If you’ve spent time researching hearing aids online, you’ve noticed that they come in several different types and styles. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to understand the difference between them.
There are two main types of hearing aids, In-the-Ear and Behind-the-Ear. We categorize all hearing aids that sit behind the ear as Behind-The-Ear hearing aids. All hearing aids that sit in the ear we call In-The-Ear hearing aids. We call this categorization the hearing aid Type.
Here is a quick guide on the 2 styles of behind-the-ear hearing aids and how they can boost your quality of life.
Behind-The-Ear Hearing Aids
Behind-the-ear hearing aids work for any type of hearing loss. In addition, today’s BTEs almost always come with wireless and Bluetooth connectivity and rechargeability.
This hearing aid type allows for an “open fitting.” Open Fittings enable the hearing aid to supplement the wearer’s remaining hearing abilities. It also alleviates a plugged or hollow feeling called occlusion.
As we said earlier in the post, there are two main styles of Behind-The-Ear hearing aids. They are as follows: Behind-The-Ear and Receiver-In-The-Ear.
Receiver Replacement Is The Key
Now I know you’re thinking, wait a minute, so Behind-The-Ear is both a type and a style of hearing aid? The answer is yes.
What makes a BTE hearing aid different from a RITE hearing aid is where the receiver is on the device. What’s a receiver? The receiver converts voltage from the power amplifier into sound waves we hear.
BTEs have a receiver in the body with the rest of the hearing aid components that sit behind the ear. Tubing runs from the case to the ear canal to deliver sound to the eardrum. This is the feature that makes BTEs attractive to certain people.
Let’s say you suffer from ears that drain or are excessively waxy. These problems can cause maintenance issues. Having the receiver in the body instead of in the ear keeps it out of harm’s way. Also, we can change the tubing in the office if it gets clogged or wears down.
Receiver-in-the-Ear Hearing Aids
Receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) hearing aids are also called Receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing aids. They are a popular choice among hearing aid wearers, and for a good reason.
Like BTEs, RITEs have most parts housed in a casing that sits behind the ear. The difference is that the receiver sits in the wearer’s ear canal and connects to the hearing aid with a wire.
Since the receiver is inside the ear, its more susceptible to moisture and ear wax damage. We can change the receiver in the office, but it’s more expensive to replace than the tubing.
So it seems that BTEs with tubing is better, right? Unfortunately, that’s not the case. The further the receiver is from the eardrum, the less efficient the system becomes. This distance can cause slight changes in gain levels at the eardrum. So we’d have to drive the hearing aid harder to compensate. Also, the tubing causes resonances that we need to remove for natural sound quality.
Having the receiver in the ear gives the system the best headroom possible. This helps lower the noise floor and provides clean natural sound quality.
Deciding Between BTE and RITE
So what’s better? BTEs or RITEs? Well …. it depends on who is asking. There’s no best solution for everyone, and sometimes we must compromise.
Maintenance is the most significant factor you should consider when deciding between them. If you have any ear issues that would cause maintenance problems, then BTEs may be the better choice. Especially if you are concerned about the cost of keeping the device working.
RITEs are a fine choice if you have healthy ears, and they can give you years of clear hearing. The sound quality advantages, while not significant, may be enough to justify going with a RITE.
Choosing the Best Hearing Aid For You
Buying a hearing aid does not have to be a complicated process. The good news is we are here to help. Our expert audiologist can help you choose the best hearing aid for you.
At Comprehensive Hearing Solutions, we don’t take a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, we focus on providing comprehensive hearing solutions in a way that is both comfortable and easy for you.
If you have hearing problems, don’t let them affect your quality of life. Instead, schedule an appointment today to find out how our behind-the-ear hearing aids can benefit you.