Hearing Aid Styles

Contrary to what some people may believe, there is a good number of hearing aid styles. This variety helps meet different hearing needs, mixed with a desire to have more discreet hearing aids than ever before. To help you learn more about the various hearing aid styles, The Hearing Clinic is here to help. Here we will discuss each style of hearing aid with bullet points concerning the benefits and potential downsides of each.

Hearing Aid Styles

BEHIND-THE-EAR (BTE) BTE hearing aids are among the most common and traditional styles. The device rests behind or on top of your outer ear, similar to the way sunglasses sit. A transparent rubber tube feeds amplified sound from the device’s speaker directly to the ear canal. A custom earmold secures the tubing to the ear.

Behind-The-Ear (BTE)

Benefits of the BTE:

  • Can accommodate all levels of hearing loss, from moderate to profound.

  • Tubing and earmold are replaceable without affecting the main device.

  • Less likely to have issues with moisture.

  • Large control switches are easier to operate.

  • Longer battery life due to larger batteries. 

  • Minimal acoustic feedback.

  • Good option for children because they pair well with earmolds.

Potential downsides of the BTE:

  • Most visible type of hearing aid.

  • When earmolds are used, can cause occlusion.

  • Vulnerable to wind noise interference.

  • Thick tubes can cause issues for glasses-wearers.

Mini Behind-The-Ear (Mini BTE)

Mini Behind-The-Ear

Benefits of the Mini BTE:

  • For mild-to-severe hearing loss.

  • Thin tube option for a more discrete design than the regular BTE.

  • Rocker-style power switch.

  • Less endangered by moisture than other styles of hearing aids.

  • A lower feeling of occlusion.

Potential downsides of the Mini BTE:

  • Slightly smaller hearing aid batteries, with shorter lifespans.

  • Can be difficult to handle smaller parts.

Receiver-In-Canal or Receiver-In-The-Ear (RIC) (RITE) Receiver-in-the-ear (RIC) aids are far and away the most popular hearing aids. Their comfortable fit and superior sound quality make it a top choice for individuals with mild to severe hearing loss. Like most behind-the-ear styles, RIC hearing aids gently rest atop or just behind the ear. The receiver bud sits directly inside the ear canal. A thin wire connects the receiver to the outer components and molds easily to the natural shape of the ear.

Receiver-In-Canal or Receiver-In-The-Ear (RIC) (RITE)

Benefits of the RIC/RITE:

  • Because this configuration uses a thin transparent wire to funnel sound discreetly from behind the ear, it's almost undetectable.

  • Tubing can be replaced without affecting the main device.

  • Does not require earmolds.

  • Less risk of occlusion.

  • More natural sound with minimal feedback.

Potential downsides of the RIC/RITE:

  • Slightly smaller hearing aid batteries, with shorter lifespans.

  • Can be difficult to handle smaller parts.

Mini Receiver-In-Canal (Mini RIC)

Mini Receiver-In-Canal (Mini RIC)

Benefits of the Mini RIC:

  • For mild-to-severe hearing loss.

  • Simple, one-button adjustments.

  • A lower feeling of occlusion.

  • Less endangered by moisture.

  • Low-profile design with thin tubing.

Potential downsides of the Mini RIC:

  • Slightly smaller hearing aid batteries, with shorter lifespans.

  • Can be difficult to handle smaller parts.

IN-THE-EAR STYLE HEARING AIDS When you need flexibility, the in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aid outshines most other hearing aids available. In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids can accommodate almost all hearing aid candidates. These devices provide a variety of vital features required by many struggling with hearing loss. Some of the benefits include:

In-The-Ear (ITE)

In-The-Ear (ITE)

Benefits of the ITE:

  • For mild-to-severe hearing loss.

  • More natural than BTE/RIC hearing aids.

  • Easy to handle because of it's size.

  • Large enough for directional microphones.

  • Larger sound amplifier provides a full sound directly into the ear canal.

  • Most include a telephone switch and directional microphone.

Potential downsides of the ITE:

  • Still exposed to wind noise.

  • Fairly visible hearing aid option.

  • Can cause feelings of occlusion.

In-The-Canal (ITC) An In-the-Canal hearing aid (ITC) is a discreet, custom made hearing aid. Because it is made to fit, it is very comfortable and easy to insert in the ear. It is often large enough to incorporate advanced features like wireless Bluetooth streaming, directional microphones, and remote control, unlike the some of the smaller CIC and IIC models. 

In-The-Canal (ITC)

Benefits of the ITC:

  • For mild-to-severe hearing loss.

  • Half the size of ITE, but still easy to handle.

  • Custom-made to your ear.

  • Multiple control options.

Potential downsides of the ITC:

  • Still visible to others.

  • Susceptible to moisture damage.

  • Battery life shorter than ITE or BTE-style hearing aids.

Completely-In-Canal (CIC) Completely-in-the-Canal hearing aids (CIC) are very popular among those whose goal is near-complete invisibility. When cosmetics are the driving force and the ear canal is not large enough for an IIC, for many, a CIC is the perfect solution.

Completely-In-Canal (CIC)

Benefits of the CIC:

  • For mild-to-moderate hearing loss.

  • Almost invisible solution in the canal.

  • Only plastic antenna and part of case potentially visible.

  • Custom-made to your ear.

  • Depending on the size of your canal, bluetooth options may be available.

Potential downsides of the CIC:

  • Need high dexterity to use and clean these hearing aids.

  • Uses very small batteries, shortening the battery life.

  • Susceptible to moisture damage and wax buildup.

  • Noisy environments may be difficult.

Invisible-In-Canal (IIC) An Invisible in the Canal or IIC hearing aid, true to its name, is invisible. It sits very deeply in the ear canal, mere millimeters from the eardrum. This close proximity to the eardrum allows for crisp, clear, natural sound quality with less amplifier output, meaning better battery life than your average small hearing aid.

Invisible-In-Canal (IIC)

Benefits of the IIC:

  • Invisible in most ears, only plastic antenna possibly visible.

  • For mild-to-moderate hearing loss.

  • Custom-made to your ear.

  • Cristi, clear natural sound because of it's proximity to the eardrum.

  • Adjust automatically.

  • If ear canal is large enough Bluetooth, wireless antenna and remote control options are possible.

Potential downsides of the IIC:

  • Need high dexterity to use and clean these hearing aids.

  • Uses very small batteries, shortening the battery life.

  • Susceptible to moisture damage and wax buildup.

  • Automatic adjustment means you can't manually adjust them.

  • Only available in higher-end circuitry.

FIND ALL HEARING AIDS STYLES AT THE HEARING CLINIC For the greatest selection of hearing aid brands, styles, and colors in the Denver metro and mountain west, come see us. For an appointment, contact us and start taking control of your hearing needs.