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What Styles of Hearing Aids are Available?
There are several different types of hearing aids – and with the different types or styles, prices are different, sizes are too, as well as the various special features that are included on the hearing aid. Plus, each hearing is unique in how it fits in your ear.
Different hearing aid styles
The following are the most common hearing aids today:
- Completely in the canal: a completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing aid is molded to fit inside your ear canal. It improves mild to moderate hearing loss in the adults. A CIC hearing aid is the smallest and least visible type, is less likely to pick up wind noise, uses very small batteries and has volume control.
- In the canal: An in-the-canal (ITC) hearing aid is custom made and fits partly in the ear canal. This improves mild-to-moderate hearing loss in adults. An ITC hearing aid 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 and is susceptible to earwax clogging the speaker.
- In the ear: An in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aid is custom made in two styles – one fills most of the bowl-shaped area of outer ear and one that fills only the lower part. An in the ear hearing aid includes features that don't fit on smaller style hearing aids, such as volume control, may be easier to handle, uses a larger batter for longer battery life, may pick up more wind noise and is more visible in the ear.
- Behind the ear: A 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. A BTE hearing aid is capable of more amplification than are other styles.
- Receiver in canal: The receiver-in-canal hearing aid (RIC), and the receiver in the ear styles are similar to a BTE hearing aid with the speaker or receiver in the canal or in the ear. This is available for mild-to-moderate hearing loss.
- Open fit: An open-fit hearing aid is a variation of the behind the ear hearing aid with a thin tube. This style keeps the ear canal very open, allowing for low-frequency sounds to enter the ear naturally and for high-frequency sounds to be amplified through the hearing aid. It is visible, doesn't plug the ear like the small in the canal hearing aids do, making your own voice sound better to you and more.
It’s important to be familiar with the different styles of hearing aids when selecting a device. Consult with your hearing care provider to ensure you find the right hearing aid style for your hearing loss and lifestyle needs!