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Which Hearing Aid Style is Right for You?

an audiologist showing off new hearing aid brands

When choosing a hearing aid, one of the most important decisions you will make is regarding the style of hearing aid that you select. 

In this piece, we'll provide an in-depth overview of the three most common styles: behind the ear (BTE), in the ear (ITE) and in the canal (ITC), as well as information regarding how each style functions and the specific benefits it can offer to you.

BTE devices


  • The receiver sits behind the ear with the amplifier positioned over the front of the ear; the two are connected by a plastic tube. 
  • Available in two different sizes; the standard BTE size, and the smaller mini size.


  • Less likely to experience issues with feedback, earwax buildup and moisture.
  • As one of the largest styles of hearing aids, BTE devices are well suited to those with dexterity concerns as the size makes them easier to operate.
  • The larger size also means a larger battery, which in turn tends to result in longer battery life. 

Suitable for 

  • One of the major advantages of BTE hearing aids is that they are suitable for all degrees of hearing loss, ranging from mild-to-severe.

ITE hearing aids


  • ITE hearing aids are a single unit, which is designed to sit in the bowl of the ear. 
  • There are two different types of ITE hearing aids; full shell styles fill the majority of the ear bowl, while half shell is smaller and fill less of the ear.


  • Due to the nature of the style, ITE hearing aids need to be custom-made for each individual user – which results in a very comfortable fit .
  • Considered to be one of the least conspicuous styles of hearing aid.

Suitable for 

  • ITE hearing aids are predominantly suitable for mild-to-moderately-severe hearing loss.

ITC instruments


  • As with ITE devices, ITC hearing aids place the receiver and microphones are within the same unit. 
  • However, rather than filling the ear bowl, the device sits in the ear canal (hence the name of the style). 


  • One of the most discreet types of hearing aid; the unit is so small that it is often almost undetectable. 
  • While small – especially when compared to other styles – ITC hearing aids are still large enough to accommodate volume controls, which helps to increase usability.
  • As with ITE hearing aids, ITC devices are custom-made to fit each individual user, which helps to ensure a comfortable fit that can be worn all day long.

Suitable for 

  • ITC hearing aids are predominantly suitable for mild-to-moderate hearing loss.

The decision as to which style is most suitable for you is best discussed with your audiologist, as they will have the necessary insight and expertise to help ensure that you find a style that suits your personal hearing requirements and your lifestyle perfectly.