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 wearers.
When selecting a style the following is considered:
- The degree of the hearing loss (power requirements)
- The extent to which hearing clarity is affected
- Manual dexterity and visual abilities
- Patient budget
- Skin sensitivities
- Anatomical/medical considerations
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.
Behind-the-Ear (BTE) with slim tube and tip
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.
RIC models, sometimes known as RITE (receiver-in-the-ear) 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. RIC instruments fit mild to severe hearing losses. This hearing aid style looks similar to the Mini BTE when worn on the ear.
In-the-Ear Styles (and Custom Fit)
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)
The smallest style, IIC instruments sit invisibly in or past the second bend of the ear canal. IIC are specifically designed for mild to moderate hearing loss.
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.
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.
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.
At Gurian Hearing & Vision, we are committed to providing you the absolute best care for your hearing health possible. With our decades of experience and expertise, we can show you how being able to hear properly will have a positive impact in multiple facets of everyday life.
We strive for excellence and our reviews reflect this. We treat our patients like family because they entrust us with the care of a SENSE- and we only have five of them. We operate state-of-the-art technology in our pristine office; to be the best, we must utilize the best resources available. Know that you and your loved ones are in good hands.
We have a wide array of diagnostic services to evaluate your hearing. From this assessment, we make a recommendation on how to improve your hearing, protect your hearing, manage your tinnitus and/or enhance your enjoyment of sound. From beginning to end you can count on us to make sure your individual needs are met and that ultimately the quality of your life is improved.