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A Closer Look at the Different Hearing Aid Styles and Their Differences

Otolaryngologist putting hearing aid in man's ear in hospitalNot all hearing aids are made the same.  In fact, today’s hard of hearing or hearing-impaired have quite the many options to choose from, each with its own unique characteristics and benefits. The bulky big and beige hearing aids of our grandparents are no longer the go-to. Today, there are a variety of styles to choose from.  The style that you choose might also depend on important factors such as your level of hearing loss, style preferences, lifestyle needs and demands, and more. You can look at the different aids available on our website, but we thought we’d take a moment and take a closer look at some of these. 

Receiver in the Ear

Receivers in the Canal or also known as Receiver in the Ear (RITE)  are small models that are great for first time hearing aid users. These are hearing aids that open fit hearing aids that use a thin plastic “micro” tube that extends from the body of the apparatus over the outer ear and into the ear canal. The main component or receiver of the hearing aid is located inside the ear canal. These are small devices but are quite flexible and easy to maneuver and can house a variety of features. They are usually smaller than the BTE models. They can be worn comfortably and are easy to fit. Behind the ear hearing aids are some of the most common and will greatly accommodate people with moderate to severe hearing loss. 

Behind the Ear

The name will tell you a little bit about this type of aid. The main compartment of the hearing aids is located behind the ear. A tube directs the amplified sound into an earbud or mold that is customized and located inside the ear canal. The BTEs emerged in the 19th century and over time have become smaller and far more powerful. They are today the most common type of hearing aid, can be a little bit bigger and are a good fit for people with moderate to severe hearing loss. Some other pros include the fact that they are quite easy to adjust, have lots of features, and can accommodate more severe hearing loss.  

Invisible Styles 

Invisible in the canal or IIC are the next level of discreet hearing aid devices. These are the most suitable for people with mild-to-moderate hearing loss. This is a popular custom style that sits deep inside the ear and can limit having a powerful speaker and stronger processing power. These have a high aesthetic appeal for those that want the most discreet type of hearing aid available. They are customizable and are made by creating an impression of your ear canal. This allows for the refinement of the hearing aid to provide a nearly invisible option for those seeking a discreet look. While they are not literally invisible, they get their name because the faceplate of the hearing aid cannot be seen. These are popular choices as the position of the aids allows for easier to use with your phone or a headset. At the same time, because they are protected by the ear, you’ll avoid excessive wind noise when outside and are less likely to produce feedback. 

Canal Style (CIC, ITC, ITE)

Canal-style will be among the smallest hearing instruments. These are custom-made for every person so they can adopt the precise shape and size of the person wearing them. They hide and sit snug in your ear canal. They often sit in the outer ear bowl making them quite comfortable and convenient. They are a little bit bigger but this means they have longer battery life and can accommodate a wider range of hearing loss. Because size offers some flexibility, the size of these allows them to offer a few more options like additional features such as directional microphones for better understanding in noisy environments and even volume controls. These are a great choice for people looking for a little more flexibility, discreet wear, and more. 

How Do I Know Which Style is Right For Me? 

So after reading about the many different styles, you are probably wondering which one might be the best choice for you. Really the main difference lies in where exactly they go in your ear. Well, which one is best depends on several factors. Talking with your hearing expert professional is the best way to assess, but you can get an idea by carefully considering several factors:

  • How much do aesthetics matter to you? 
  • What is your level of hearing loss
  • What style of hearing aid do you prefer
  • What is your lifestyle like? 

To get a better sense of the options out there and what might be best for you call Mission Hearing. We can help you figure out this very important decision. After all, it will dictate how you hear the world and your everyday experience with sounds. Call us today and find out more.


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