What are the different types of hearing aids?

Hearing aids come in a variety of designs and with a wide range of functions and features to address an individual’s specific needs. The most basic components include a microphone, an amplifier, a receiver, and (in the case of digital hearing technology) a small processor/computer. The unprecedented effectiveness of modern digital hearing aids comes from a powerful combination of professional expertise, software, and hardware.


Fits behind the ear and has a tiny wire that connects between the device and a small speaker that sits directly in the ear canal and provides an open fit, preventing the “plugged up” feeling. The speakers provide a very high fidelity sound for a more natural sense of hearing.


Most parts are contained in a plastic case that rests behind the ear; the case is connected to an earmold or an earpiece by a piece of clear tubing. This style is often chosen for people because it can accommodate various earmold types, and provide extra power when needed. Also, the BTE aids are easy to be cleaned and handled, and are relatively sturdy.


All parts of the hearing aid are contained in a shell that fills in the outer part of the ear. The ITE aids are larger than the in-the-canal and completely-in-the-canal aids (see below), and for some people may be easier to handle than smaller aids.


These hearing aids are contained in tiny cases that fit partly or completely into the ear canal. They are the smallest hearing aids available and offer cosmetic advantages. However, their small size may make them difficult to handle and adjust for some people.