people find something that must go both in their ear (the mold) and behind their ear to be cumbersome and difficult to put on and use.
- BTE is more visible for those without much hair.
- Can be more inconvenient for physically active person.
- More susceptible to moisture and perspiration damage.
- Eyeglass hearing aids are generally no longer available. If a manufacture can be found, it would be difficult to find someone who knows how to install and adjust them correctly to the frames.
Body hearing aids:
Advantages of Body Hearing Aids:
Highest power available, for severe and profound losses
Feedback is less of a problem because of the separation of microphone and speaker
Disadvantages of Body Hearing Aids:
- Inconvenience of a cord going from the body aid in your pocket or under your clothes to the ear.
- Clothes noise and wind noise.
- Less choice and technology is available since the number of units sold do not support new R & D.
- Background noise problems.
If you are considering the purchase of a hearing aid, use the criteria above to narrow your choice to two or three possibilities, then discuss the options with you hearing professional to select which would make the most sense for you. More information about the history of hearing amplifiers can be discovered on our home page.