One common concern that potential hearing aid users have is that the device will be uncomfortable to wear. Of course, getting used to anything you wear for such a big portion of time will take time – but your device should definitely be comfortable, even if it initially feels strange. Luckily, there are three different styles for you to choose from. While all three may not be suitable for you and you'll still need to discuss the matter with a specialist, you may be able to pick the type that best fits your ear and your preferences. Here's the lowdown.
The name is something of a misnomer – because in-ear hearing aids do not actually sit inside your body. They simply sit on the exterior part of the ear. Because of this, they can be slightly visible, but modern hearing aids are usually flesh-coloured to make them less noticeable. On top of that, they're very small devices; they're not likely to draw the eye regardless. That being said, in-ear aids are still big enough to fit upgrades such as bigger battery packs and telecoils.
By comparison, internal or canal aids do sit directly inside the ear canal. This may make them more difficult for a new wearer to get used to and can give the feeling of having a blocked ear – but once you're used to the sensation, they should be perfectly comfortable. They are far less visible from the outside than other types of hearing aids. However, due to the tight fit of these devices, they cannot be fitted with telecoils. Finally, they may be unsuitable for you if your hearing loss is acute; they cannot amplify noise as effectively as other kinds.
These aids are a good compromise between in-ear and canal hearing aids, because they combine the subtle look of canal devices with the space an in-ear piece allows. As such, you can have a telecoil and battery pack fitted to your device without having something visibly inside your ear. Equally, you may prefer this style if you find having something sitting inside your ear distracting – and some wearers report that sound is more natural when the ear is not blocked like this. Finally, they are suitable for all ages and types of hearing loss.
In essence, there's no right answer; your choice depends on your own personal preferences and your hearing difficulties alone. You can discuss your needs with a specialist and they will help guide you to a solution – but walking into the room with an understanding of what you may be offered can only help you feel more prepared.