We compare the different types of hearing aid styles

We look at the many different types of hearing aids

Invisible hearing aids, hearing aids that connect to mobile phones and body tracking hearing aids are state of the art technology, but all the information and different types of hearing aid styles available can be overwhelming. We’ve listed the most common hearing aid styles, along with some plusses and minuses, but you should also consider contacting your hearing healthcare provider to determine which hearing aid style is best for you based on your needs and budget.

•  Receiver-In-Canal (RIC hearing aid)
•  Completely-In-Canal (CIC hearing aid)
•  Behind-The-Ear (BTE hearing aid)
•  In-The-Canal (ITC hearing aid)
•  In-The-Ear (ITE hearing aid)
•  Single-Sided Hearing (CROS/BI-CROS)
•  Tinnitus Hearing Aids

There are two different types of hearing aids - custom and standard.

Custom hearing aids

Custom hearing aids are hearing aids that are individually made for each patient by taking earmold impressions and “molding” the hearing aids to fit each unique ear shape. Starkey Hearing Technologies was one of the first manufacturers to introduce and perfect custom hearing aids, and is considered the industry leader in this category.

Standard hearing aids

Standard hearing aids (RIC hearing aids and BTE hearing aidsare hearing aids that can be fit “off the shelf” while you’re in the hearing professional’s office (impressions and earmolds aren’t always required). The fitting/programming is still customised for each patient, although the device may not be. To buy RIC hearing aids or buy BTE hearing aids, we would recommend that you contact your local hearing clinic, as they will be able to recommend the most suitable type of hearing aid for your lifestyle and hearing loss. To find a local hearing centre that can help, click here.  

Let’s look at the four types of custom hearing aids that Starkey Hearing Technologies and other manufacturers offer, from smallest to largest:

Invisible-In-the-Canal (IIC hearing aids) rest in the second bend of the ear canal, where virtually nobody can see them.

 

Invisible-In-The-Canal (IIC) hearing aidInvisible SoundLens Synergy hearing aid from Starkey Hearing Technologies

 

Plusses of an IIC hearing aid:

  • Smallest, least visible and most discreet hearing aid
  • Completely invisible in most ears
  • Deep placement of the hearing aid in the ear improves overall sound quality and the sound of the hearing aid wearer’s own voice

Minuses of an IIC hearing aid:

  • Uses small batteries, which can be difficult to handle for those with dexterity concerns
  • Due to small battery size, batteries need to be changed more often than those in larger hearing aids
  • Due to small size, cannot include controls (i.e., volume and memory) on the device

 

Completely-In-Canal (CIC hearing aids) fit deep inside the ear canal, and are slightly larger in size than an IIC.

Completely-In-The-Canal (CIC) hearing aidCIC hearing aid in the ear


Plusses of a CIC hearing aid:

  • Among the smallest and least visible type

Minuses of a CIC hearing aid:

  • Uses small batteries, which can be difficult to handle for those with dexterity concerns
  • Due to small battery size, batteries need to be changed more often than those in larger hearing aids

In-The-Canal (ITC hearing aids) fit partially in the ear canal, and are slightly larger than CIC hearing aids.

In-The-Canal (ITC) hearing aidITC hearing aid in the ear

 

Plusses of an ITC hearing aid:

  • Less visible in the ear than larger custom styles
  • Can include controls (i.e., volume and memory) that won't fit on smaller custom hearing aids

Minuses of an ITC hearing aid:

  • Patients with poor dexterity may experience difficulty using the controls (i.e., volume and memory) on these devices
  • Partially visible in the ear

In-The-Ear (ITE hearing aids) can be made in two styles or sizes, one that fills most of the outer ear (full shell), and one that fills only the lower portion of the outer ear (half shell).

 

In-The-Ear (ITE) hearing aidITE hearing aid in ear

 

Plusses of an ITE hearing aid:

  • Can include controls (i.e., volume and memory) that don't fit on smaller style hearing aids
  • Easier to handle/manipulate
  • Larger battery provides a longer battery life

Minuses of an ITE hearing aid:

  • May pick up more wind noise than smaller devices
  • More visible in the ear than smaller devices

 

Starkey Hearing Technologies offers two types of standard hearing aids:

Behind-The-Ear (BTE hearing aids)

A BTE hearing aid hooks over the top of your ear and rests behind the ear. All of the mechanics of the hearing aid, including the receiver (or speaker), are housed in the device that fits behind the ear. A tube connects the device to an earpiece that fits in your ear. Contact your local hearing centre to buy BTE hearing aids or discuss the best hearing aid for your needs.    

Mini Behind-The-Ear (BTE) hearing aidBTE hearing aid on ear

 

Plusses of BTE hearing aids:

  • Larger external controls, helpful for patients with dexterity problems
  • Useful for children because of their durability and ability to connect to assistive listening devices
  • Can offer a longer battery life
  • Less susceptible to damage by earwax or moisture

Minuses of BTE hearing aids:

  • Least discreet hearing aid style

Receiver-In-Canal (RIC hearing aid)

A RIC hearing aid is similar in appearance to a BTE hearing aid except the receiver, or speaker, is in the ear canal. Instead of a tube, a small wire connects the hearing aid to the earpiece. Sometimes you’ll see a RIC hearing aid referred to as a Receiver-In-The-Ear (RITE) hearing aid.

Micro Receiver-In-The-Canal (RIC) hearing aidRIC hearing aid from Starkey Hearing Technologies for tinnitus

 

Plusses of RIC hearing aids:

  • Because the receiver is not housed in the device, RICs are typically smaller and more discreet than BTEs
  • Offers a comfortable open-fit, allowing for a natural sound quality of the hearing aid wearer’s own voice

Minuses of RIC hearing aids:

  • Susceptible to earwax and moisture clogging the speaker

You can buy RIC hearing aids from your local hearing clinic - click here, to locate your nearest hearing professional.    

Tinnitus Hearing Aids

The majority of the Starkey range of hearing aids incorporate Multiflex Tinnitus Technology. The key benefit here is that you are able to manage your tinnitus using a variety of different types of hearing aids style. So whether you want something discreet that sits in the ear canal, or an RIC hearing aid style of soultion - you can get your tinnitus under control. Your local hearing clinic will be able to speak with you about how you can can buy Tinnitus Hearing Aids and offer advice on the most suitable solution to manage your tinnitus.  

In summation, there are many different types of hearing aids, but the key to a good hearing aid fitting is not the hearing aid alone, but working with a professional you trust and who can help you choose and fit the right hearing aid for your unique needs. To find a hearing professional near you, call 08000 683 533 or click here

By Starkey Hearing Technologies blog

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