Today’s hearing aids are available in diverse styles to fit every patient’s needs. From tiny in-the-canal styles that are virtually invisible to easy-to-handle behind-the-ear hearing aids, you can expect a range of choices when you’re ready to select your new devices. No one style is better than another; rather, your perfect pair of hearing aids is determined by your hearing loss and lifestyle needs along with your personal preferences.
Behind-The-Ear (BTE) Styles
Open Fit: The miniature body of this style of BTE hearing aid sits behind the ear and is connected to a small thin tube that transmits sound to the ear. A small plastic tip or dome is attached to the tube and sits in the ear canal. This style is called an open fit because the dome sits comfortably in the ear but does not occlude or block the ear canal. This allows some sounds to enter the ear naturally, while the sounds you need amplified are processed by the device’s receiver. This style of BTE is recommended for patients with a mild to moderately severe hearing loss.
Receiver-In-The-Ear (RITE): These hearing aids are similar to the open fit style except the speaker unit of the instrument actually sits in the ear itself instead of in the main body of the hearing aid. The RITE style of hearing aid can cater to mild to severe hearing impairments while still maintaining the open fit feel.
BTE with Custom Earmold: This BTE style is slightly longer in shape compared to the open fit or RITE styles; however, it is capable of fitting the widest range of hearing loss (mild to profound) and is very easy to handle, making it popular for children and seniors with limited manual dexterity. The BTE body is connected to the earmold via plastic tubing that sits snugly against the ear.
In-The-Ear (ITE) Styles
Invisible-In-the-Canal (IIC): The IIC is the smallest in-the-ear hearing aid available. These devices are worn deep within the ear canal, ensuring that only you know you’re wearing them. The close placement to your eardrum ensures immediate sound travel and less ambient noise in loud environments. IICs are designed for daily removal, meaning wearers need to be comfortable inserting and removing the tiny device deep into their ear canal.
Completely-In-the-Canal (CIC): The CIC hearing aid fits inside your ear canal, making it mostly invisible to the outside observer. The CIC allows you to choose between automatic or push button settings, which are programmed directly into the hearing instrument. CIC devices’ placement in the ear cuts down on background noise caused by wind and other uncontrollable sounds.
In-The-Canal (ITC): This style sits in the lower portion of the outer ear’s bowl and is slightly larger than a CIC hearing instrument. ITC hearing aids allow for more options and longer battery life due to their more substantial size.
In-The-Ear (ITE): The ITE is the largest custom-made hearing aid. ITE devices fit into the bowl-shaped area of your outer ear instead of inside the ear canal. Their larger size allows for easy insertion and removal as well as easy access to the battery compartment and volume control.