Types of hearing aids
Here is a brief description of the main types of hearing aids available.
• Behind-the-ear (BTE) types
The hearing aid rests behind your ear and a soft plastic tube connects it to an
that sits inside the ear to channel sound from the hearing aid into your ear. BTE hearing aids are very widely used. They come in various sizes, and there are models suitable for different degrees of hearing loss.
• In-the-ear aids (ITE) types
This type of hearing aid fits completely inside the outer part of the ear, and therefore does not require an
. Hearing aids of this type are not usually available on the NHS. They also tend to need more maintenance than behind-the-ear types.
• Body-worn hearing aids (BW) types
These have a small box containing the microphone and the working electronic parts. The box can be clipped to the user’s clothes or placed in their pocket. The box is connected to an
by a lead.
Body-worn hearing aids are typically very powerful and are generally used by those who have visual problems or those who find it difficult to use very small switches or buttons. However, only a very small proportion of people now use this type of hearing aid.
• Bone conduction hearing aids
Bone conduction hearing aids may be suitable for people unable to wear conventional hearing aids, or for those with conductive hearing loss. They incorporate a special headband to deliver sound through the skull by vibrations.
A special type of bone conduction device – called the bone anchored hearing aid (Baha®) – involves a small operation to attach the device to the bone behind the ear.
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