ITE hearing aids are inconspicuous devices, making them an attractive option.
An ITE hearing aid is an in-the-ear device. ITE hearing aids rest totally inside the outer ear and canal. These devices give the user the most extensive choice of attributes and are useful for hearing loss ranging from mild to severe.
Due to its larger size, an ITE hearing aid is often easier to handle when a patient has limited dexterity.
How Do ITE Devices Work?
A small, ear-shaped container designed to fit completely within the outer ear, an ITE hearing aid completely encloses the following components:
- Microphone – Receives sound waves sent over the airwaves, then converts the sound or noise to electrical signals. Once converted, those signals go directly to an amplifier.
- Amplifier – Intensifies the power in the electrical signals before sending them to a speaker.
- Speaker – Translates the electrical signals after the amplifier increases their power. Once translated, the speaker relays the sound to the ear.
- Power source – Usually the power source is a battery supplying power to the other components. ITE batteries are typically larger than many hearing aids.
Custom-detailed for individual designs, ITE hearing aids use two different techniques:
- One ITE device design fills the full shell of the outer ear, which includes nearly all of the bowl-shaped outer ear area. This design helps mild to severe hearing impairment.
- The other ITE hearing aid technique design shapes the hearing aid to fill only the lower half shell, or lower part, of the ear. Somewhat less conspicuous, this design also helps mild to severe loss of hearing.
What to Expect During an Evaluation for ITE Hearing Aids
Your audiologist will check your directional hearing along with your ability to distinguish between speech and background noise. Expect some measuring of your dexterity levels, such as having you handle small devices. ITE devices are difficult to remove from the ear if you experience problems handling small objects.
An examination of your ears will check for excess earwax, as the ITE device is not likely to be your best option if you have that condition. A mold or cast of your ears will help design ITE devices to fit exactly within your outer ear. You should feel no discomfort during this evaluation.
Benefits Associated with ITE Hearing Aids
Many benefits connected with using ITE devices for hearing assistance include:
- ITE hearing aids have a wider range of traits or features than other hearing aids
- Due to its slightly larger size, most ITE devices have volume control
- ITE hearing aids have a longer battery life because it uses a larger battery
- Because it is a little larger, people with decreased dexterity find ITE devices easier to handle on a daily basis
- It is completely contained within the outer ear, so it is less conspicuous than old-fashioned, larger devices
As with any product, people have personal preferences and ITE hearing aids do have some cons or drawbacks to them. They are more noticeable than other hearing aids which rest completely in the canal, and earwax might clog the speaker. Additionally, it is possible for the ITE device to pick up extraneous wind noise due to its position.