Hearing aids styles have undergone drastic technological advances in recent years, evolving from bulky, uncomfortable analog units prone to feedback and distortion, to smaller and sleeker digital models that offer comfort, convenience, and a variety of options and features designed to produce excellent sound quality. A wide range of sizes and styles assures you’ll find an instrument that’s a perfect match for your lifestyle and activity needs.
Styles of hearing aids are named based on where they sit in relation to your ear. They include:
COMPLETELY-IN-THE-CANAL INSTRUMENTS (CIC)
Custom molded and placed inside the ear canal, these hearing devices are practically invisible to others. They don’t have a lot of extra features, but their size means they are less prone to picking up wind noise. Good for people with mild to moderate hearing loss.
IN-THE-CANAL INSTRUMENTS (ITC)
Similar to the CIC, these devices fit partially in the ear canal, but not quite as deep. They contain features not found on the smaller CIC hearing aids, but can be difficult to adjust, and don’t work well for people with smaller ears. For individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss.
Another instrument similar to a CIC, only smaller. This type needs less amplification, but its tiny size and deep placement in the ear canal makes it susceptible to earwax damage. For those with mild to moderate hearing loss.
RECEIVER IN THE EAR (RITE)
Similar to an ITC but larger, RITE hearing aids are custom molded and placed in the bowl-shaped portion of the outer ear. They typically come with features like volume control and directional microphones, and because they are bigger, they’re easier to handle. For individuals with mild to moderately severe hearing loss.
IN-THE-EAR INSTRUMENTS (ITE)
ITE hearing devices are custom molded and rest in the bowl-shaped area of your outer ear. They are bigger, which means they are visible to others, but are easier to insert and remove. ITE instruments are ideal for persons with mild to severe hearing loss.
BEHIND-THE-EAR INSTRUMENTS (BTE)
BTE hearing aids are placed over the top of your ear, and contain a small plastic case that rests behind the ear, connected to an ear mold inside the ear canal with a strand of thin tubing. While these are the largest and most visible type of hearing instrument, their ease of use makes them a popular choice for all ages and types of hearing loss, including children.
This smaller version of the BTE leaves the ear canal mostly open, hence the name. It is less obvious and doesn’t plug the ear like the ITC style, but users might experience feedback and low frequency noise leakage. A great choice for those who suffer from mild to moderate high-frequency hearing loss.
EXTENDED WEAR HEARING AIDS
Sold as Lyric, these devices are implanted very deeply in the ear canal, making them invisible to others, and are designed to be worn continuously for up to 4 months at a time. These are completely safe to keep in place while showering, exercising, and sleeping. You are less likely to experience damage from moisture and earwax. An excellent choice for adults with mild to moderately severe hearing loss who enjoy an active lifestyle.