Hearing aids are incredible pieces of technology that provide ample hearing support. These medical devices have experienced significant advancements over the years and are savvier than ever before. There is a wide range of options, types, and features that are designed to maximize hearing capacity and easily integrate the device into daily life. Hearing aids are an essential tool for people with hearing loss as they help wearers navigate environments and communicate with greater ease, comfort, and safety. With so many options, learning more about hearing aids can help you make the most informed decision when selecting a device that is optimal for you.
How Hearing Aids Work
Though there is a wide range of hearing aid options that are available today, all devices are made with the same basic components:
The fourth component of all hearing aids is the battery source which powers the device. Hearing aids are powered by either disposable batteries or a rechargeable battery which is becoming increasingly common.
Common Types of Hearing Aids There are several types or styles of hearing aids. This describes how and where hearing aid components (microphone, amplifier, receiver) are positioned and worn. Hearing aid manufacturers use the same 3 to 4 letter acronyms to describe the specific type of hearing aid.
Common types include the following:
BTE hearing aids are likely what you imagine when you think of hearing aids. Electronic components are in a hard plastic case that is worn behind the ear. A small wire connects this case to an earmold that sits inside the outer ear. The microphone is built into the earmold which absorbs sound and sends it to the amplifier (behind the ear). The amplifier then sends it to the speaker which is back in the earmold. BTE hearing aids are best suited for people with mild to profound hearing loss.
This type of hearing aid is a smaller version of the standard BTE type. Part of the device still sits behind the ear while a thin tube connects it to an earpiece that is worn in the ear canal rather than the outer ear.
ITE hearing aids are worn inside the outer ear without any components that sit behind the ear. All hearing aid components are in a small case that is fitted to the outer portion of the ear (based on molding taken off the ear). ITE types work best for people with mild to severe hearing loss.
IIC types are made using a custom mold of the wearer’s ear to ensure a perfect fit. This hearing aid is designed to be worn deeply in the ear canal and is the smallest type of device that is available.