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Quick Guide to the Different Hearing Aid Styles

Hearing Aid

Thanks to innovation, today there are a range of hearing aid styles available to help compensate for your hearing loss. However, choosing the best hearing aid style can be confusing if you attempt to do it alone. 

Fortunately, the experts at North Shore Hearing P.C. are here to help and offer assistance. At your appointment, we'll cover the bases, explain your options, and help you choose the best solution. In general, there are two major categories of hearing aids: 

  • Behind-the-ear
  • In-the-ear

The following information gives you more detail about different hearing aid styles within each category. If you have questions or would like more information, don't hesitate to reach out to North Shore Hearing P.C. today.

Different Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aid Styles

As the name suggests, a BTE hearing aid fits behind or on top of the outer ear. With this hearing aid style, the hearing components are housed in a casing that rests comfortably behind your ear. Amplified sound is directed through a clear plastic tube into either a customized earmold or an earbud fitted inside of your ear. 

BTE hearing aid styles are the most popular in the world even though they are the biggest. BTE hearing aids are offered in a range of different colors to match skin tone or even hair. You can also opt for BTE hearing aids with unique designs for a personalized flair. 

Reciever-in-the-Ear (RITE) Hearing Aid Styles 

Also known as receiver-in-canal, RITE hearing aids have an open-fit where the speaker is integrated into an insertable ear dome — instead of on the main hearing aid body. In other words, the speaker of the device will rest in your ear canal with the processor and microphone sitting in a small case situated behind your hear. 

The two key components are connected through a thin wire. RITE hearing aid styles boast exceptional sound quality and are produced by all of the major manufacturers. A few key highlights of RITE hearing aid styles include:

  • Usually offers a rechargeable battery option
  • Components can be separately replaced
  • Smaller RITE hearing aids may cause dexterity problems
  • The in-the-ear speaker can be susceptible to ear wax or moisture damage

Behind-the-Ear with Earmold 

The other BTE option is the behind-the-ear style that has an earmold. These hearing aids are universal and can accommodate virtually any type of hearing loss. Because they have a longer shape, they are able to house many more features. 

At the same time, these hearing aids will generally have the longest battery. BTE with earmold hearing aid styles are usually ideal for children with hearing loss because they can be reprogrammed as required, and the earmold can be replaced as the little one grows. A few key highlights of the BTE with earmold include:

  • The custom-fit earmold can be separately replaced
  • Much less susceptible to damage from moisture
  • May offer space limitations for eyeglass wearers
  • Not as aesthetically pleasing as other designs.

Different In-the-Ear Hearing Aid Styles 

ITE hearing aid styles are typically custom fitted and designed to be worn discreetly in the ear. The custom-fit mold is based on an impression taken by the experts at North Shore Hearing P.C. 

You can find ITE hearing aids in different skin tones to discretely blend with your outer ear. While certain types of ITE hearing aid styles will fit closer to the outer ear, while others will fit relatively deep into the ear canal.

Invisible Hearing Aid Styles 

If you're looking for an invisible style hearing aid, you can choose from:

  • Invisible-in-the-canal (IIC) and
  • Completely-in-the-canal hearing (CIC) aids.

Both of these hearing aids are the tiniest and most discreet available today. These types of hearing aids are usually best for people with mild to moderate hearing loss. Due to their size, these devices do not have manual controls, such as program buttons or volume wheels. 

While IIC and CIC hearing aid styles are extremely discrete and offer good sound quality, they are susceptible to moisture damage and ear wax. This style of hearing aid is so small it may pose a problem with dexterity. 

IIC Hearing Aid Styles

In fact, IIC hearing aid styles are often referred to as "invisible in the canal." With IIC, you'll place the device deep into your ears, and you must tug on a small string to remove them. 

CIC Hearing Aid Styles

On the other hand, CIC hearing aids or completely in the canal aids operate very similarly. However, these hearing aids are not placed as far in the ear canal. 

In-the-Canal (ITC) Hearing Aid Styles

While other ITE devices are situated relatively deep in the ear, in-the-canal hearing aids sit in a lower portion of the outer ear bowl. This design makes these devices especially easy to use and comfortable. ITC hearing aids also have a slightly longer battery life due to their larger size. In addition, in-the-canal hearing aid styles:

For many people, the ITC hearing aid style offers the perfect level of discretion. Similar to most ITE hearing aid styles, ITC aids may be susceptible to moisture damage and ear wax. 

Low Profile Hearing Aid Styles 

The low-profile hearing aid styles are large enough to feature manual controls and directional microphones. Ranging from half-shell to full-shell styles, the slightly larger size of low-profile hearing aids makes them more feasible for people with dexterity issues. On the other hand, low-profile hearing aid styles are less discreet than ITE smaller styles. 

Contact North Shore Hearing P.C. 

At North Shore Hearing P.C., we offer a range of services and hearing aid styles to best meet your unique style and needs. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.

Diane Faulknor, MA, CCC/A

After 18 years of experience in the field of audiology and hearing aid dispensing, I felt it was time to start my own practice which has led to the creation of North Shore Hearing, P.C. I take pride in the care I provide for my patients as hearing is not just a medical issues we need to deal with, but also the social and lifestyle ramifications that people with poor hearing live with on a day-to-day basis. Based on not only your hearing loss, but also the type of lifestyle you lead, we'll work together to fit you with the most appropriate hearing aid available in today's marketplace.

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