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Hearing aid styles + models

Today there are many different styles of hearing aids. The one that is best for you will depend on many factors, including the amount of hearing loss you have and the listening situations you are in on a daily basis. The best way to determine the hearing aid that’s right for you is to have your hearing tested by a licensed audiologist and discuss the options available to you.

Behind the ear (BTE) – mini “open fit”

mini-bte-hearing-aidThis tiny hearing instrument sits behind/on the ear with a thin, almost invisible, tubing that sends sound to a dome (or speaker) in the ear canal. It leaves the ear canal open for an “open fit” that is comfortable and discreet. Available in a variety of colors, it’s a style that is a very popular choice for people who have a mild to moderate high frequency (high pitch) hearing loss. In fact, nearly half of the hearing instruments we dispense at CHC are mini open fits made by the leading hearing aid manufacturers Oticon, Phonak, Widex and Starkey (including Halo, a Made-for-iPhone hearing aid)..

Behind the ear (BTE) – traditional

bte-hearing-aidA “traditional” behind-the-ear hearing aid offers more power than a mini BTE and is a good solution for people with a more significant hearing loss. It rests behind the ear with a tube that carries amplified sound to the ear canal. The sound tube is often  connected to a plastic piece called an earmold that fits inside the ear.canal.  While appropriate for all ages, this style is ideal for young children because it can address more of their specific hearing needs. .

Completely in the ear canal

lyric-completely-in-ear-canal-hearing-adHearing instruments that fit completely in the ear canal are often a good option for adults with mild to moderate hearing loss who have the appropriate ear-canal size.. These aids are completely invisible and available as both daily wear and extended wear devices. Lyric (right) is an extended wear hearing instrument from Phonak that’s worn for months at a time, so it offers ease of use and the ability to hear as soon as you wake up in the morning. The Center for Hearing and Communication is pleased to be among the few audiology centers in Manhattan with expertise in fitting this remarkable device.

In the ear (ITE) and in the canal (ITC)

In-the-ear-hearing-aidIn-the-ear and in-the-ear-canal devices are custom fit to sit inside the ear or ear canal for maximum performance. Appropriate for mild to more severe hearing loss, this style of hearing device is available in colors that reflect a variety of skin tones ensuring a discreet appearance. Since all parts are contained within a single piece of shaped plastic, ITE/ITC styles are generally easy to insert, remove and manipulate. That makes them a good choice for older adults and anyone else with dexterity issues..


bone-anchored-hearing-aid-bahaBone-anchored hearing aids are used for people who cannot have anything in their ear canals due to any one of several medical conditions that prevent an aid from being worn safely in or on the ear. Certain BAHAs are designed to be surgically inserted into the bone behind the ear (mastoid bone). The bone-anchored aid is placed on the abutment; the aid transmits sound through the abutment through vibrations of the bones in the skull. Other BAHAs are also available in styles that do not require surgery.

Wireless connectivity and accessories

roger-pen-hearing-aid-accessoryMany of the hearing aid styles described above offer the ability to connect wirelessly to your phone, television, computer and other devices. Roger Pen (right), a portable microphone that improves people’s ability to understand speech in noise and over distance, is currently one of our more popular accessories. Smaller hearing aids tend to have more limited capabilities in this area, so be sure to discuss these features with a licensed audiologist.


psap-personal-sund-amplification-productPersonal sound amplification products (PSAPs) are devices that are not classified as hearing aids but offer the ability to effectively amplify sound in certain listening situations. The model we carry at CHC is the CS50+ from Sound World Solutions. It has the look of a Bluetooth headset that you often see people wearing for work or recreation with a price tag that is budget friendly. It’s best to see your audiologist for a complete hearing evaluation before determining if a PSAP is right for you.

Read Sound World CS50+ review in the NYT (7/15/16) »