Hearing Aids

The type of hearing aids; style or device is dependent upon the user’s individual needs. There are in-the-ear styles as well as behind-the-ear styles. Also, hearing aid technology has advanced, with many new and improved options to choose from.

Digital Hearing Aids

Digital technology has transformed the quality hearing aids sold today. Digital hearing aids contain a computer chip that amplifies the sounds digitally. The digital hearing aids are programmed via a connection to a computer. Through the use of special software, your hearing aids are individually designed to meet your needs.

Hearing Aids

Styles of Hearing Aids

Hearing aids are available in many different sizes and styles, thanks to advancements in digital technology and miniaturization of the internal components. Many of today’s hearing aids are considered sleek, compact, and innovative – offering solutions to a wide range of hearing aid users. When selecting a style of hearing aid, you should consider:

  • The degree of the hearing loss
  • Power requirements
  • Manual dexterity and visual abilities
  • Your budget
  • Cosmetics and aesthetics
  • Skin sensitivities
  • Anatomical and medical considerations

In-the-Ear Styles

Hearing aids worn in the ear are usually custom-fit, based on a cast or impression of the ear. They’re available in different skin tones to camouflage with the outer ear. There are several styles – each is listed below, ranging from smallest to largest.

Invisible In-The-Canal (IIC)Invisible In-The-Canal (IIC)

The smallest custom style, IIC instruments site invisibly in or past the second bend of the ear canal. IIC are specifically designed for mild to moderate hearing loss.

Completely-in-the-Canal (CIC)

Completely-in-the-Canal (CIC)

The smallest custom style, CIC instruments fit deeply and entirely within the ear canal. They fit mild to moderate hearing losses and offer high cosmetic appeal as they’re nearly invisible when worn.

In-the-Canal (ITC)In-the-Canal (ITC)

ITC instruments sit in the lower portion of the outer ear bowl, making them comfortable and easy to use. Because they’re slightly larger than CIC models, they have a longer battery life, and can host additional features such as directional microphones for better understanding in noisy environments, and controls such as volume controls. They fit mild and moderate hearing losses.

Half Shell (HS)Half Shell (HS)

Half shell models fill half the bowl of the outer ear. Like ITC models, their size enables the addition of features such as directional microphones, volume controls and push buttons to activate special settings for different listening environments. Because of their size, they may be easier than smaller models to handle for some people and yet are still often disguised by hairstyles or sideburns. This hearing aid style looks similar to the ITC hearing aid when worn on the ear, but is slightly larger.

Full Shell or In-the-Ear (ITE)Full Shell or In-the-Ear (ITE)

Full shell models sit flush within the outer ear bowl. Their size allows the maximum number of additional controls and features such as directional microphones, which require space on the outer portion of the instrument. They use a larger battery size than the smaller styles, and can fit a larger receiver with enough power for even some severe hearing losses. Because of their flexibility, they’re widely recommended for mild to severe hearing loss.

Behind-the-Ear Styles

Behind-the-Ear (BTE) models sit behind or on top of the outer ear, with tubing that routes sounds down into the ear that connects to an ear tip or earmold to secure them in the ear canal. BTEs come in colors to blend with hair or skin tones, and even chrome colors, leopard print and other funky designs to suit personal styles. Different BTE sizes accommodate different features, controls, battery types and degrees of power (larger instruments generally have more power than smaller ones). While many people choose discreet BTEs that are unnoticeable when worn, others are tempted to show off the cool designs.

Mini BTE with slim tube and tipMini BTE with slim tube and tip

Mini BTEs are designed to hide behind the outer ear, and have ultra-thin tubing to discreetly route sound into the ear. The tubing connects to a soft tip that sits in the ear canal but doesn’t occlude it. The result is a natural, open feeling as airflow and sound enter the ear naturally around the tip, while amplified sound enters through the tip. This is known as “open fitting” and is recommended for mild to moderate high frequency losses.

Mini BTE with slim tube and tipReceiver in the ear (RITE)

RITE models, also known as RIC (receiver-in-canal) models, are mini BTEs that have the speaker of the instrument incorporated in the ear tip, instead of in the main body of the instrument. RITE instruments fit mild to severe hearing losses. This hearing aid style looks similar to the Mini BTE when worn on the ear.

BTE with earmoldBTE with Earmold

BTEs with earmolds fit mild through profound hearing losses. Their longer shape, following the contour behind the outer ear, generally can house more features, controls, and power than custom models. The earmold color and style, as well as the wearer’s hairstyle, determine exactly how they’ll look on each person.