How Hearing Works
Your ear is composed of three parts, your outer ear, middle ear and inner ear. Sound is processed in three steps:
1. A sound is produced and sound waves are picked up by the outer ear. They are then channeled through the ear canal and strike the eardrum (tympanic membrane). The eardrum vibrates, transmitting the sound wave to three small middle ear bones.
2. The three middle ear bones (the hammer, anvil, and stirrup) receive, amplify, and transmit the vibrations from the eardrum to the cochlea of the inner ear.
3. The cochlea receives the vibrations, causing movement of the fluid within the cochlea. The nerve cells of hearing, called hair cells, are stimulated by the movement. The hair cells convert the movement into electrical impulses that are sent to the brain via the auditory nerve for processing.
Mini BTE with slim tube and tip
Mini BTEs hide behind the outer ear, with ultra-thin tubing to direct sound into the ear. This hearing aid style looks similar to the receiver-in-the-ear style. The tubing ends in a soft tip that sits within the ear canal without blocking it, for an open feeling as sound enters the ear naturally along with amplified sound from the tip. This open fitting method is recommended for mild to moderate high-frequency losses.
BTE Earmold Hearing Aids
The longer shape of BTEs with earmolds can hold more features and power than other designs. The color and style can be made to match the wearer’s hair or skin tones. BTEs with earmolds can be used to treat mild through profound hearing losses.
In-the-Ear (ITE) Hearing Aids
In-the-ear hearing aids look similar to in-the-canal hearing aids, but slightly larger, from half shell designs to full shell designs which fill the entire outer ear bowl. Like in-the-canal hearing aids, in-the-ear hearing aids can offer features like controls to activate special settings for different environments.
Completely-in-the-Canal (CIC) Hearing Aids
The smallest custom style, completely-in-the-canal hearing aids fit deep within the ear canal and are nearly invisible. They can be used to treat mild to moderate hearing loss.