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What's the Difference between Behind The Ear and In The Ear Hearing Aids?

Finding the right hearing aid or realizing the necessity for one is not always easy. According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, one out of every fifth person who needs a hearing aid actually uses one. This means that more awareness is needed to pinpoint the advantages and possibilities of different hearing aids. There are six different types of hearing aids. In this post we look at the differences between the two types Behind the Ear and In the Ear hearing aids.

What is the difference between BTE, ITE and ITC Hearing Aids?

The three main styles are behind the ear (BTE), in the ear (ITE), and in the canal (ITC). Each of these, respectively, offers a wide array of solutions varying in size, colour, design, features, sound processing, etc. Our hearing aids fall into the two categories – behind the ear and in the canal. It is important to remember, though, that every person is different so there is not a universal device. Depending on the specific case, we will recommend one or another aid as more appropriate. You can talk to our team of audiologists for advice by clicking on the chat icon on the bottom right of the screen.

Behind the Ear Hearing Aids


HDR200 Rechargeable hearing aidHDR 200 Rechargeable hearing aid

Behind the ear hearing aids are one of the most popular devices for hearing help. They consist of a small plastic case that is located behind the ear, a dome that goes into the outer ear, and a connecting thin tube that amplifies the sound. All the electronics such as the microphone, battery, controls, and often the loudspeaker, are discreetly hidden in the case, while the almost invisible thin tube connects it to the open-fit dome. As the electronics are outside the year, they are protected from clogging and are easy to maintain and clean.

In the Ear Hearing Aids

Another type of hearing device is the in ear hearing aid. It is suitable for mild to profound hearing loss depending on the style and fit. Offering in essence the same functions as the behind the ear hearing aid, it is different in size and location. This type of hearing aid is placed entirely in the ear. The small hard case contains all the necessary electronics, controls, microphone, and telecoil feature if present.

Most in the ear hearing aids are custom made to fit the individual ear and could be visible when there is face-to-face interaction. Use by children is not common as with growth, the aid will become too small and would need to be replaced and that could become an expensive process. One of the problems with in the ear hearing aids may come from earwax and moisture finding its way into the aid that could be detrimental to the device, so one should be careful and clean it regularly.

In the Canal Hearing Aids

HD 91 Hearing aidHD 91 Hearing Aid
In the Canal Hearing Aids are even smaller than In the Ear devices and fit inside the ear canal. You can remove them using the tiny pull cord left sticking out of the ear. They are usually mostly invisible and comfort can be increased by varying the size of the dome that comes with it.

Comparing Behind the Ear and In the Canal Hearing Aids

Both types of hearing aids have their advantages. However, choosing a hearing aid should be done depending on its functions, not purely on aesthetic reasons. Here is a list of the main features of both hearing aids.

Benefits of behind the ear hearing aids:

  • durable battery life as the battery can be larger and will last for longer
  • easy to clean and maintain
  • suitable for people with an earwax build-up
  • range of colors and sizes
  • possibility for connection to bluetooth (in more expensive aids only)
  • some can also be used with a range of specialized devices to help you hear better in crowded spaces

Benefits of in the ear hearing aids:

  • small and discreet
  • custom size

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