Types of Hearing Aids

The two most common types of hearing aids are “in the ear” and “behind the ear” hearing aids.

In-the-ear hearing aids

What are they?

In the ear hearing aids are custom made to your personal hearing loss and are moulded to perfectly fit the shape of your ear. They comfortably fit in the ear canal and use the natural acoustics of your outer-ear to amplify sound. The microphone, amplifier, receiver, and battery of the hearing aid are all located within the ear canal, making this style of aid very discrete.

Do they suit my hearing loss?

In the ear hearing aids are best suited to people with a moderate hearing loss across all frequencies. If you have a high frequency hearing loss with good low frequency hearing, in the ear hearing aids may have an echo sound and behind the ear hearing aids should be considered instead (see below).

  • Very discrete
  • Don’t interfere with glasses or hair behind the ear
  • Easy to handle
  • Best type for people with a moderate hearing loss across all frequencies
  • Don’t suit all types of hearing loss
  • If something goes wrong, they need to be sent away for repair – your audiologist can’t usually fix them in house

Behind-the-ear hearing aids:

What are they?

Behind the ear hearing aids have a small device with the battery, microphone, and amplifier behind the ear. A thin wire then leads to the ear canal where the receiver is discretely hidden. This type of hearing aid can be very cosmetically appealing, as the wire is nearly invisible, and the receiver is completely concealed within the ear. Furthermore, the device behind the ear can be very small, and different colours can be chosen to match your hair or preference.

Do they suit my hearing loss?

The best thing about behind the ear hearing aids is that they suit people with all different types of hearing loss. In particular, for people with a high frequency hearing loss and normal low frequency hearing, this is the only type of aid to use. Behind the ear hearing aids are also recommended as the best option for profound hearing loss, as they have the capacity for big batteries and super-powered devices. However, this type of hearing aid is very versatile and suits any hearing loss.

  • Suit all types of hearing loss
  • Only type for low frequency hearing loss with normal low frequency hearing
  • Best option for profound hearing loss
  • They can be very cosmetically appealing
  • Can change the colour to suit hair or preference
  • Easily repaired in house by your audiologist
  • Can be tricky for people with cognitive issues (e.g. dementia) or dexterity problems (e.g. arthritis)

Features of Hearing Aids:

The National Acoustic Laboratory have published a guide to all the features you can expect from a pair of hearing aids, for more information see the guide below: 

NAL hearing aid features guide

If you are interested in any other types of hearing aids, feel free to discus this with your audiologist. Make sure you get the best type of aid for your hearing loss and budget.