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In The Ear Hearing Aids (ITE) / Full Shell - Advantages and Disadvantages

In The Ear (ITE) hearing aids are also sometimes referred to as Full Shell hearing aids or Custom hearing aids. They are so called because they are custom made to fit the full concha or opening of your ear. If you decide that an In The Ear (ITE) / Full Shell hearing aid is right for you then your audiologist will take a mould of the inside of your ear and from this your hearing aid will be manufactured. The entire workings of your hearing aid will then fit inside this custom shell.

In The Ear hearing Aids ITE

Since the introduction of Open / Receiver In Canal (RIC) hearing aids the popularity of In The Ear (ITE) / Full Shell has somewhat waned, however these devices can still be particularly well suited to people with dexterity issues or visual impairments and who need more power than be provided by smaller in the ear hearing styles such as In The Canal (ITC) hearing aids, Completely In the Canal (CIC) hearing aids and Invisible In the Canal (IIC) hearing aids.

As with all hearing aids types there are both advantages and disadvantages to In The Ear (ITE) / Full Shell hearing aids. Have a look at our summary of these below, or contact our expert team to find out more. We can also arrange for your free hearing test with one of our network of qualified local audiologists.

Advantages of In The Ear (ITE) / Full Shell Hearing Aids

Comfortable - because they are manufactured to a custom mould of your ear, In The Ear (ITE) hearing aids are extremely comfortable to wear.
Powerful - due to their slightly larger size, In The Ear (ITE) hearing aids are able to hold larger amplifiers and processors and in some models additional directional microphones. This means that they can be suitable for users with more severe levels of hearing loss than some of the smaller varieties of hearing aids.
Easy To Use - especially for people with dexterity issues or visual impairments, In The Ear (ITE) hearing aids can be much easier to use and control. This is because their larger size allows for more control buttons and switches to be incorporated into the body of the hearing aid itself. Thus if a user wants to change program of adjust the volume of their hearing aid they will be able to do so easily directly from the casing of the ITE hearing aid. It is also often easier to access the battery compartment.
Natural Use With Telephones - compared to many other types of hearing aids (such as BTE or Open/RIC) where a telephone has to be held slightly above or to the back to ear, because In The Ear (ITE) hearing aids have all of their functionality placed directly in the ear concha it means that when using the phone it can simply be held to ear as usual. This can be a real bonus for many people who find adjusting to an unnatural feeling phone position very difficult.
Easy To Insert/Remove - because of their larger size and single piece style, In The Ear (ITE) hearing aids can be much easier to put in and take off than other styles. Many people find that the smaller styles of in the ear hearing aids (such as In The Canal (ITC) hearing aids, Completely In the Canal (CIC) hearing aids and Invisible In the Canal (IIC) hearing aids) are too small and fiddly and the two piece design of Behind The Ear (BTE) and Open / Receiver In Canal (RIC) hearing aids can be difficult to position correctly.
Simple Cleaning and Maintenance - again due to their slightly increased size, In The Ear (ITE) / Full Shell hearing aids can be much easier to clean and maintain than some of the smaller styles (which some users find too fiddly) or the two piece Behind The Ear (BTE) or Open / Receiver In Canal (RIC) styles (which have more and often smaller parts to maintain). Also accessing and opening the battery compartment can be much easier with this style of hearing aid.

Disadvantages of In The Ear (ITE) Hearing Aids

Conspicuous - even though In The Ear (ITE) / Full Shell hearing aids are small enough to fit into your ear, they are actually one of the larger and more conspicuous types of hearing aids on the market. However most models do come in a range of colours to match your hair/skin tone.
Can Cause Occlusion - because the In The Ear (ITE) / Full Shell style of hearing aid completely fills the ear canal it cause issues of occlusion is some users. This causes symptoms such as; hearing your own voice louder or it sounding hollow, feeling that your ear is blocked or chewing food sounding noisy or unpleasant. However in many models vents can be included in the design which can help to alleviate this.
Less Powerful - even though In The Ear (IET) / Full Shell hearing aids are larger than many other types of hearing aids, they are still small enough to fit in your ear! This small size means that they are generally only able to take the smaller battery sizes which means that they may not produce enough power for some more severe levels of hearing loss, or the battery life may be much more limited. If higher levels of power or battery life are an important feature of your hearing aid then it may be worth looking at a Behind The Ear (BTE) style.
Costly - compared to some hearing aid types that have standard, rather than custom, fittings (such as Behind The Ear hearing aids), In The Ear (ITE) hearing aids can be more expensive.
Wind Noise - due to their position outside of the ear canal, In The Ear (ITE) hearing aids can be affected by wind noise, making it much more difficult to hear when you are outside in windy conditions. However many of the ITE hearing aids now feature technology which can isolate and reduce the sound of wind noise.

To find out more about In The Ear (ITE) / Full Shell hearing aids and many of the other hearing aid types available contact our experts today. We can also arrange for your free hearing test with one of our network of qualified local audiologists.

To View full details of other types of Hearing Aid in more detail, learn more by clicking on the links below

Behind The Ear Hearing Aids (BTE)
Open and Receiver In Canal Hearing Aids (Open / RIC)
In The Canal Hearing Aids (ITC)
Completely In the Canal Hearing Aids (CIC)
Invisible In the Canal Hearing Aids (IIC)
Super Power Hearing Aids

For more of a summary of each type of hearing aid available and what each represents you can view more by click the link.

Author: Paul Harrison

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