Hearing Aid Styles
Hearing aid fittings are a critical part of the process of getting hearing aids. During a hearing aid fitting, a hearing care professional will assess your needs and help you choose a hearing aid that suits your personal needs. The hearing care professional will then customize the hearing aid to fit your specific needs. This process involves programming the hearing aid to fit your hearing loss and lifestyle. After the hearing aids arrive at the audiologist's office, they will be hooked up to a computer and programmed to fit your needs. Follow-up visits are also important to ensure that the hearing aids are working properly and to make any necessary adjustments. BTE hearing aids are often recommended for people who have mild-to-moderate hearing loss
Types of Hearing Aids
Receiver-In-Canal (RIC) hearing aids are a type of Behind-The-Ear (BTE) hearing aid that uses a slim clear tube to deliver sound into the ear canal while the microphone and speaker reside within a dome that is placed in the opening of the ear canal. RIC hearing aids are smaller than traditional BTE models, making them a more discreet option that comes in various colors to help blend into hair and skin color. They offer a high level of sound amplification, which can be adjusted to meet individual needs and preferences, effectively treating mild to severe levels of impairment. RIC hearing aids can offer many advanced features like noise reduction and wireless connectivity to devices like smartphones, televisions, and other audio streaming sources through Bluetooth technology. RICs have become increasingly popular, striking an ideal balance between size, functionality, and performance.
Behind-The-Ear (BTE) hearing aids are the traditional type of hearing device that sits behind the ear and uses a tube to deliver sound to an ear mold or dome inside the ear. Though they are the largest and most visible type of hearing aid, they also offer the most power and number of features. BTEs provide superior sound amplification and can effectively treat all but the most profound levels of hearing loss. In addition to numerous onboard controls like volume wheels and mode selection buttons, they can host many advanced features like noise reduction, feedback cancellation, and wireless connectivity. Furthermore, BTEs use the largest batteries, which provide unrivaled power output and longevity. While BTE hearing aids may not be as discreet as other options, they offer high performance with advanced technologies and powerful amplification. They are also ideal solutions for children as they are durable, easy to operate, and easy to maintain.
In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids are larger than both IICs and CICs and are placed closer to or flush with the opening of the ear canal. They are custom-made devices that fit entirely in the aural cavity, making them less visible than other types of hearing aids. ITCs are designed to treat a range of hearing loss levels, from mild to slightly severe, but while they offer many benefits, they may not be the best option for individuals with severe hearing loss due to restricted amplification. Additionally, the battery life in ITC hearing aids is shorter than other options as their smaller size limits battery capacity, while regular maintenance may be required due to their exposure to earwax and moisture.
Though they are larger than IICs, Completely-In-Canal (CIC) hearing aids are one of the tiniest hearing aids available on the market, designed to be almost invisible while providing a modest level of sound amplification. They are custom-molded to fit the contours of the user's ear canal for a comfortable, discreet fit. CICs sit deep within the ear canal, making them practically undetectable. However, because of their small size, CIC hearing aids may not be suitable for those with dexterity issues or those with severe hearing loss. They are also not recommended for those who often experience chronic earwax buildup.
Invisible-in-canal (IIC) hearing aids are a popular choice for those who prefer the most discreet hearing solution that also provides superior sound quality. These hearing aids are designed to be placed deep inside the ear canal, making them virtually invisible to others while offering a more natural sound due to their internal location. IIC hearing aids are custom-made to fit the unique shape of each individual's ear canal, making them comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. They are most suitable for people with mild to moderate hearing loss as their amplification and features are limited by their extremely small size. The minute batteries that power IICs also require the most frequent replacement out of all hearing aid types.