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Ask Anna: Do small hearing aids work for severe hearing loss?

small hearing aids

Ask Anna is a weekly advice column for the hearing loss community.   

Dear Anna,

“I have severe-to-profound hearing loss and currently wear a hearing aid that goes behind my ear. I would like something a bit smaller. Are there any in-the-ear  hearing aids that are suitable for severe-profound hearing loss? Which is the most powerful?” – Charles in Dallas

Dear Charles,

This is a question that comes up a lot and there are a few factors to consider when deciding if an in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aid would be suitable if you have a hearing loss that is severe to profound. Most people want a custom hearing aid because  they want a small sized hearing aid. The challenge is to keep the size of these custom hearing aids small and still include all the technical components needed on the inside.

One of the first things to consider is the power needed for your level of hearing loss. The more power someone needs from a hearing aid, the bigger the receiver has to be to deliver this power.

“One of the first things to consider is the power needed for your level of hearing loss.”

The second factor is the size of your ear. Custom hearing aids, as the name implied, are shaped to an individual’s ear. If you have a very small ear it is unlikely that the smallest of ITEs would be possible because there is not enough space to fit all the components inside including the bigger receiver.

The third thing to consider would be how many additional features and functionalities you need from your hearing technology. Do you need a wireless ITE to connect to accessories? Do you need directionality features to hear speech better? Do you use Roger or FM hearing accessories?  Do you use or want a telecoil function?

All of these things will determine what size of ITE will be most suitable for you and how discreet it will be.

Phonak has a whole portfolio of custom hearing aids and newest of the bunch is the Virto B-Titanium. The hearing aid, which is made of titanium, has the advantage of a thinner shell, so it can keep its small size, but still be fit with a more powerful receiver for more severe hearing losses.

phonak titanium small hearing aids

Phonak Virto™ B-Titanium

However if you need, for example wireless functionality it may not be the device for you, so please discuss your needs with your audiologist. They will be able to advise what the smallest and most powerful solution will be right for you.


Do you have a question for Anna? Email: or on Twitter @Phonak

The information provided through this website should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your health care provider. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the Hearing Like Me website. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or emergency medical services immediately.
Author Details
Anna is currently the Senior Audiology Manager at Phonak. She has worked in the field of audiology and hearing aids for 25 years, and is passionate about all things audiology.