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Your guide to in-ear hearing aids in the UK

Hearing loss is more common than you might think, affecting a significant number of adults in the UK. Did you know that an estimated 1.2 million adults in the UK have hearing loss to such an extent that they would not be able to hear most conversational speech? That’s quite the figure. 


At SpotDif, we’re committed to helping you find the right hearing aid for you —one that doesn’t just amplify sounds, but also enhances your overall hearing experience too.


Choosing the right hearing aids and listening devices can be daunting with so many options available. In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids offer a perfect blend of comfort and discreetness, making them an ideal choice for many. But how do they work, and are they the right choice for you?

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How do ITE hearing aids work?


These tiny yet powerful devices capture, amplify, and deliver sound directly into your ear canal. Custom-fitted for comfort and less visibility, they're designed to be a part of your daily life without being noticeable.


Sound capture: Each ITE hearing aid has a built-in microphone that captures sound from your environment.


Sound amplification: The captured sound is then amplified. This is done through a tiny, sophisticated amplifier within the hearing aid. An audiologist will be able to customise the level of amplification  to your specific hearing loss profile.


Customised sound delivery: After amplification, the sound is sent into your ear canal. What's great about ITE hearing aids is that they're tailored to fit snugly inside your ear. This custom fit not only makes them less noticeable but also enhances the sound delivery directly into your ear canal.


Feedback reduction: Most ITE hearing aids are equipped with technology to reduce feedback, like whistling noises, which can be a common issue with hearing aids.


Digital processing: Many modern ITE aids also include digital processing features. These can filter out background noise, focus on speech, and even adjust settings automatically based on your listening environment.


These little devices pack a punch, combining both functionality and discretion. With this in mind, ITE hearing aids let you embrace life's sounds confidently.

The cost of hearing aids in the UKITE hearing aids and the NHS

While the NHS offers support for hearing aids, they typically do not cover ITE models, which are generally purchased privately. The NHS focuses on providing basic models that prioritise function over style.


If you're considering ITE hearing aids, exploring all your options, including private purchase, is wise. The NHS will usually only provide Behind-the-ear (BTE) or, in very exceptional circumstances, Receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) models. If you’d like in-ear models, you will need to pay for them privately. 


Bear in mind that the wait time for NHS hearing aids can be a lengthy process So if you’re on a waiting list, you may wish to explore all your options — including ITE hearing aids.

NHS building

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The cost of hearing aids in the UK

When considering hearing aids, cost is an important factor. In the UK, average prices range from £1,000 to £3,500 per ear, but this can vary based on their style, function, and appearance. The most basic, essential hearing aids start as low as £595, whilst the most expensive options can reach  £3,000 or more. 


What factors affect the price of hearing aids?


Type of hearing aid: it’s important to note that ITE models are often more expensive than Behind-the-ear types.


Technology level: Advanced features increase the price. For example, if you’re looking for in-the-ear hearing aids with Bluetooth capability, you’ll generally pay a higher price than in-ear models without this function.


Customisation: Custom-fitted devices generally cost more.


Audiologist services: Including testing, fitting, and follow-up appointments with your hearing aid specialist.


An audiologist consultation can provide a more accurate cost estimate based on your needs.

Man having a hearing aid fitted

Is an ITE hearing aid right for you?

Before you decide to purchase your new hearing aid, it’s important to find out if In-the-Ear hearing aids are right for you. 

Degree of hearing loss: Suitable for mild to moderate loss.


Size constraints: A smaller size means potentially fewer features.


Maintenance: They require more frequent cleaning.


They are generally best suited for mild to moderate hearing loss. However, due to their smaller size, they may have fewer features compared to larger models. The key is to find the right balance for your specific needs.

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Types of ITE hearing aids available

Doctor explaining the different parts of the ear

There are three different types of In-the-Ear hearing aids available, and they each have very different functions and uses. 

In-the-canal (ITC)

These IIC will fit several millimeters in the aperture of your ear

In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids are custom moulded, fitting partially in the ear canal, and offer a balance between discretion and functionality. They are suitable for mild to moderately severe hearing loss and are less visible than larger models. Despite their small size, they can include features like directional microphones and volume controls, offering a good blend of aesthetics and practicality.

Completely-in-canal (CIC)

Man having a hearing aid fitted

Completely-in-canal (CIC) hearing aids are designed to fit entirely within the ear canal, making them almost invisible. Ideal for adults with mild to moderate hearing loss, they offer a natural listening experience due to their deep placement. However, their small size limits extra features and may result in a shorter battery life, making them a choice primarily for cosmetic discretion.

Half-shell

These ITE hearing aids are the most careful hearing aid styles available

Half-shell hearing aids fill the lower part of the outer ear and are more visible than ITC and CIC models, but their larger size accommodates more features, such as volume control and directional microphones, and offers better battery life. They are suitable for people with mild to moderately severe hearing loss and are an excellent choice for those who prioritise functionality and ease of handling over discreetness.


Each is custom-fitted for comfort, making them less visible and enhancing their cosmetic appeal. 

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How effective are in-the-ear hearing aids

In-ear hearing aids are incredibly effective in enhancing hearing for many individuals. Custom-made for a snug fit, they offer comfort and discretion. However, their effectiveness can vary based on the severity of hearing loss and personal preferences.


In general, these aids are best suited for those with mild to moderate hearing loss. They provide clear sound amplification while being less visible than other types of hearing aids.


Your choice between in-ear and behind-the-ear models will depend on your hearing requirements, lifestyle, and aesthetic preferences. A consultation with an audiologist or hearing care professional can provide valuable insights into which type is best for you.

Recognising the need for a hearing test

Hearing loss often develops gradually, making it easy to overlook early signs. If you're experiencing any of the following symptoms, it may be time for a hearing test — and potentially some hearing aids.

  • Difficulty understanding conversations, especially in quiet environments.

  • Increasing the volume on your TV, radio, or other devices to higher than normal levels.

  • Experiencing persistent ringing, buzzing, or hissing sounds in your ears (tinnitus).

  • Avoiding social gatherings or feeling isolated due to communication challenges.

  • Perceiving sounds as muffled or unclear, or struggling to hear high-pitched or soft sounds.

Choosing the right hearing aid provider with SpotDif

With SpotDif, discovering your ideal hearing aid is straightforward and efficient. Our price comparison platform is specifically designed to simplify your search, allowing you to compare a wide range of hearing aid options across the UK, from behind-the-ear models to ITE hearing aids.

Start your journey to enhanced hearing with our price comparison tool, or contact us today to get started. We're here to help you find the best deal for your hearing needs.

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Frequently Asked Questions
author
Molly Govus
Health Sector Specialist
My goal is to help you make the most informed decision for your health needs. No smoke, no mirrors — just research-led guidance and money-saving advice.

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