If you were to ask someone to describe hearing aids to you, chances are they’ll groan and talk about the large, clunky hearing aids their grandparents wore years ago. Fortunately, the times have changed!
Today’s hearing aids come in a variety of styles, but they are all quite impressive with their sleek design, various high tech features, and nearly invisible, compact size. Believe it or not, they are actually now considered mainstream devices – and you can even personalize them with your favorite color.
Before buying hearing aids, it is important that you discuss your options with your audiologist. Some hearing aid types will only benefit certain levels of hearing loss, and your audiologist can recommend the best type and features for you. Other factors to consider are your lifestyle and budget.
Below is a description of each type. This will familiarize you with what’s available so you are prepared to discuss your options with your audiologist.
Invisible-In-Canal (IIC) – Tiny, discreet devices. No one will know you are wearing them.
IICs are suitable for mild to moderate hearing loss. The custom-fitted devices are worn inside the ear canal. Depending on your ear shape, they are practically invisible. They are available in skin tones or there’s the option to personalize them with your favorite color. It is important to remove them daily for ultimate comfort and to maintain good hygiene.
Completely-In-Canal (CIC) – You really have to search to spot these – only a tiny bit shows.
CICs are suitable for mild to moderate hearing loss. These custom-made devices feature a tiny handle that sticks out to make insertion and removal quick and simple. They are nearly invisible, but there is the option to choose from a range of colors if you wish.
In-The-Canal (ITC) – More of the device shows, but it isn’t majorly noticeable.
ITCs are perfect for patients whose hearing is diminishing at a steady pace. They are worn within the ear canal’s opening and offer a snug fit. Custom fitted, they are simple to insert and remove. They are made to match your skin tone so they are difficult to spot.
In-The-Ear (ITE) – Worn outside the ear canal, matches skin tone.
ITEs are a great choice for mildly severe to severe hearing loss. Their sleek, custom-made design ensures that they fit snuggly to the ear canal’s outer entrance. For the wearer, this means maximum hearing coverage. Most patients find them comfortable to wear. They can be made to match your skin tone, or you can choose from various colors if desired.
Receiver-In-Canal (RIC) – An ideal choice for first-time hearing aid wearers. Quick to fit and discreet.
RICs are a good option for mild to moderate hearing loss. A receiver is worn within the ear canal, making it nearly invisible. Behind the ear rests a slim casing. A thin electrical wire, rather than a plastic acoustical tube, connects both parts. They are comfortable to wear and patients experience minimal distortion.
Behind-The-Ear (BTE) – The most common style.
BTEs are suitable for moderate to severe hearing loss. Their design is what most people think of when they think of hearing aids. Similar to RICs, the casing is worn behind the ear. It contains the device’s technology. Amplified sounds travel to the ear mold, inside the ear canal, via a clear plastic tube. BTEs are very discreet and feature easy-to-use buttons. They are available in natural skin tones, but a range of colors is also available to choose from.
Take it nice and easy …
Depending on your level of hearing loss, it may take a bit longer than expected to adjust to your new hearing aids. Don’t worry, though. Patience is key, plus your audiologist will gladly adjust your hearing aids for you until everything seems just right.
You should discuss with your audiologist about how hearing aids will impact your life before settling on a particular pair. Your audiologist will help you to choose the type of hearing aid that’s perfect for you.
At Audiology Associates, our doctors and staff are committed to helping our patients on their journey to better hearing. With nine convenient Maryland locations, we offer you individualized care and support. Book your hearing test today by contacting us here.