Understanding Hearing Aid Styles
When you buy hearing aids, there are several different styles to consider. You should consider a few factors to choose the right style, including your level of hearing loss, aesthetic preferences, budget and lifestyle preferences and needs. You can speak to your audiologist about the options available to you, but it's helpful to understand what styles are available first.
Invisible-in-canal (IIC) hearing aids
Some people want a hearing aid that is as discreet as possible. This type of hearing aid is custom fitted, so it fits further into the ear than other styles, making it practically invisible when worn. They can be suitable for people with mild-to-moderate hearing loss.
Completely-in-canal (CIC) hearing aids
These hearing aids are also custom-fit to go inside the ear canal and be out of sight. However, they're not as hidden as IIC hearing aids, due to the small handle that is used to insert and remove them. They are still very discreet and can also be used for mild-to-moderate hearing loss.
In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids
This style of hearing aid is a custom-made design that fits inside the ear canal but doesn't sit as far in as a CIC or IIC hearing aid. It is more visible, but it still only covers the ear canal and not the whole ear. They are suitable for people with mild-to-moderate hearing loss.
In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids
An in-the-ear hearing aid can be seen over a larger portion of the earlobe, but it is suitable for people with hearing loss that is categorized as anywhere from mild to moderately severe. ITE hearing aids are still discreet, but are larger and allow individuals with dexterity issues to still work them easily. Like many other hearing aids, ITE should be custom-made to get the perfect fit.
Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids
These hearing aids are the style that many people are most familiar with. The hearing aid sits behind the ear, and a thin acoustical tube directs sound into either an earbud or a fitted ear mold. They have buttons or dials that are easy to use to control the hearing aid's settings and also come in different options, including smaller designs.
Talk to your audiologist about which hearing aid styles could work for you. They can help you choose a design that matches your specific hearing loss, lifestyle and budget needs.