If your doctor has recommended that you get a hearing aid, then you have quite a few different options to choose from. It can be difficult to figure out which aid is best for you without knowing all the facts. To help you get started, here is a comparison of the different types of hearing aids:
- Behind the Ear (BTE) - BTE units sit on the back of the ear, and are usually attached via a hook that rests on top of the ear. As you might expect, BTE's are also the most visible type of hearing aid. If you aren't concerned with having a very visible hearing aid, then a BTE could be an excellent choice for you. The increased exposure of the aid also means that it is much easier to remove the hearing aid and that there will be minimal discomfort to your inner ear. The more of the hearing aid that is outside your ear, the more comfortable you will generally be.
- On the Ear (OTE) - If you want an option that is a bit smaller than a BTE, then an OTE could be a good choice. OTE's are a little harder to spot than BTE's, but they can still be easily seen. Their smaller size also means that they are either a little less effective or a little more expensive than a corresponding BTE unit, but the steady improvement of technology is closing the gap every day.
- In the Ear (ITE) - If you are really uncomfortable with the idea of a visible unit, yet have sensitive ears, an ITE unit is an excellent compromise. It combines the easy access of larger, external units with the low visibility of internal units. To be precise, an ITE unit sits in the ear, but is not entirely in the canal. It is hard to spot if someone is looking at you from ahead or behind, but is somewhat easy to spot when viewed from the side. Visibility can be reduced even further by getting a flesh-colored ITE aid.
- In the Canal (ITC) - Finally, if your primary concern is the visibility of the aid, then an ITC unit is your best option. ITC units are extremely difficult to spot, unless the viewer knows exactly what they are looking for. That being said, ITC units are also the most uncomfortable of the common hearing aids, since they are placed so deep in the ear. ITC units are also less than ideal for children, since their ears will grow in the immediate future. If you get your child an ITC, then they might need to get a new hearing aid in a few short years, when their ear canal changes shape. If you give your child a BTE or OTE, then they might be able to keep their unit for a substantially longer period of time.
For more information, contact a professional like those at Audiology Consultants, P.C.