What styles of hearing aids are there?
The style of a hearing aid refers to how and where it is worn. Babies and young children will normally be fit with the most common hearing aid style, behind-the-ear (BTE), that come in compact sizes, a variety of bright, cheerful colors and can help a wide range of hearing losses. Another common style is in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids, which are custom made and fit inside the ear. These can help with mild to moderate hearing losses and is available in additional styles: in-the-canal (ITC) and completely-in-the-canal (CIC). These styles were created for adults who had already developed language skills before acquiring a hearing loss. Adults are often willing to compromise hearing ability for appearance. However, ITEs are not receommended for young children as they need the best auditory signal that can be provided. ITEs may be an option for some children when they are older. For young children who have not yet had the opportunity to learn speech and language, BTE hearing aids are the most appropriate technology, offering a number of advantages over other styles of hearing aids for young children. The most important advantage is their flexibility in providing adequate access to sound stimulation for the development of the hearing center in the brain.
Another option for older children are external receiver style hearing aids. The microphone remains in the BTE casing but the receiver is externally placed in the ear canal. This allows the hearing aid to be smaller and more cosmetically appealing.
The decision whether your child should be fit with one or two hearing aids depends mainly on the configuration of the hearing loss. However, if there is a hearing loss in both ears, wearing two hearing aids is recommended as it helps with localizing sounds and allows improved hearing, especially in noisy environments.
Phonak acknowledges the permission and assistance of the following organizations for their expertise in this portion of our website:
- The Better Hearing Institute
- The Infant Hearing Guide