Shopping for a hearing aid can be a confusing process when there are so many places you can turn to research your options.Choosing a hearing aid style is just one step in the process. One important thing to keep in mind is that hearing aids aren’t one-size-fits-all, straight from the box products. They should be tailored to fit your life and your needs.

One of the many options you have to choose from is whether you prefer an open fit or in the ear style. An open fit hearing aid refers to any style that sits behind your ear rather than inside your ear canal. These have come a long way from the big bulky flesh-tone contraptions you are imagining right now. The design of most open fit hearing aids has advanced so that they are small and very discrete.

An in the ear style hearing aid does just that- sit within you ear. These styles range in size from the very tiny options that are placed deep within your ear canal to the larger options, which fill the entire bowl shaped area of your outer ear.

Both styles have their own advantages and disadvantages. The style you choose will depend on your personal preferences and your hearing loss.

Open fit advantages

  • Diminish the occlusion effect, or plugged up feeling that can bother in the ear style hearing aid wearers.
  • Small and lightweight and come in a variety of colors to match your hair or skin tone.
  • Do not need to be custom made so they can be fit and programmed on the same day.
  • Often cheaper than other styles.

Open fit disadvantages

  • Small batteries with short lives
  • Limits to the amplification of sound frequencies.

In the ear advantages

  • Placed much closer to the eardrum simulating natural sound reception.
  • Some styles are nearly invisible.
  • Must be custom molded to fit comfortably in your ear.

In the ear disadvantages

  • Leaves some people with a plugged up feeling.
  • Placement makes them susceptible to more moisture and earwax. They need frequent cleaning.
  • Some are very tiny making them difficult to manage for those with dexterity trouble.
  • Those same small styles often are too small to hold advanced features like multiple channels.

With so many different types of hearing aids on the market it is important to work with your hearing specialist to find a balance between your hearing loss, your budget and your lifestyle. Remember, the smallest hearing aids do not provide as much power as other models, this means they might not work for your level of hearing loss. A Hearing Specialist will diagnose your degree of hearing loss and guide you through the process of choosing a hearing aid style for your specific needs. The best way for you to decide what type of device works best for you is to utilize a 30-day trial. This helps you determine if the hearing aid is comfortable and more importantly that it helps you hear in those situations where you need it most.