Hearing Aid Styles

Today’s hearing aids range widely in styles, sizes, features and functions. Everyone’s preferences are different, so it’s important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each hearing aid style as an Aberdeen or South Bend patient looking to invest in the right hearing devices.

There are two basic categories of hearing aids: devices worn in the ear and devices worn behind the ear.

In-the-Ear Hearing Aid Styles

Invisible-In-the-Canal (IIC)

IIC devices are wireless, custom-fitted devices that are inserted fully into the ear canal during use. Like all devices (excluding Lyric), they must be removed during showering, sleeping and other potentially damaging activities. Their tiny size results in limited features, basic programming and batteries with a short lifespan, but they are appealing due to their discreet look. IIC hearing aids are best for patients with excellent dexterity.

Completely-In-the-Canal (CIC)

These custom-made devices are only slightly larger than IIC models and are similar in offerings. They are nearly invisible to others and are inserted and removed daily. The batteries and buttons are very small, so CIC devices are best for those with nimble fingers and good eyesight.

In-The-Canal (ITC)

ITC devices fit in the canal and bottom half of the concha. They are largely undetectable from the front but visible from the side. Their larger size allows for bigger batteries with a longer lifespan, increased features and settings that are easier to control.

In-The-Ear (ITE)

These larger devices are visible to others as they sit in the concha of the outer ear. For those who don’t mind wearing visible devices, they offer several benefits. ITE devices use large, long-lasting, easy-to-handle batteries and their settings and controls are simple to adjust. They also offer a full range of features.

Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aid Styles

Behind-The-Ear (BTE)

BTE devices are powerful, large, easy to adjust and suitable for all severities of hearing loss. They are popular due to their ease of use and are great for children and seniors. All of their components are housed in a casing that sits behind the ear. An acoustic tube reaches over the top of the ear to deliver sound into the ear canal.

Receiver-In-The-Ear (RITE)

These hearing aids also have a casing that sits behind the ear, but the receiver (speaker) is housed in a small earpiece that sits in the ear canal; they are connected by a thin, clear wire. RITE devices are more discreet than BTE hearing aids and offer more features and functions than styles worn in the ear, making them popular.

Open Fit

This smaller variation on BTE hearing devices leaves the ear canal more open, allowing low-frequency sounds to enter naturally while amplifying higher frequencies. All of an open fit device’s components are housed in the case worn behind the ear, and the small, sleek earpiece is connected by an acoustic tube.