Hearing Aid Styles

What are the different styles of hearing aids?

There are three basic styles of hearing aids. The styles differ by size, their placement on or inside the ear, and the degree to which they amplify sound.
 


Behind-the-Ear (BTE)

Behind-the-Ear (BTE) hearing aids consist of a hard plastic case worn behind the ear and connected to a plastic earmold by a piece of clear tubing. The electronic parts are held in the case behind the ear. BTE aids are used by people of all ages for mild to profound hearing loss.

An open-fit hearing aid solution is also available with this style. Small, open-fit aids fit behind the ear completely, with only a narrow tube connecting to a dome, inserted into the ear canal, enabling the canal to remain open. For this reason, open-fit hearing aids may be a good choice for people who experience a buildup of earwax, since this type of aid is less likely to be damaged by such substances. In addition, some people may prefer the open-fit hearing aid because their perception of their voice does not sound “plugged up.”

Behind the Ear Hearing Aid Style

In-the-Ear (ITE)

In-the-Ear (ITE) hearing aids fit completely inside the outer ear and are used for mild to severe hearing loss. The case holding the electronic components is made of hard plastic. Some ITE aids may have certain added features installed, such as a telecoil. A telecoil is a small magnetic coil that allows users to receive sound through the circuitry of the hearing aid, rather than through its microphone.This makes it easier to hear conversations over the telephone. A telecoil also helps people hear in public facilities that have installed special sound systems, called induction loop systems. Induction loop systems can be found in many churches, schools, airports, and auditoriums. ITE aids usually are not worn by young children because the casings need to be replaced often as the ear grows.

In the Ear Hearing Aid Style

Completely-in-the-Canal (CIC)

A completely-in-canal (CIC) hearing aid is nearly hidden in the ear canal. CIC hearing aids are used for mild to moderately severe hearing loss. Because CIC hearing aids are small, canal aids may be difficult for a person to adjust and remove. In addition, CIC canal aids have even less space available for batteries and additional devices, such as a telecoil. They usually are not recommended for young children or for people with severe to profound hearing loss because their reduced size limits their power and volume.

Completely in the Canal Hearing Aid Style

Receiver-in-the-Canal (RIC)

Receiver-in-Canal (RIC) hearing aids consist of hard plastic case worn behind the ear and connected to a plastic earmold by a thin electrical wire. Most of the electronic parts are held in the case behind the ear, however the speaker rests in the ear canal, allowing for cosmetic advantages (eg: smaller case) and acoustic advantages. RIC aids are used by people of all ages for mild to profound hearing loss.

An open-fit hearing aid solution is available with this style. Open-fit means, the thin electrical wire is connected to a small dome, rather than a plastic earmold, which is inserted into the ear canal enabling the canal to remain open. For this reason, open-fit hearing aids may be a good choice for people who have a high frequency hearing loss, as this allows for the normal flow of low frequencies to be unaffected. Some prefer the open-fit hearing aid because their perception of their voice does not sound “plugged up.”

Completely in the Canal Hearing Aid Style



 

 

 

 

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