Common Hearing Aid Styles
Today’s hearing aids come in a vast array of styles, offering consumers extensive choice. The type of hearing aid you pick depends on your particular needs, preferences, and lifestyle. Some hearing aids are great for those who want to wear something discreet, while others are packed with features.
Let’s take a look at the different styles of hearing aids and how to identify the one that’s right for you.
Completely in canal (CIC)
CIC hearing aids are currently some of the smallest hearings aids available on the market. As the name implies, these devices fit entirely within the ear canal and are not visible from the outside.
Hearing instrument specialists typically recommend CIC hearing aids to people with mild-to-moderate hearing loss. Because of their small size, they’re not usually suitable for people with severe or profound hearing issues.
The main advantage of CIC hearing aids is their small size, making them ideal for people who want a discreet solution for their hearing loss. But because they fit entirely within the ear, they can be difficult to remove and maintain if you have dexterity issues.
In the ear (ITE)
ITE devices are a mid-sized option and are available in full and half shell varieties. They rest in the outer ear bowl and come in a variety of colors and shades to make them as discrete or personalized as you would like.
These devices are ideal for individuals with mild-to-moderate hearing loss and boast a wide range of features that can be equipped, in addition to being easier to handle than your typical canal variety of hearing aid
Behind the ear (BTE)
BTE hearing aids have two sections: the mold that plugs into the ear canal like at ITE device, and a second section that hooks over the back of the ear. Behind-the-ear or BTE devices were the first to emerge when hearing aids hit the market because they offered the space manufacturers needed to fit all the components.
Today, BTE hearing aids are generally the most affordable and can be suited for individuals with mild-to-profound hearing loss. BTE devices are also larger than the other options, making them easy to handle whether you are cleaning, changing the batteries or storing them for the night.
Receiver in canal (RIC)
RIC hearing aids can fall in the BTE variety of devices and are a more discrete version of this style. A RIC device has a tiny wire that transmits sound information from a microphone behind the ear to a speaker deep within the ear canal. RIC devices retain the section behind the ear but replace the traditional mold with a discreet wire, barely visible from the outside.
RIC devices offer the best of both worlds. Not only do they provide substantial amplification, even for those with severe hearing loss, but they’re also very discreet and have plenty of space for features.
How to find the style that’s right for you
Choosing a particular hearing aid style is a challenge: there are now so many options on the market. Data suggest, however, that RIC hearing aids are the most popular, accounting for over four-fifth of total hearing aids sold in 2016.
RIC hearing aids are a good option for those who want lots of features and for their assistive hearing devices to be discreet. However, because of exposed outer sections, they may not be the ideal choice for everyone. Active people, for instance, often opt for CIC hearing aids. CIC hearing aids are surrounded by the body, offering exceptional protection, making them an excellent option for those with mild to moderate hearing loss who engage in contact sports.
CIC hearing aids are also beneficial for another reason: nobody knows that you’re wearing them. This fact makes CICs ideal for those who would rather keep their hearing loss private.
Choosing the right hearing aid style can be a challenge: each offers unique advantages and disadvantages. CIC hearing aids are the best for discretion, but due to their small size, they have short battery life and fewer features. Larger hearing aids, like ITE devices, have bigger batteries, but also external sections that are visible to other people.
As with any choice of hearing aid, it’s a matter of weighing up the pros and cons of each style and asking whether it suits your lifestyle. If you want to discuss which style you should choose, get in touch with Modern Hearing today. Call us in Green Bay at 920-434-6800, New London at 920-982-3313, and Shawano at 715-524-4242.