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A hearing device or hearing aid is an apparatus which typically fits inside or behind the ear and is designed to amplify incoming sound. Various makes and styles are available:

BTE Hearing Aid

Behind-the-ear (BTE)

BTE hearing devices fit behind the ear and provide sound to the ear through a tube, which connects to a custom-made earmold that sits inside the ear.  Sound is transmitted via air conduction.  BTE hearing devices can be used for mild to profound hearing loss, for children and adults.  Because of their durability and the ability to "grow" with the child (by changing the earmold as the child grows), along with their compatibility with assistive listening devices such as personal FM systems, BTE hearing devices are typically recommended for children. The devices come in a wide variety of colours, from inconspicuous skin tones to hair shades to bright hues.

Some BTE devices may also be "open-fit" devices, where a small plastic BTE case sits behind the ear with a small, fine, clear tube running into the ear canal. The device is secured in the ear canal by a dome or custom-made canal mold, leaving the ear more open and thereby reducing occlusion (but also increasing the possibility of feedback).  As well as being more open with less occlusion, because of the thin inner tube these devices are also more cosmetically appealing.

Rite Hearing Aid

Receiver-in-the-ear (RITE)

RITE devices are similar to BTE devices, but the speaker (receiver) of the hearing device is placed inside the ear canal and a thin electrical wire replaces the acoustic tube of the BTE device. The benefits of RITE devices include; smoother sound with less distortion, smaller size and more cosmetic appeal, a more "open fit" (ear less plugged up), and less feedback.

ITE Hearing Aid

In-the-ear (ITE)

ITE devices are custom made to fit in the outer ear bowl (called the concha). They can be used with mild to severe hearing loss. For more severe loss feedback (squealing or whistling caused by amplified sound leaking out of the device and being amplified again) can be a problem.  Because the receiver is inside the ear with these devices, they are susceptible to more problems or breakdowns due to wax build-up.

In The Canal Hearing Aid

Half-shell, (HS) In-the-canal (ITC), Mini-canal (MC), and Completely-in-the-canal (CIC)

HS devices are smaller than ITE devices, filling only the bottom half of the external ear.  ITC devices are smaller than HS, MC devices are smaller than ITC, and CIC devices are smaller than MC.  CIC devices are the smallest available and are not actually visible unless you look directly into the wearer's ear. These devices are intended for mild to moderately severe hearing loss. Their small size, with the receiver of the hearing device sitting closer to the eardrum, is an advantage although they do not provide as much gain as the larger devices and are generally more occluding (because they block the ear canal). They are also more susceptible to problems or breakdown caused by wax build-up.  Of all styles the CIC devices require a small battery that may need to be changed every two to three days.

 

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