Advantages and Disadvantages of Different Hearing Aids
People searching for their first hearing aid, or even looking to make a change, need to understand the strengths and weaknesses of behind the ear hearing aids (BTE), and full shell in the ear hearing aids (ITE). While both will help those coping with hearing loss, each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Behind The Ear
• They can be used for mild to severe hearing loss.
• BTE hearing aids amplify sound better than any other device.
• Because the electrical components are outside of the ear, the likelihood of them getting damaged from moisture and earwax is greatly reduced.
• If the BTE does get damaged, the earmold can be replaced rather easily since it is separate from the electrical components.
• Replaceable earmolds are great for children, whose ears tend to grow at a very fast rate and will need new molds frequently.
• Because BTEs are larger their parts, such as the battery, are easier to replace.
• Because they are large they are also noticeable. Not a problem for some, but many want their hearing loss to be as discreet as possible.
• The earmolds tend to wear out and will need to be replaced once the seal goes in order to keep them working at optimal levels.
In The Ear
• Perhaps the biggest advantage is that ITEs tend to be less noticeable than BTE units.
• Generally easy to insert into the ear.
• Great for moderate hearing loss.
• Because of the proximity of the microphone to the speaker, feedback can be a frequent problem.
• They may not be suitable for young children as they are hard to replace when the ear grows. However, recent developments in silicone have made this a bit easier.
• Adjusting the volume and changing the battery could be difficult because the device is a bit smaller.
While there are other, smaller types of digital hearing aids out there, these two categories tend to provide the best results for moderate to severe hearing loss. While many of the differences boil down to a question of aesthetics, it is important to do a bit of research on how the devices will perform for each type of hearing loss. It is important to keep in mind that hearing aids will not make the wearers’ hearing return to normal, which means finding a comfortable hearing aid that works could make all of the difference in coping with hearing loss.