What are the Different Styles of Hearing Aids?

Hearing Aid Choices

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to choosing a hearing aid. You will have to think about the features you are looking for, how the device feels to wear, whether the device is compatible with your lifestyle and much more. However, before these considerations can be made, you will first need to look at which overarching style of hearing aid you would prefer.

While there are many different styles of hearing aids, there are three in particular that tend to be the most popular: behind-the-ear (BTE), in-the-ear (ITE), and in-the-canal (ITC). Below, we’ve provided a guide to each of these styles in more depth, so you can have a better idea of which might be the best choice for you.


  • BTE hearing aids are suitable for mild to profound hearing loss. 
  • With BTE hearing aids, the receiver and the microphone are separate: the receiver sits behind the ear, and the microphone is located close to the ear canal. The two separate components are connected by a plastic tube. 
  • This style of hearing aid is known for its power, battery life, and ease of use, which is mainly attributable to the larger size of the design. 
  • BTE devices are also one of the easiest types of device to keep clean, as the device is not placed particularly close to the ear canal - which helps to reduce issues such as moisture or ear wax buildup.


  • ITE hearing aids place the microphone and the receiver in a single unit. This unit is then placed in the outer ear. “Full shell” designs cover most of the outer ear, while “half shell” designs are smaller and less conspicuous still; both models are custom-made for the individual user. 
  • ITE hearing aids offer excellent directional sound quality thanks to the use of twin microphone technology.
  • Though how long a hearing aid battery will last is always somewhat dependent on usage, ITE hearing aids can accommodate larger batteries which tends to be conducive to good battery life 
  • This style of hearing aid can be used by individuals with mild to severe hearing loss.


  • Similar to ITE styles, the microphone and the receiver are located in the same unit. However, ITC devices are placed in the ear canal rather than covering a portion of the outer ear.
  • While ITC devices are not entirely invisible when in place, they are considered to be one of the least conspicuous styles of hearing aid but remain powerful enough to offer a good range of features and functions.
  • ITC hearing aids are only suitable for those with mild to mildly-severe hearing loss. 
  • This style of hearing aid also uses twin microphones, and as the device has to be custom-designed for each user, are considered to be very comfortable to wear.

Which hearing aid style should you choose?

The above should give you an idea of what to expect from BTE, ITE, and ITC hearing aids, and you may already have an inkling as to which you believe may be most suitable for you. However, it is always important to seek the advice and guidance of your audiologist prior to making your eventual decision.