Types and Styles of Hearing Aids

January 13, 2017

Our well advanced hearing care professionals will figure out which type and style will work best for you, as well as any special features you need. This depends on things such as:

  • The type and severity of your hearing loss
  • Your age
  • Your dexterity
  • Your lifestyle
  • Your financial resources

All Hearing Aids contain the same parts to carry sound from the environment into your ear. However, Hearing Aids do come in a number of styles, which differ in size and the way they are placed in your ear. Some are small enough to fit inside your ear canal, making them almost invisible. Others fit partially in your ear canal.

The following are common Hearing Aids styles for your reference:


Behind-The-Ear (BTE)
Hearing aid hooks over the top of your ear and rests behind the ear. A tube connects the hearing aid to a custom earpiece called an earmold that fits in your ear canal. This type is appropriate for people of all ages and those with almost any type of hearing loss.

  • Traditionally has been the largest type of hearing aid, though some newer mini designs are streamlined and barely visible.
  • Is capable of more amplification than are other styles.
  • May pick up more wind noise than other styles.


Completely-In-Canal (CIC)

Hearing aid is molded to fit inside your ear canal. It improves mild to moderate hearing loss in adults.

  • Is the smallest and least visible type.
  • Is less likely to pick up wind noise.
  • Uses very small batteries, which have shorter life and can be difficult to handle.
  • Doesn't contain extra features, such as volume control or a directional microphone.
  • Is susceptible to earwax clogging the speaker.


Invisible-In-Canal (IIC)
The smallest hearing aid models on the market. Invisible-in-canal (IIC) hearing aids use the ear’s natural shape to localize sound. The custom-made shell is made to fit deep into your ear canals, making it virtually invisible. IIC hearing aids fit so comfortably in your ears that you may forget you are even wearing them. They are also fully automatic, making the listening experience even more natural.


In-The-Canal (ITC)
Hearing aid is custom molded and fits partly in the ear canal. This style can improve mild to moderate hearing loss in adults.

  • Is less visible in the ear than larger styles.
  • Includes features that won't fit on completely-in-the-canal aids, but may be difficult to adjust due to its small size.
  • Is susceptible to earwax clogging the speaker.


In-The-Ear (ITE)
Hearing aid is custom made in two styles - one that fills most of the bowl-shaped area of your outer ear (full shell) and one that fills only the lower part (half shell). Both are helpful for people with mild to severe hearing loss.

  • Includes features that don't fit on smaller style hearing aids, such as a volume control.
  • May be easier to handle.
  • Uses a larger battery for longer battery life.
  • Is susceptible to earwax clogging the speaker.
  • May pick up more wind noise than smaller devices.
  • Is more visible in the ear than smaller devices.


Receiver-In-Canal (RIC)
The receiver-in-canal (RIC) and receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) styles are similar to a behind-the-ear hearing aid with the speaker or receiver in the canal or in the ear. A tiny wire, rather than tubing, connects the pieces.

  • Has a less visible behind-the-ear portion
  • Is susceptible to earwax clogging the speaker