Hearing Aid Styles

Hearing aids come in a wide variety of technology, ranging from entry level to premium. Some hearing aids are designed for a more active lifestyle. Other hearing aids may be designed for those with a severe hearing loss. Choosing the right hearing aid can be overwhelming. Our audiologists are here to help you make the right choice for your specific needs. Below is a list of things to consider when choosing a hearing aid:

  • The degree of hearing loss
  • Dexterity
  • Budget
  • Lifestyle
  • Cosmetics
  • Skin Sensitivities
  • Medical Considerations

Hearing aids are available in many different styles and look more modern and discreet than ever before. Different styles serve different hearing needs and generally, the more amplification that’s needed, the larger the hearing aid will need to be. Below is a review of the different styles of hearing aids available:

In-the-Ear (ITE)

Hearing aids worn in the ear are generally custom-fit based on an impression of the ear. There are a variety of ITE styles that are available.

Invisible In-the-Canal (IIC)

IIC instruments are the smallest custom hearing aids available. They sit in the second bend of the canal and are nearly invisible to the naked eye. They are designed for mild to moderate hearing loss.

Complete In-the-Canal (CIC)

CIC instruments fit deeply into the ear canal. Slightly larger than the IIC, they are still relatively hard to see. They are designed for mild to moderate hearing loss.

In-the-Canal (ITC) or Half Shell

ITC instruments sit in the lower portion of the outer ear bowl. Since they are slightly larger than the CIC, they are able to hold additional features. These include a larger battery, directional microphones, and volume controls. They are designed for mild to moderate hearing loss.

In-the-Ear (ITE) or Full Shell

Full shell instruments fill the entire outer ear bowl. Due to their larger size, they allow for more features and functions. These include a larger battery, directional microphones, volume controls, and can fit larger receivers for more severe hearing losses. They are designed for mild to severe hearing losses.

Behind-the-Ear (BTE)

Behind-the-Ear instruments sit behind or on top of the outer ear with a tube that connects to an ear tip or mold inside of the ear. BTE’s offer the widest range of features, colors, battery types, and degrees of power. Today, they’re offered in small, discreet designs that are often unnoticeable when worn. For those who prefer to “show them off”, they also come in multiple colors and designs.

Mini BTE

Mini BTE styles are designed to hide behind the outer ear and have ultra-thin tubing to discreetly route sound into the ear. The tubing typically connects to a soft tip that sits in the ear canal but doesn’t occlude it. The result is a natural, open feeling as airflow and sound enter the ear naturally around the tip, while amplified sound enters through the tip. This is known as “open fitting” and is recommended for mild to moderate hearing loss.

Receiver-in-the-Ear (RITE) or Receiver-in-Canal (RIC)

RITE hearing aid styles are BTEs that have the speaker built into the ear tip instead of the main body of the hearing aid. They are relatively unnoticeable when worn. They are designed for mild to severe hearing loss.

Behind-the-Ear (BTE) with Earmold

BTEs with earmolds have a longer shape that follows the contour behind the outer ear. Their larger size enables them to house features such as a program button and volume control. The hearing aid color, earmold style, and wearer’s hairstyle determine exactly how they’ll look on each person. They are designed for mild to profound hearing loss.