In the Ear Hearing Aids v. Behind the Ear Hearing Aids: Which Are Right for You?Published On: June 19, 2019
While hearing loss is something we can expect with old age, it’s important to note that it happens to younger people, too. It’s so common that 1 in 8 Americans aged 12 years or older has hearing loss in both ears. About 2 to 3 babies out of 1,000 children born even already have some form of hearing loss.
However, not all people seek treatments since many don’t experience a noticeable drop in their quality of life. Still, hearing aids can improve your daily life even if you only have mild hearing loss. You only have to choose the right style for you, whether that’s in the ear hearing aids or behind the ear hearing aids.
To help you choose, read our guide below on both models and on what factors to consider.
What Are in the Ear Hearing Aids?
As the name suggests, in the ear (ITE) hearing aids are those that extend into the ear canal. It’s a small piece of equipment that fills the entire concha. It can be flesh-colored, and it’s customizable to fit the shape of the person’s ear.
Pros and Cons of ITE Hearing Aids
ITE hearing aids are more common for a variety of reasons, with it being inconspicuous as its greatest advantage. Since it looks like a plug that’s colored and shaped like the ear, many might not even notice you’re wearing it until they look at your ear and see the absence of a hole.
It also allows the wearer to wear glasses with no worries, as well, since there’s no device that takes up space behind the ears. They’re pretty comfortable to wear, too, even though they fill your ear entire canal.
The downside is that it’s more susceptible to earwax, hence it requires more maintenance than other types. It’s also rather small, which means those with dexterity issues may have a hard time using its controls.
What Are Behind the Ear Hearing Aids?
Behind the ear (BTE) hearing aids are what you may be more familiar with because of its looks. It’s the type of hearing aids that has the device hooked up behind the ear with a tube of some sort running around the ear and going into the ear canal.
The device behind the ear houses the microphone, sound processor, and the speaker. The part that goes into the ear canal delivers the sound.
Pros and Cons of BTE Hearing Aids
BTE hearing aids are more durable in general, thanks in part to the fact that it’s less susceptible to moisture and blockages. Due to this, it’s easier to maintain and keep pristine over time.
Some people find it more comfortable to wear, too, since it doesn’t make contact with the ear canal. It has minimal feedback because the hearing aid parts are farther apart from each other. It can have stronger amplification qualities, although that may mean that it can pick up more wind noise.
Since it sits outside the ear, it stands out more than ITE models, but note that there are some products that are smaller and have a more unnoticeable design. The sound quality may also not be better than other types of hearing aids.
How to Choose Between ITE and BTE Hearing Aids
Knowing the pros and cons of ITE and BTE hearing aids can help you choose which is better for you, but there are more factors you need to consider to know the exact type that’s right for you.
1. Know Your Type of Hearing Loss
ITEs are great for mild to severe hearing loss and are less noticeable. BTEs take more space, are easier to spot due to their large design, but they last longer with their bigger batteries.
2. Consider Your Lifestyle
Your environment will have an impact on your choice,
If you wear glasses, you’ll also have to think about how ITE and BTE will affect that. You can wear glasses with both, but ITE, for example, doesn’t pose an issue at all. With BTE, you’ll have to put on and take off your glasses with special care, meaning you can’t yank it off your face anymore.
3. Read Hearing Aid Reviews
The best way to get a grip of how ITE and BTE hearing aids work and feel is to get some stories from the actual wearers. Read reviews of both models and see what the wearers like about their hearing aids and what kind of problems they’re having.
If you have already chosen from the two, then read reviews as to what brand and model you should get. Price is an important factor, but the functions are what you should consider the most. Look for a model that provides for your exact needs at a price you can afford.
4. Consider Your Cosmetic Preferences
If you care what your hearing aids look like to other people, ITE models may be better for you. ITE hearing aids can be almost invisible if you get the right models.
However, do note that there are already BTE models that are quite inconspicuous, too. Some have transparent tubes that won’t stand out too much, which is good given that the device hides behind the ear anyway.
Learn More About Hearing Aids and Hearing Loss
There are so much to learn about in the ear hearing aids, other types of hearing aids, and hearing loss, in general. To get acquainted with the subject, check out our other posts today and learn the causes of hearing loss and what you can do about it