Today's hearing aid styles

by Nancy Salim

Today’s hearing aid technology has changed the way hearing aids look and feel. Miniaturization and advances in technology have helped make them smaller while improving sound processing and features.

Individuals have different preferences in comfort and fit, as well as how discreet they’d like their hearing aid to be. While there are different hearing aid styles and technology to choose from, not all will be suitable for everyone. YourHearing explains the differences in today’s hearing aid choices.

Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids rest comfortably behind the ear, and come in colors that match your hair or skin. Sound is directed into the ear canal with a clear plastic tube that sits close to the head making it barely noticeable. BTEs are suitable for most types of hearing loss, from mild to profound. They’re often the easiest to adjust and give less feedback than other devices. Discreet yet visible, BTEs are the most powerful compared to other styles and have the fewest number of reported problems with wax or ear infections.

Receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing aids are one of the least noticeable devices. They sit behind the ear and can accommodate most types of hearing loss. Unlike the BTE, the RIC has permanent tubing with a receiver that sits deep inside the canal, and can be custom made. RIC hearing aids are known for limiting occlusion—the “plugged-up” sensation that causes a hearing aid user’s voice to sound louder inside the head. These hearing aids can also be referred to as receiver-in-the-ear or RITE—the two are almost the same, but sometimes RITE aids have the receiver set a little further back from the eardrum than the RIC.

In-the-Ear (ITE, or Full Shell) hearing aids sit in the outer ear. They have the longest battery life of all the in-the-ear styles and are appropriate for a wide range of hearing losses accommodating almost all of the features and options currently available. Because of their moderate size they’re easy to put in and adjust. ITEs are custom made to sit flush with your outer ear and are easy to manipulate.

In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids sit in the ear canal opening. They’re discreet, but less powerful and have a shorter battery life than the others—although they give a clear sound. Because of their lower power they’re unsuitable for those with severe hearing loss. ITC hearing aids can also be matched to your skin color.

Completely in the Canal (CIC) hearing aids are the smallest and least visible hearing aids, and can be completely invisible depending on the shape of a person’s ear canal. They are custom made to fit snugly into the ear canal with a tiny filament that is used to remove the aid. The outer surface can match your skin color. They have a shorter battery life and are harder to adjust and remove, but are known for their high comfort level. CICs are best suited for those with mild to moderate hearing loss.

Ready to find out which is right for you? Call us to book an appointment at a clinic near you, 888.902.9310.

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