Hearing Aid Styles

Each hearing aid style comes with a diverse range of technologies and features. The cost of hearing aids mainly depends on the technology and features present in the device, rather than the style of the aid. Digital hearing aids are available in different technology levels, including basic, entry, advanced, and premium.

Basic digital hearing aids require the user to make manual adjustments in specific listening environments, such as changing the volume or switching to a different program. On the other hand, premium or advanced hearing aids automatically respond to changes in the user's surroundings and adjust the signals detected by the device. This eliminates the need for manual changes by the user. As the technology level increases, more advanced features become available. Examples of some advanced features that can be found in modern digital hearing aids are presented below.

When Selecting Your Hearing Aid Style

Factors that should be considered when choosing a hearing aid include the degree of hearing loss, manual dexterity, visual abilities, budget, cosmetic preferences, skin sensitivities, anatomical/medical conditions, and lifestyle/listening needs.

Styles of hearing aids

Hearing aids are available in many different sizes and styles thanks to advancements in digital technology and miniaturization of the internal components. Many of today’s hearing aids are considered sleek, compact and innovative – offering solutions to a wide range of hearing aid wearers.

Custom-fit hearing aids worn in the ear come in different styles and skin tones to blend with the outer ear.

The various styles range in size from smallest to largest and include the Invisible in Canal (IIC), Completely in Canal (CIC), In the Canal (ITC), and Full Shell in the Ear (ITE) models.
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Invisible in Canal (IIC)

IIC hearing aids are the smallest custom style and sit beyond the second bend of the ear canal, making them invisible. They are suitable for individuals with mild-to-moderate hearing loss.
hearing aid icon in ear

Completely in Canal (CIC)

CIC hearing aids are also very small and fit deeply within the ear canal, making them almost invisible when worn. They are suitable for those with mild-to-moderate hearing loss and offer high cosmetic appeal.
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In the Canal (ITC)

ITC hearing aids sit in the lower part of the outer ear bowl, providing comfort and ease of use. They are slightly larger than CIC models and can host additional features such as directional microphones for better understanding in noisy environments and volume controls. They fit mild-to-moderate hearing losses.
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Full Shell in the Ear (ITE)

ITE hearing aids sit flush within the entire ear bowl, allowing for maximum control and feature options, such as directional microphones, which require space on the outer portion of the device. They use a larger battery size and can accommodate even some severe hearing losses. Due to their flexibility, they are widely recommended for mild-to-severe hearing loss.

Behind the Ear (BTE)

Behind-the-Ear (BTE) hearing aid models are positioned behind or on top of the outer ear, and have tubing/wiring that directs sound down into the ear, connecting to an ear tip or earmold to keep them secure in the ear canal. BTEs come in a range of colors to blend with hair or skin tones, and even in chrome, leopard print, and other funky designs to match personal styles. Different BTE sizes offer various features, controls, battery types, and levels of power (larger instruments generally have more power than smaller ones). While some prefer discreet BTEs that are unnoticeable when worn, others like to flaunt the cool designs. There are several BTE styles, each listed below.
hearing aid icon RIC

Mini BTE with slim tube and tip

Mini BTE with slim tube and tip Mini BTEs are designed to hide behind the outer ear and have ultra-thin tubing/wiring to discreetly direct sound into the ear. The tubing/wiring connects to a soft tip that sits in the ear canal without occluding it. The result is a natural, open feeling as airflow and sound enter the ear naturally around the tip, while amplified sound enters through the tip. This is called “open fitting” and is recommended for mild-to-moderate high-frequency losses.
hearing aid icon RIC

Receiver in Ear (RIC)

Receiver in Ear (RIC) RIC models are mini BTEs with the speaker of the instrument incorporated in the ear tip, instead of in the main body of the instrument. RIC instruments fit mild-to-severe hearing losses. This hearing aid style looks similar to the Mini BTE when worn on the ear.
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BTE with Earmold

BTE with Earmold BTEs with earmolds fit mild to severe hearing losses. Their longer shape follows the contour behind the outer ear and can accommodate many features, including a program button and volume control. The earmold color and style, as well as the wearer’s hairstyle, determine exactly how they’ll look on each person.