Hearing Aid Types
Hearing aids come in many different styles. All the different styles can be divided into two main categories: In-the-Ear (custom) and Behind-the-Ear (BTE). Explore this page to get more information. Different styles are appropriate for different types of hearing loss. Schedule an appointment to discuss your options as part of your personalized hearing evaluation.
Hearing aids worn in the ear are usually custom-fit, based on a cast or impression of the ear. They are available in different colors to blend with your skin tone. There are several styles – each is listed below, ranging from smallest to largest.
IICs are specifically designed for mild to moderate hearing losses and fit best in wider ear canals. They offer high cosmetic appeal, as they are nearly invisible when worn.
Slightly larger than the IIC, CIC instruments also fit deeply within the ear canal. They are designed for mild to moderate hearing losses and fit best in wider ear canals. Similar to IIC, they offer high cosmetic appeal, as they can be nearly invisible when worn.
In-the-Canal (ITC) and Half Shell (HS)
Because they are slightly larger than CIC models, they can include additional features such as: volume controls, program controls, and directional microphones for better understanding in noise environments. They fit a variety of hearing losses.
Like ITC models, their size enables them to include additional features such as: volume controls, program controls, and directional microphones for better understanding in noise environments. They fit a variety of hearing losses.
Half Shells may be easier to manipulate than smaller models. This hearing aid style is similar but slightly larger than the ITC.
Their size also allows for additional controls and features. They typically use a larger battery size than the smaller styles. They are appropriate for a wider range of hearing losses. Full shell hearing aids are easier to manipulate for those with difficulties with manual dexterity.
As the name suggests, Behind-the-Ear (BTE) models sit behind the outer ear. They have tubing that sends sound into the ear canal. BTEs come in colors to blend with hair or skin tones, or other funky options to suit personal styles. Based upon your degree and type of hearing loss, a BTE model may be more appropriate.
Mini BTE with slim tube and tip
Mini BTEs are designed to sit behind the outer ear, and have thin tubing to route sound into the ear. The tubing connects to a soft tip that sits in the ear canal but does not block it. The result is an open feeling as airflow and sound enter the ear around the tip. Amplified sound enters through the tip. This is known as an “open fitting” and is recommended for mild to moderate hearing losses.
RIC (receiver-in-canal) models are mini BTEs that have the speaker incorporated into the earwire. RIC instruments fit mild to severe hearing losses. This style looks similar to the mini BTE with slim tube.
BTE with earmold
Their style is more traditional. Due to their size, they can produce more power than ITE models which means they can accommodate any degree of hearing loss. They typically offer a larger variety of additional features. Earmolds come in many styles and colors.