Today’s hearing aids are smaller, more comfortable and more effective than ever before. Advances in hearing aid technology continually provide new ways of connecting with the world. Satisfaction rates among hearing aid users continue to improve. Patients in our clinic are experiencing 24-32% improvements in speech-in-noise understanding with hearing aid use. Even basic models today provide more features than the most advanced models available a few years ago.
Hearing aids worn in the ear are custom-fit, meaning a mold of the ear is made and the hearing aid is built to fit the patient. These are available in different skin tones to camouflage with the outer ear.
The smallest custom style, CIC instruments fit deeply and entirely within the ear canal. CIC instruments are designed to fit mild to moderate hearing losses. They are nearly invisible when worn. Even some of the smallest CIC instruments can now wirelessly connect to remote controls for volume and program changes if needed.
ITC instruments sit in the lower portion of the outer ear bowl, making them comfortable and easy to use. ITC instruments are slightly larger than CIC instruments, have a longer battery life, and can host additional features such as directional microphones for better understanding in noisy environments, and volume and/or program controls. ITC instruments are designed to fit mild to moderate hearing losses.
Half Shell (HS)
Half shell models fill half the bowl of the outer ear. Like ITC models, their size enables the addition of features such as directional microphones, volume controls, and push buttons to activate special settings for different listening environments. Because of their size, they may be easier than smaller models to handle for some people and yet are still often disguised by hairstyles.
Full Shell or In-the-Ear (ITE)
Full shell models fill the outer ear bowl. Their size allows the maximum number of additional controls and features such as directional microphones. They use a larger battery size and are more easily manipulated for individuals with dexterity concerns. ITE instruments size allow for a larger receiver with enough power designed to fit up to severe hearing losses.
Behind-the-Ear (BTE) models sit behind or on top of the outer ear, with tubing that routes sounds down into the ear. BTEs come in a variety of colors to blend with hair or skin tones or stand out with stylish patterns. Different BTE sizes accommodate different features, controls, battery types, and degrees of power.
Mini BTE with slim tube and tip
Mini BTE models house the microphones, internal circuits, and speaker of the hearing aid behind the ear in a very small case. Often times these hearing aids are very water and dust resistant. Mini BTE instruments are designed to fit mild to severe hearing losses.
Receiver in canal (RIC)
RIC models are mini BTEs that have the speaker of the instrument incorporated in the ear tip, instead of in the main body of the instrument. RIC instruments fit mild to severe hearing losses. This hearing aid style looks similar to the Mini BTE when worn on the ear.
BTE with earmold
BTEs with earmolds fit mild through profound hearing losses. They are larger and fit the contour of the ear. The earmold is custom made by taking an impression of an individual’s ear.