Hearing Aid Styles: What Style is Best for You?
Choosing the appropriate hearing aid style seems confusing but it doesn’t have to be. Here is a list of the styles available.
Hearing Aids come in two general categories. Behind-The-Ear (BTE) and Custom. Within these categories are sub-categories, each containing individual features and capabilities to aid with different types of hearing losses.
Behind-The-Ear hearing aids, also known as non-custom, are now more popular than ever due to reduced size and increased capabilities. Ranging from very powerful full-size aids to virtually invisible mini aids, the BTE style hearing aid covers all types and degrees of hearing loss.
Custom hearing aids are made from an impression that is taken of the wearer’s ear by a professional hearing aid dispenser.
Below is a summary of each of the different types of BTE and Custom hearing aid styles.
Available in two sub-categories, RIC (Receiver-In-Canal) and Slim Tube. RIC produces sound close to the eardrum by placing the receiver in the tube. Slim Tube sends sound through a hollow tube, keeping the receiver in the hearing aid body. This makes the Slim Tube easier to maintain and slightly more reliable.
Mid-size BTE offers all the features available including Direct Audio Input (DAI) and has room for manual volume and environmental program controls. The amount of hearing loss will determine if an Open-Fit tube or custom earmold should be used.
Hearing Loss: Mild to Severe
Battery Size: 312
For severe to profound hearing loss these powerful hearing aids are the answer. They offer a wide range of features and manual controls. A custom earmold made from an impression of the ear is required for this class of BTE hearing aids.
CIC and Micro-CIC (Completely-In-the-Canal)
CIC hearing aids are the smallest, custom hearing instruments sold mainly due to the discreet fit they offer. The standard CIC hearing aid can contain a push button for programs. The Micro-CIC does not contain any manual controls.
ITC hearing aids are generally used for people that want some manual control of volume and/or environmental programs in the smallest size possible.
Half Shell hearing aids are about a third smaller than ITE (below) and have the capacity to be almost as powerful with nearly the same fitting range as an ITE. Some ear shapes are much better than others for this style so it may not be an option for all users. These hearing aids commonly come equipped with manual volume and environmental controls.
These are the largest sized custom hearing aids with the capacity to be the most powerful. ITE hearing aids commonly have controls for volume control and environmental program selection, as well as possible directional microphone, directly on the aid.