What Are Different Types of Hearing Aids?

Medically Reviewed on 9/2/2021
what are different types of hearing aids
Many types of hearing aids are available, and the best one for you will depend on your needs, preferences, lifestyle, and type of hearing loss

If you have hearing loss, your doctor may recommend wearing a hearing aid, which is a small electronic device that magnifies sound waves.

While hearing aids can’t restore normal hearing, they can improve your overall hearing ability and your quality of life. Many types of hearing aids are available, and the best one for you will depend on your needs, preferences, lifestyle, and type of hearing loss.

5 common types of hearing aids

1. Behind-the-ear (BTE)

  • Good for mild to severe hearing loss
  • Must be worn behind the ear
  • Connects to the earmold placed in the ear canal
  • Can cause a whistling sound if poorly fitted
  • Recommended for children

2. In-the-ear (ITE)

  • Good for mild to severe hearing loss
  • Mostly helps improve telephonic calls
  • May be difficult to adjust due to its small size
  • Can be damaged by ear wax

3. Canal aids: in-ear-canal (ITC) and completely-in-canal (CIC)

  • Good for mild to moderate hearing loss
  • Fits directly in the ear canal
  • Can be customized according to the size and shape of the ear

4. Receiver-in-canal (RIC) and receiver-in-the-ear (RITE)

  • Good for mild to severe hearing loss
  • Have components behind the ear and receiver in the ear or canal attached by a wire

5. Body aids

  • Mainly used for severe hearing loss or when other aids are not helpful 
  • Attached to a belt or pocket and connected to the ear by a wire

What features should you look for in hearing aids?

When deciding on the best hearing aid for you, it’s important to understand what features are available and which are most important to you. Hearing aid features include:

  • Direct audio input: Helps plug in directly to the TV or any music device.
  • Directional microphone: Helps pick up sound coming from the front and block sound coming from the back or sideways. It improves hearing in places with a lot of background noises.
  • Wireless connectivity: Helps connect with some Bluetooth-compatible devices. This feature may need other intermediary devices to send signals to hearing aids.
  • Remote control: Allows settings to be controlled through a remote control.
  • Variable programming: Comes with several program settings for different needs and different surroundings.
  • Telephone switch: Filters background sounds and helps with hearing in theaters, auditoriums, etc.
  • Synchronization: Helps synchronize the functions of multiple devices.

How to choose the correct hearing aid

There are many factors to consider while choosing a hearing aid, including:

  • Shape of the outer ear
  • Depth and length of the ear canal
  • Type and intensity of hearing loss
  • Ease of removing and inserting the hearing aid
  • Amount of wax that accumulates in the ear

How to take care of hearing aids

You need to take good care of hearing aids for them to function properly. Tips that can make them last longer include:

  • Keeping the hearing aids dry and away from moisture
  • Keeping them away from heat, hair sprays, and pets
  • Switching them off when not in use
  • Reading the labels and clean them according to the instructions


What is hearing loss? See Answer

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Medically Reviewed on 9/2/2021
Johns Hopkins Medicine. Hearing Aids. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/hearing-loss/hearing-aids

Mayo Clinic. Hearing Aids: How to Choose the Right One. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hearing-loss/in-depth/hearing-aids/art-20044116

WebMD. Hearing Aid Basics. https://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/hearing-aids#1