Styles of Hearing Aids

There are 2 styles of hearing aids: Behind-the-Ear (BTE) or In-the-Ear (ITE).

Behind-the-Ear (BTE) Hearing Aids

The behind-the-ear style is recommended for babies and children for a number of reasons

  • They fit a wider range of hearing losses than in-the-ear hearing aids.
  • ​Batteries for behind-the-ear hearing aids are larger and last longer than in-the-ear hearing aids.
  • Safety is another reason to choose behind-the-ear style. The BTE hearing aid has a soft plastic earmold that fits inside the ear canal. In-the-ear hearing aid cases are made from hard plastic. If an in-the-ear hearing aid is damaged during play, the hard plastic may hurt a child's ear canal.
  • BTE hearing aids connect with and work easily with remote microphone systems to help children who are hard of hearing hear their teachers in the classroom better.
  • With a larger hearing aid case there is more room for special features that can be used as the child ages (e.g. program button, directional microphones, and Bluetooth compatibility).
  • BTE hearing aids come in more color options than ITE hearing aids.

Behind-the-ear hearing aid and earmolds 

In-the-Ear (ITE) Hearing Aids

In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids come in many sizes but typically are not appropriate until closer to the teenage years.

  • Children's ears grow rapidly during the early childhood years. With a behind-the-ear hearing aid, the only part that needs replacing as a child grows is the earmold. An in-the-ear hearing aid would require re-casing of the hearing aid each time they outgrow their current hearing aid. Recasing requires a hearing aid to be sent in to the manufacturer, leaving the child without the hearing aid for weeks.
  • Due to the hard plastic material, safety is a concern, as mentioned above.
  • In-the-ear hearing aids are not as easily compatible with the remote microphone systems often used in classrooms. It often requires an additional component that must be worn around the child's neck.
  • The smaller ITE hearing aids are often not large enough for special features that can be used as the child ages (e.g. telecoil and Bluetooth compatibility).

Behind-the-ear hearing aid and earmolds