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Understanding Different Hearing Aid Types

Hearing Aid

Did you know that not all hearing aids are created equally? While most hearing aids are of good quality and can help people suffering from hearing loss have a better sense of hearing, not all hearing aids are right for every person. In fact, because of the nuances of the ear canal, some types of hearing aids won’t work for certain people. Furthermore, lifestyle choices also dictate the type of hearing aid that works best for an individual.

But before you can know which hearing aid works best, it’s important to understand the types of hearing aids and the difference between them all.

Here is a brief overview of the types of hearing aids available on the market. Make sure to speak with your audiologist about the type of hearing aid that would work best for you, your hearing loss and your lifestyle.

Invisible-in-canal (IIC) hearing aids

IIC hearing aids are inserted into the ear canal farther than any other style of hearing aid. As such, it is almost completely invisible to the observer. These types of aids work well for individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss.

Completely-in-canal (CIC) hearing aids

CIC aids are similar to IIC hearing aids, but have a small plastic tip, which serves as a handle, for easier insertion and removal of the instrument. Just like IIC aids, CIC hearing aids are good for people with mild to moderate hearing loss. Unlike the IIC aids, these hearing aids are good for individuals with dexterity issues, who many need a slightly larger device for easier insertion and removal.

In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids

ITC hearing aids are larger than CIC hearing aids. These devices are also custom-made; they fit in the ear canal but have a slightly larger portion of the hearing aid showing in the outer ear than CIC devices. ITC hearing aids are suitable for individuals with all types and degrees of hearing loss.

In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids

ITE hearing aids are custom-made and fit within the outer portion of the ear. They are more visible to the naked eye, but can be colored to match a person’s skin color. Like ITC aids, ITE devices are suitable for a range of hearing loss degrees, from mild to severe.

Receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing aids

RIC hearing aids are much like ITE and ITC aids in that they are barely invisible when worn. However, there is much more to them than either of the in-canal aids; RIC devices contain a receiver, which sits inside the ear canal. Electric wires run from the receiver to the main devices, which work to reduce distortion. Also, like ITE and ITC hearing aids, RIC devices are best for people with mild to moderate hearing loss.

Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids

With BTE hearing aids, the technology that helps people hear is actually resting on the outside of the ear The casing contains a clear tube that transmits the amplified sound into an earbud or a customized earmold. These hearing aids are great for individuals with moderate to severe hearing loss.