The Different Types of Hearing Aids

May 7, 2024

Hearing loss is relatively common in Australia, with a study by the AIHW showing that an estimated 15% of all Australians wear hearing aids. With this percentage likely to increase over the next few years due to the ageing population, more and more people will start to find themselves in need of hearing aids. 

The beauty of advanced medical technology is that hearing aids are more powerful than ever, and come in a variety of models and styles, which means that most people don’t even realise you’re wearing the aids! However, getting hearing aids is not as simple as picking out a pair of headphones. Hearing aids come in different types and styles, each designed to address specific hearing conditions. 

In this article, we’ll outline the different types of hearing aids available as well as what they are best suited for to provide a clearer idea of what to expect when it comes to getting the right hearing aids. 

How many types of hearing aids are there?

Innovations in hearing technology from leading global brands in the last 5 years have drastically expanded the number of hearing aid models on the market, but most of these models can be categorised into five main types of hearing aids. 

Why are there different types of hearing aids?

Different types of hearing aids are designed to provide specialised support for different levels of hearing loss or difficulty. Hearing loss is unique to each individual — some can experience difficulty hearing higher frequency sounds while others may have trouble detecting noises at lower frequencies. Because the full spectrum of hearing loss is so wide, it’s more effective for different types of hearing aids to be created to target specific areas of support. 

The use cases of hearing aids are also another major factor in the need for different types. Not everyone has the same preferences for hearing, and the availability of more models provides more flexibility for users in choosing the type of listening experience they want to have. 

What are the different types of hearing aids?

Here is an overview of the different types of hearing aids:

Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids

BTE hearing aids are appropriate for individuals who suffer from mild to severe hearing loss. They are worn around the ear with the majority of the device situated behind the ear and a connecting listening tube with a custom ear mould that fits into the ear. This model typically requires some dexterity to put on properly due to the number of parts and the method of wearing. 

In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids

ITE hearing aids are notably smaller devices, taking up either the full concha bowl of the ear (the space over the entire ear) or the half-shell of the ear, known as a half shell. The fitting and smaller size of these hearing aids make them easy to wear and are suitable for individuals with moderate to severe hearing loss. 

Receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) hearing aids

RITE hearing aids are visually similar to BTE hearing aids, with the main body of the device sitting looped over the top of the ear. The device is connected by a thin receiver wire that ends in a soft tip called a dome or custom mould that is placed within the ear canal. RITE devices are known to offer natural sound quality, physical comfort and discretion and are suitable for those with mild to severe hearing loss.

In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids

ITC hearing aids are the smaller version of ITE devices that are worn deeper in the ear canal. Their smaller size makes them less conspicuous, but also potentially more difficult to handle for people that may not have good hand dexterity. 

CROS/BiCROS hearing aids

CROS/BiCROS hearing aids use a combination of two hearing aid devices worn of both sides that work in tandem to deliver sound   hearing to one ear. This is typically the best option for individuals who suffer from a substantial hearing loss in one side compared to the other. The sounds from the poorer hearing ear are rerouted via microphone recording to the hearing aid in the other ear. 

Which type of hearing aids are right for me?

The type of hearing aid device that is right for you will depend on several factors ranging from the severity of your hearing loss, the size and shape of your ear, and your ability to independently handle and put on the hearing aids. To help you make an informed decision, audiologists will provide you with the best options based on your hearing condition, as well as your personal preferences. 

why are there different types of hearing aids?

How can I get checked and fitted for hearing aids?

Booking a consultation with a qualified audiologist is the first step toward getting hearing aids in Australia. During the consultation session, the audiologist will conduct a comprehensive hearing assessment of your hearing ability and ear health and use the results to find appropriate options for hearing aids for you. 

If you are looking to get fitted with hearing aids or need a new replacement for your existing devices, simply book a consultation with us at our audiologists in Perth today!

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