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Hearing Aid Styles

There are many types of hearing aids available to suit a variety of hearing needs and lifestyles. These hearing aids have various pros and cons, depending on the style you choose. With the help of our audiologists, you can determine which hearing aid style is best suited for you.

Behind-The-Ear Hearing Aids

The style of hearing aids which most people recognize is the Behind-The-Ear (BTE) style. This recognition is likely due to the fact that the main body of the device is located relatively visible behind the wearer’s ear. Within this category, there are a couple of variations to choose from.

Behind-The-Ear (BTE)

Behind-The-Ear (BTE)

As the most basic style of hearing aids, the BTE hearing aids consist of the main body of the hearing aid behind the ear and a tube which extends down to the ear, often terminating in an earmold.

This style of hearing aid is most common because it is appropriate for all levels of hearing loss, from mild-to-profound, and all hearing aid manufacturers produce BTE hearing aids. Another benefit of these hearing aids is that more technology can often be outfitted, such as cutting edge AI, Bluetooth syncing, rechargeable, app connectivity, and so much more. However, they are the largest style of hearing aids and can be in the way for those who also wear glasses.

Also, there is a mini version of the BTE style, aptly named the mini BTE. This style has many of the benefits of the full-sized BTE while being less visible to others. But they may not be as appropriate for all levels of hearing loss and have shorter battery lifespans.

Receiver-In-Canal (RIC)

Receiver-In-Canal (RIC)

The secondary style of the most common hearing aids is the Receiver-In-Canal (RIC) hearing aids, sometimes called Receiver-In-Ear by certain manufacturers. Similar in body style to the BTE hearing aids, the RIC hearing aid style differs in the placement of the microphone, which is tucked into the ear canal for greater sound clarity.

RIC hearing aids are a popular style as they are less prone to feedback sounds such as whistling and static while producing high-quality natural sounds. They are also slightly sleeker and smaller than BTE style hearing aids, though depending on the brand, they may have shorter battery lifespans and fewer features.

There is also a mini RIC style of hearing aids which are nearly identical to the RIC, only smaller and more discreet, though their battery life is naturally shorter.

In-The-Ear Hearing Aids

Rather than use hearing aids which primarily sit outside the ear, the In-The-Ear (ITE) hearing aid styles consist of the body of the device resting within the ear, though the exact position changes from style to style.

All of the ITE style hearing aids are custom made for the wearer, as their ability to sit comfortably in a person’s ear is highly dependant on how well they are fit, which is why it is so important to work with specialists like our doctors of audiology when you are looking to have hearing aids fitted.

In-The-Ear (ITE)

In-The-Ear (ITE)

Largest of all the custom hearing aids, the In-The-Ear (ITE) style hearing aids generally fill up the entire inner shell of the ear. One benefit of this larger size is that the ITE style of hearing aids can often work with those who have mild-to-severe hearing loss, as it is powerful enough to amplify sounds for most hearing loss levels. This style of hearing aids also can come with helpful technology such as directional microphones, telecoils, and wireless connectivity.

As they do cover most of the available ear shell, ITE hearing aids can cause a feeling of occulsion, where the wearer feels plugged up. However, they are large enough that most people find them as easy to handle as BTE style hearing aids.

In-The-Canal (ITC)

In-The-Canal (ITC)

Smaller than the ITE style of hearing aids but still taking up usually half of the inner ear, the In-The-Canal (ITC) hearing aid style is more discreet while still being powerful enough to help those with mild-to-severe hearing loss. Not all manufacturers recommend the ITC hearing aids for severe hearing loss, so be sure to talk to our audiologists to determine if the ITC style is right for your needs.

One of the main drawbacks with this style of hearing aid is the feelings of occlusion. They also may be difficult to handle for those with dexterity issues.

Mic-In-Helix (MIH)

Mic-In-Helix (MIH)

A fairly unique style of hearing aid, the Mic-In-Helix (MIH) is generally only available through the hearing aid manufacturer ReSound. This style of hearing aid is similar to the Completely-In-Canal hearing aid, as the faceplate is mostly the only visible part, with the extended microphone tucking neatly into the curve of the ear.

With the MIH hearing aid style, feedback is significantly reduced while sound capture quality is improved, thanks to the position of the microphone. The small size can make it difficult to change the battery, and the MIH can also be prone to earwax buildup, so careful cleaning is necessary with this style of hearing aid.

Completely-In-Canal (CIC)

Completely-In-Canal (CIC)

Similar to the MIH but without the mic, the Completely-In-Canal (CIC) style hearing aids are located primarily in the ear canal, with only the faceplate showing, though many people never notice the discreet hearing aid. This small style of hearing aid is best suited to those who have mild-to-moderate hearing loss, with simple controls for volume and environmental controls.

The CIC style hearing aids do have short battery life and require frequent fresh batteries to be placed, which can be difficult for those who have a hard time handling small objects. They are also prone to wax and moisture build-up, so need to be carefully cleaned and monitored. That way, they don’t become damaged by these things.

Invisible-In-Canal (IIC)

Invisible-In-Canal (IIC)

Smallest of all hearing aid styles, Invisible-In-Canal hearing aids are placed deep within the ear canal where generally nothing is visible. There is a clear rod attached to this style of hearing aid to assist in insertion and removal, though it may take practice to become accustomed to performing it correctly if you are less dexterous. The IIC hearing aid style can help those with mild-to-moderate hearing loss.

With their small size, the IIC hearing aids have the shortest battery life, sometimes requiring battery changes every 3-5 days. They are also prone to wax and moisture buildup and need to be cleaned often to protect against damage.

Find All Styles Of Hearing Aids At Hearing & Balance Doctors

Here at Hearing & Balance Doctors, we work with all major hearing aid manufacturers and styles. That way, our doctors of audiology can offer you the most variety possible so your hearing aids will suit your hearing loss and lifestyle needs.

So, if you would like to test a new style of hearing aids, contact us. Our doctors of audiology will be glad to help you find the hearing aid style which is right for your needs.