Hearing aids are the most common and effective treatment for hearing loss. Hearing aids work by amplifying sounds so that the brain can interpret them. There have been many technological advances in hearing aids in recent years and newer models have many features. These can include automated settings, balancing out background noise and even Bluetooth compatibility. The three most common types of hearing aids are in the ear (ITE), behind the ear (BTE) and in the canal (ITC). An audiologist can recommend the most suitable solution depending on the needs of their patients. All hearing aids are specially-designed and custom-fit.

In-the-ear hearing aids

ITE hearing aids are worn entirely in the ear. The tiny components are inside a small shell which comes in different sizes and fits comfortably in the ear. This makes them very discreet and particularly convenient for people who also wear glasses. Volume and other settings can be adjusted with the use of a remote control and newer models can be connected wirelessly to your smartphone and other devices.

Behind-the-ear hearing aids

BTE hearings aids sit comfortably behind the ear. All the components include a loudspeaker and are enclosed in the housing and sound is transmitted to the eardrum through a small plastic tube placed in your outer ear canal. This tube also helps keep the hearing aid in place. They’re more visible than ITE options, but they’re small and discreet. You can even get micro behind-the-ear hearing aids which are smaller than other models. Newer BTE hearing aids are also equipped with external receivers and offer wireless functions.

In-the-canal hearing aids

ITC hearing aids are smaller versions of ITE hearing aids that fit in the ear canal, rather than over the whole concha of the ear. This makes them incredibly inconspicuous. ITC hearing aids are custom-made based on a mold of the patient’s ear. They are usually recommended for those with mild-to-moderate hearing loss and they can be less powerful than larger models. The advantage is, however, that because they’re tucked in the ear canal, they won’t get in the way of phone calls, and are barely noticeable once the patient gets used to them. Although they have an intricate design, most new models can be controlled using a smartphone app.

How an audiologist can help

A professional audiologist will be able to provide you with detailed advice on all types of hearing aids. They’ll assist you in choosing the right model for you and have it custom-fit to your ear. An audiologist will also offer their ongoing support and follow up appointments to ensure your hearing aid is working properly. They can even offer tips and suggestions to help you adjust to wearing a hearing aid. Hearing aids may feel a little bit disorientating at first, but you’ll quickly get used to them. They’re an effective solution to hearing loss, and with advances in technology, hearing aids have come a long way.