The sheer number of brands of hearing aids can be enough to confuse anyone looking to buy their first pair of hearing aids, let alone the different types. What are in-the-ear hearing aids? Are they the best option available? And should you get rid of your old devices and get a pair of in-the-ear hearing aids today?
Let’s take a look.
What Are In-The-Ear Hearing Aids?
In-the-ear hearing aids are hearing aids that go in the ear canal, and don’t sit behind the ear of the wearer. Consequently, in-the-ear hearing aids are usually less visible than other types of ear aids and don’t have any wires or tubes, as all the components are contained within the body of the devices.
For a hearing aid to be considered an in-the-ear hearing aid, the majority of the hearing aid needs to sit within the ear canal, with no part of the device sitting outside the aperture (opening) of the ear canal. This means that behind-the-ear (BTE) and receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing aids aren’t considered in-the-ear hearing aids, and the body of the device sits behind the ear.
Types of In-The-Ear Hearing Aids
In-the-ear hearing aids are a class of hearing aids, all usually no bigger than a thumbnail. This allows the devices to sit flush with the aperture of the ear, or completely within the ear canal.
There are several types of in-the-ear hearing aids, though the most common and popular options are:
CIC hearing aids usually sit 1/2mm inside the aperture of the ear canal. This means that the device sits in the first bend of the ear canal, and cannot be seen when facing eye-to-eye with the wearer. They may be visible when viewed from a 45-90° angle, from the side or rear.
IIC hearing aids sit completely within the second bend of the ear canal. These are the deepest hearing aids, and cannot be seen from any angle. Because they sit so deep, they are also some of the smallest hearing aids available.
Are In-The-Ear Hearing Aids Only Digital?
No, there are both analog and digital in-the-ear hearing aids, although digital in-the-ear hearing aids are much more common.
Are In-The-Ear Hearing Aids Better Than Behind-The-Ear?
All hearing aids have their advantages and disadvantages. For wearers, the trick is to find a hearing aid that fits into their budget and lifestyle, while still offering the essentials. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of in-the-ear hearing aids.
Advantages of In-The-Ear Hearing Aids
- Small. Easy to store and carry.
- Fits most ear canals.
- Digital hearing aid technology.
- Practically invisible to the naked eye.
- Bluetooth technology (if offered).
Disadvantages of In-The-Ear Hearing Aids
- Hard to insert for people with dexterity difficulties.
- Small size makes them easy to lose.
- Won’t fit all ear canals.
- Limited functionality compared to BTE and RIC.
In-The-Ear Hearing Aid Features
In-The-Ear hearing aids feature most, if not all, of the features wearers expect from modern hearing aids. These include:
Bluetooth connectivity comes in two forms: Bluetooth-enabled and Bluetooth streaming.
Bluetooth-enabled in-the-ear hearing aids usually connect to both Android and iOS smartphones, and allow wearers to adjust settings and volume via a dedicated, brand-specific app.
Bluetooth streaming in-the-ear hearing aids usually combine the functionality of Bluetooth-enabled devices, and add the ability to stream audio, like music and phone calls, directly from the smartphone. Some devices also allow audio streaming from TVs using a brand-specific streaming attachment that plugs into the back of the TV.
Vitally, hearing aids need to fit comfortably into the lifestyle of the wearer. That means they need to be on and working when needed. For many wearers, this means the hearing aids need to be rechargeable. Because of their small size, many in-the-ear hearing aids are rechargeable-only, as they are too small to fit traditional zinc-air hearing aid batteries.
Go Hearing offers two hearing aids, the Go Lite and the Go Prime, both of which are rechargeable devices. Wearers simply pop their hearing aids in a convenient charge and carry case to recharge. The charging case can recharge a pair of Go hearing aids up to six times before needing to be recharged itself.
Some in-the-ear hearing aids use advanced software that lowers the hearing aid’s volume if it detects loud noises and increases the volume of soft speech. This allows the wearer to have optimal hearing in different environments. This isn’t a common feature, and might increase the price of the hearing aid if offered as a feature.
Are In-The-Ear Hearing Aids for Everyone?
There is no hearing aid that’s perfect for everyone. The type of hearing aid someone with hearing loss needs depends on their unique hearing levels, with strong consideration given to budget and lifestyle. In-the-ear hearing aids offer a unique blend of features and discretion, but the size of someone’s ear canal or what they personally find to be comfortable might mean that they need to consider BTE or RIC devices instead.
When shopping for the best in-the-ear hearing aid online, look for a reputable brand that offers a trial or money-back guarantee on their hearing aids. This shows that they have confidence in the quality of the device.Go Hearing offers a 45-day, risk-free trial on both Go Lite and Go Prime hearing aids. Get your Go hearing aids today here.