Hearing Aid Styles

There are six main styles of hearing aids. Each has its own set of benefits and weaknesses. Deciding which style works best for your personal aesthetic, lifestyle and budget, as well as your type and degree of hearing loss, can be overwhelming. Fortunately, your audiologist will work with you to determine which style will work best.

Completely in the canal (CIC)

This style of hearing aid is the smallest; it is practically invisible. It sits completely within your ear canal, which helps to prevent the device from picking up extraneous background noises. Since the device is so small it uses the smallest battery, which means it also has the shortest battery life. Since this style is so small it cannot contain any additional features. This style works for adults with mild to moderate hearing loss.

In the canal (ITC)

This style is slightly larger than the CIC model and sits partially in the canal and partially outside of it. This style has a slightly longer battery life and is able to contain a few additional features. Adults with mild to moderate hearing loss can use this style.

In the ear (ITE)

This style is a two-part design; one piece sits behind the ear and one sits inside the ear. The parts are connected with tubing. This is the largest style of hearing aid, making it the most visible. Since this is the largest size, the device is able to have the longest battery life and contains the most additional features. This style is appropriate for all ages and all types of hearing loss.

Receiver in canal (RIC)

This style is very similar to the BTE except instead of the two parts being connected with tubing they are connected with a thin wire. This style is the most popular since it is powerful and discrete. This device contains a large battery, giving it a long battery life, and it may have just as many additional features as the BTE style.

Open fit

This style is similar to RIC as it contains two pieces connected with a thin wire. In the RIC style, the earpiece takes up the whole ear canal, whereas in an Open Fit it takes up only half of it. This leaves the ear open to receive and process low-frequency sounds naturally. High-frequency sounds must still be amplified by the hearing aid. This style is a good choice for those with mild to moderate hearing loss.

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