Your ears are part of your overall health so having the right hearing aid will have a significant impact on your life. There are several different styles of hearing aids that you can choose from, with each working best in a certain situation. Learning about the various styles will let you figure out which one is ideal for you so you can enjoy your regular lifestyle, including getting the most out of family interactions and time at work.
6 Different Styles of Hearing Aids
Behind the Ear (BTE)
Behind the ear hearing aids hook on the top of the ear, resting behind it. A tube connects the aid itself with an earmold that is in your ear canal. BTEs are versatile, working for nearly all ages and all types of hearing loss. Unfortunately, they are traditionally the biggest style (traditionally) and pick up wind noise. Newer designs are much less noticeable, however, and these aids allow for more amplification.
Completely in the Canal (CIC)
There are both completely in the canal (CIC) and mini CIC hearing aids. These are custom-molded to fit within your ear canal and are ideal for adults with moderate to mild hearing loss. CIC hearing aids are the least visible and smallest variety as well as the least likely to accidentally pick up the noise from the wind. In terms of downsides, earwax can easily clog the speaker, the batteries are small with a shorter life, and there are no additional features, such as directional microphones or volume controls.
In the Canal (ITC)
In the canal hearing aids are also custom-molded but only fit partially in the ear. They are also ideal for adults who have a mild to moderate loss of hearing. Like a CIC hearing aid, ITCs are susceptible to wax interfering with the speaker. ITCs do have the benefit of still being discrete and can include features that you will not find on CICs, although they may be hard to adjust.
In the Ear (ITE)
In the ear hearing aids are actually available in two different styles. Half shells just fill the lower part of the outer ear’s bowl-shaped area while full shells fill the whole area. ITE aids are ideal for those experiencing mild or severe hearing loss. In terms of benefits, they have additional features, are easier to handle, and have larger batteries that last longer. Unfortunately, this style can also have to clog from earwax, is more visible, and can lead to additional wind noise.
Open fit hearing aids are variations of BTE aids but have thin tubes. They let low-frequency sounds enter your ear naturally while high-frequency ones are amplified via the aid due to keeping the ear canal open. This style is ideal for those with moderate or mild hearing loss. They have the advantages of being less visible and not plugging your ear like some smaller models, which can mean your voice sounds better to your ears. Because of the small parts, however, they can be harder to adjust and handle.
The receiver in the Ear (RITE) and Receiver in Canal (RIC)
These two styles both have the receiver or speaker in the ear or canal, but a tiny wire connects the pieces. RIC hearing aids are less visible in terms of the part that goes behind the ear but have the same earwax concerns as most other styles.