There are many styles of hearing aids. Factors that determine the style of the hearing aids that the individual client will use are the degree of the hearing loss, power and options requirements of the hearing aids in question, one’s manual dexterity abilities, and cosmetic concerns. Common hearing aid styles range from those molded to fit completely in the canal of your ear to those filling the lower portion of the bowl-shaped area of your outer ear to those fitted behind the ear.
Hearing aids that are small enough to fit completely inside the ear canal are generally most appropriate for adults with mild to moderate hearing loss. These small devices use tiny batteries that have a short charge life and do not have volume control or directional microphones. Similar hearing aids fit in the canal, but not as deeply, and may have some features such as volume control. However, the small size of the device makes manipulation of the controls difficult.
A smaller version of the in-the-canal hearing aid is the half-shell. The half-shell is custom molded to the lower portion of the bowl-shaped area of your outer ear. Typically, these models include features such as microphones and volume control that are easier to handle than smaller aids. This style is appropriate for mild to moderately severe hearing loss.
Full-shell hearing aids are also available. Full-shell hearing aids fit most of the bowl-shaped area of your outer ear. Appropriate for people with mild to severe hearing loss, this aid is easier to handle and has longer battery life, but is more visible to others and may pick up extraneous wind noise.
Another variety of the hearing aid is the type that hooks over the top of the ear and rests behind the ear. These behind-the-ear hearing aids are traditionally large and visible, but provide the best amplification and controls.
Hearing aids carry sound from the environment into the ear. The style needed is dependent upon the degree of hearing loss combined with budgetary and cosmetic concerns.