In-the-ear Hearing Aids

Also known as ITE Hearing Aids

Woman holding up an ITE hearing aid

According to our own research, 4.25% of people have a problem with the aesthetic appearance of their hearing aids. When asked to imagine a hearing aid, many people will picture a bulky, chunky piece of plastic that juts out of the side of your head, since that’s all we’ve been exposed to throughout the last few decades.

But has it ever occurred to you that there might be a bit of anchoring principle in that belief? That maybe you only think of hearing aids as unsightly because those are the only ones you see?

Not every hearing aid has to blatantly stand out. In fact, there’s an entire category of hearing aids that some people might not even know exist, simply because they’ve never been able to spot one.

In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids are a small, but not entirely invisible form of hearing aid. They are tucked neatly into the outer ear canal, and rest snugly on the outer ear. This article will go into detail on ITE hearing aids, but if there are any questions you have that we fail to answer, you can always go to a qualified hearing specialist. If you use our online form, you’ll be able to arrange a free appointment near you.

ITE hearing aid

Best in-ear hearing aids

Any hearing aid company worth its salt produces some form of ITE hearing aids. They’re one of the more common forms of hearing aid, as they’re easy to handle and more visually pleasing than a bulkier behind-the-ear hearing aid.

For a full breakdown of the best hearing aids of 2019, follow that link. In that article, we discuss over a dozen hearing aid models, many of which have ITE models. 

When it comes to ITE hearing aids, their size means that they won’t be loaded with features like some of the bigger models. This is a fair tradeoff, however, as smaller ITE hearing aids are generally for people with less intense levels of hearing loss. 

Hearing loss is measured through various different levels, as shown in this article explaining hearing loss. ITE hearing aids are smaller, and therefore less powerful simply by virtue of being able to fit less power within its shell.

For this reason, ITE hearing aids are generally prescribed to those with mild to moderate hearing loss, as these categorizations of hearing loss generally require less power to offset.

Rechargeable in-ear hearing aids/batteries

If this article is one step on your long adventure through the world of ITE hearing aids, you might have come across some information regarding the battery lives of ITE hearing aids. ITE hearing aid batteries last generally around 3-14 days before the user needs to buy a replacement, depending on whether it’s a size 10, 312, or 13 battery.

If this doesn’t sound like a system that works for you, and you’re more interested in a rechargeable ITE hearing aid, then you might be out of luck for now. Rechargeable batteries are only being used in the larger behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid models, and even then, this only applies to the newer models. For now, ITE hearing aids will have to operate solely through disposable batteries. A shame if you don’t want to deal with buying and changing batteries, but overall, a small price to pay for a subtle and useful piece of hearing technology.

ITE vs BTE hearing aids

If you’re curious about the differences between ITE (In-the-ear) and BTE (behind-the-ear) hearing aids, then worry not – they’re pretty easy to understand.

Like we said above, BTE hearing aids tend to have a few more fun add-ons, since there’s more room to pack things in. But worry not – these are never crucial features, and merely exist to enhance the hearing aid experience.

In Ear hearing aid

Since BTE hearing aids are bigger than ITE hearing aids, they have more room for power and features. Because of this, BTE hearing aids are generally prescribed to treat severe to profound hearing loss. This doesn’t mean you’ll be underpowered with an ITE hearing aid, since they’re customized to serve your exact hearing needs.

Speaking of customization, that’s one thing ITE inarguably has over BTE. BTE hearing aids generally use one-size-fits-all receivers that wrap around the outer ear and feed into the user’s ear canal. ITE hearing aids, however, work best when they are custom-made with an impression mold of the user’s ear. This means that comfort and discretion are optimized for every ITE user.

Another nice boon for ITE hearing aids is the lower cost. Since they’re smaller, less powerful, and have fewer features, they carry a much lighter price tag. Well-equipped BTE hearing aids can cost anywhere from $2,500 to $3,000. Meanwhile, a good ITE hearing aid can even dip below $2,000.

Nano hearing aids

It’s possible that you’re on the hunt for some ITE hearing aids and have encountered terms like “mini,” “micro,” or “nano hearing aids.” If so, you might have come across a brand named “Nano Hearing Aids.”

If so, you should know that these are not strictly hearing aids. These are an example of a common occurrence in the audiology world, where basic personal sound amplification products (PSAPs) are marketed as hearing aids.

While PSAPs certainly have their place, make sure you don’t buy a Nano hearing aid (or any other online hearing aid) without being aware of what it is that you’re buying.


No type of hearing aid is better or worse than any other. BTE hearing aids are more powerful and include more fun features, but cost a lot more and are also very visible. ITE hearing aids are cheaper and easier to use, but don’t do a lot beyond serving as a hearing aid.

But the choice doesn’t have to be entirely up to you. If you follow this link and fill out our online form, you’ll be able to arrange a free consultation with a hearing healthcare professional near you. There, you’ll be able to discuss hearing aid options in depth.

Written by:

Duncan is an Australian-born American-raised creative writer with a passion for healthy ears. He continues to build upon his audiology qualifications with research and various courses.

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