Hearing Aid Styles
Purchasing hearing aids can be an unsettling experience. You may think of them as unsightly devices that deliver mediocre quality, but advances in technology and new features make today’s hearing aids smaller and more powerful than those of a generation ago. The key is to achieve a proper fit. Our audiologists will work closely with you throughout the fitting process to ensure that your adjustment period goes smoothly and you are able to hear as well as you possibly can. Remember, no hearing instrument can restore normal hearing, but today’s instruments can greatly improve your ability to hear and socialize with your family and friends, and improve your quality of life.
Hearing Aid Styles
Hearing aids are available in a variety of styles to match your lifestyle. Choices range from basic to advanced technology and features depending on your hearing needs, and style and size are dependent on your manual dexterity and cosmetic desires.
The different versions of hearing aids are named for where they sit on the ear. Styles include:
Receiver-In-The-Ear (RITE)/Open-Fit or Over-The Ear (OTE).
These instruments are comprised of a case worn behind the ear, with a thin wire running to the receiver, located in the middle ear canal and held in place with silicone. The open-fit style is small, making it an appealing device for those seeking discretion, but is prone to feedback issues and low frequency noise leakage.
Completely-In-The-Canal Devices (CIC).
Custom molded and inserted deep in the ear canals, CIC instruments are practically invisible to others. Because of their small size and proximity to the eardrum, there is little occlusion effect or feedback, and their batteries last longer. They are a good choice for individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss.
In-The-Canal Devices (ITC).
ITC instruments are similar to CIC devices – custom molded and worn in the ear canal – but a little bigger. While they may be visible to others, the tradeoff is a natural sound experience and batteries that are easily replaceable. People with mild to moderately severe hearing loss will benefit from this style of hearing aid.
In-The-Ear Devices (ITE).
This style of hearing aid is custom molded and worn in the concha of the ear (the outer bowl). Advanced features such as noise cancellation and wireless connectivity offset their visibility. Those with severe hearing loss may experience feedback with this style of device.
Behind-The-Ear Devices (BTE).
These devices contain a case holding the electronic components, battery, and microphone that sits behind the ear BTE, with a tube that directs sound into the ear canal. Since it is external it can be seen by others, but is not prone to damage from moisture or earwax like other hearing aids worn in the ears. They are flexible and easy to use, an excellent choice for people with mild to profound hearing loss, and are especially popular with children.
Invisible-In-Canal Devices (IIC).
This hearing aid contains a custom molded shell that is placed deep in the ear canal, meaning it requires less amplification and delivers a more natural sound quality with less occlusion effect, and is completely invisible to others. Earwax buildup can be an issue, and people with poor motor skills may have trouble handling them. Persons with mild to moderate hearing loss will benefit most.
Still have more questions about hearing aids? Call our Hearing Aid Department at 918 491-3354.