Hearing aids all follow the same basic principle: they amplify sounds to improve your ability to hear. But the similarities end there. There are a number of styles available that vary by size, placement and ease of use. They are named for where they fit in the ear. They include:
Invisible In Canal (IIC)
IIC hearing aids are extremely compact. They take advantage of the ear’s natural contours to provide better sound localization with less amplification. Very difficult for others to see. IIC devices are made for patients with mild to moderate hearing loss.
Completely In the Canal (CIC)
This small and compact hearing aid fits inside the ear canal and is barely noticeable. The electronic components are housed inside a custom-molded shell. The device is easily removed by pulling on a tiny cord. Made for patients with mild to moderate hearing loss.
In The Canal (ITC)
These hearing aids also go in the ear canal but not quite as deep. They are larger, and contain features the CIC devices do not provide. They are appropriate for mild to moderate hearing loss.
In The Ear (ITE)
This style of hearing aid fits partially in the ear canal, with the faceplate extending to the bowl-shaped section of the outer ear. It’s a little more user-friendly since the volume control is located on the outer portion. ITE devices are designed for individuals with mild to severe hearing loss.
Behind The Ear (BTE)
This hearing aid sits behind the ear, and is connected to an earmold placed inside the ear canal via a small tube. All controls are located on top of the hearing aid. This device is larger and more visible than the others, but also very popular due to its versatility and ease of use for patients of all ages. It’s a good choice for children and the elderly, and made for all types of hearing loss.
Receiver In The Ear (RITE)
RITE hearing aids are similar in style to the BTE but come with a separate receiver worn in the bowl of the ear, making it a smaller and more discreet alternative. Appropriate for mild to severe hearing loss.
Open Fit hearing aids are so named because they do not contain an earmold, leaving the ear canal open and free from occlusion. The result is clearer, more natural sound. There is no “plugged-up” sound that users of other devices often complain of. Made for patients with mild to moderate high-frequency hearing loss.