In-the-ear or behind-the-ear hearing aids? Which is better?

Advantages and disadvantages
Last update on Jun, 16, 2021

Which is the best type of hearing aid?

Hearing aids are small electronic devices that allow people with sensorineural hearing loss to regain some of their hearing. There are currently several models available on the market varying in price, size, features, ear placement and visibility, to fit a wide range of personal needs. Let's compare them:

Comparison: main differences

The most common types of hearing aids are BTE (behind the ear), RITE (receiver in the ear) and ITE (in the ear).

In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids

In-the-ear hearing aids are custom-made to fit the shape and size of your ear canal. They are an excellent solution, that is both aesthetically pleasing and comfortable, as it is inserted into the ear and is therefore practically invisible to the naked eye.

For which user are ITE indicated?

ITE hearing aids are recommended for people with mild to moderate hearing loss. Ideal for those who value comfort and discretion and can afford slightly higher costs.

Different types of in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids

There are three types of in-the-ear hearing aids; the regular ITE (In-the-ear) hearing aids, where the shell is inserted into the ear canal; ITC (In-the-canal) hearing aids, which are placed directly in the ear canal; CIC (Completely In Canal) hearing aids, which feature a thin nylon string to pull them out of the canal.

Advantages of in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids

Thanks to their small size, ITE hearing aids are lightweight and practical, designed for the style-conscious who want an almost invisible solution. Their main advantages include: 

  • discretion;
  • the ability to transmit clear, natural sound;
  • comfort, especially if you wear glasses or play sports.

Disadvantages of in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids

Some of the disadvantages of choosing this type of hearing aid include:

  • suitable for people with mild or moderate but not severe hearing loss;
  • a higher price;
  • less battery life than other models.

Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids

Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids house all components behind the ear, connecting the hearing aid to an earmold that fits in the ear canal with a clear tube. They are available in a wide range of colors to best match your complexion.

For which user are BTE indicated?

BTE hearing aids are ideal for people with moderate to severe hearing loss, particularly those with small ear canals or less dexterity when using hearing aids. Though still not very discreet, nowadays BTEs are much sleeker and thinner than traditional models.

Advantages of behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids

Its main advantages include:

  • ease of adjustment and cleaning; 
  • a longer lasting battery;
  • greater power

Disadvantages of behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids

The most obvious disadvantage of choosing this type of hearing aid lies in its less discrete nature, which is caused by its considerably larger size.

Receiver-in-the-ear-canal (RIC) hearing aids

The receiver-in-the-ear (RIC) hearing aids are placed behind the ear and are connected by a thin wire to a speaker inside the ear canal opening. They are smaller and less noticeable than traditional behind-the-ear hearing aids, making them the perfect combination of efficiency and aesthetics. They are also adaptable to any ear canal.

For which user are RIC indicated?

RIC hearing aids are a great solution for moderate to severe hearing loss. The receiver is covered with a silicone sleeve so it can fit in any ear canal. Due to their user-friendly design, RIC hearing aids are ideal for first-time users.

Advantages of RIC hearing aids

Its main advantages include:

  • greater discretion in use;
  • the possibility of using rechargeable batteries; 
  • practicality.

Disadvantages of RIC hearing aids

The main disadvantage of this model lies in its vulnerability to moisture and earwax, which requires careful maintenance.

Conclusion: the best model for you

Hearing aids should be selected, first and foremost, based on the type and severity of the hearing impairment and, secondly, based on your aesthetic and lifestyle needs. Every person is unique, so we recommend that you consult a hearing care professional who can help you find the best solution for you.

Other questions? Come and visit us in an Amplifon center

Book an appointment and come and visit us at one of our Amplifon centers, our hearing care professionals will be ready to answer any of your curiosities about the world of hearing and to show you our range of Amplifon hearing aids.

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