Types of Hearing Aids
What about style and function?
There are many hearing aid types and styles to choose from nowadays.
There have been a number of recent advances enabling manufacturers to add new functionality to tiny hearing aids. This innovation has eliminated many of the problems associated with these highly cosmetic fittings. Sadly, innovation often comes with a higher cost.
But at Age UK Hearing Aids, the approach is different. Within our hearing categories, the cost is the same for an aid whether it fits behind your ear or right inside your ear canal. Here are all the different types of hearing aid on offer.
Behind the Ear: BTE
BTE aids consist of a case, a tube and an ear mould. The case sits behind the ear with the tube coming down the front into the ear mould. The case contains the amplification system.
BTE aids can be used for slight to profound hearing losses and can be connected to assistive listening devices, such as FM systems.
Open and Receiver In Canal: Open/RIC
The open revolution has made wearing a digital hearing aid more comfortable for many people. These devices look similar to a BTE aid, however, there is one crucial difference: the ear mould is replaced with an open dome that does not block or occlude the ear canal.
A recent development of the open style is RIC where the receiver, the speaker, is situated in the ear canal. These hearing aids are also highly cosmetic, often being much less visible than a custom aid.
The sound of the hearing aid is arguably smoother than that of a traditional BTE hearing aid. With a RIC hearing aid, the receiver is right in the ear canal and the amplified output of the hearing aid does not need to be pushed through an acoustic tube to the ear mould and therefore has less distortion.
RIC hearing aids can typically be made with a very small case behind-the-ear and the wire connecting the hearing aid, and the receiver is extremely inconspicuous. RIC devices are suited to "open fit" technology so they can be fitted without plugging up the ear, offering relief from occlusion.
In The Ear: ITE - Full Shell
ITE hearing aids are suitable for slight to more severe hearing losses. They fit the full concha of the ear and are often referred to as “Full Shell” hearing aids. Generally this style of aid is chosen where the hearing loss requires more power than can be provided by a smaller in ear hearing aid.
In The Canal: ITC – Half Shell
ITC aids are smaller, filling only the bottom half of the external ear and are less visible than an ITE aid. These in ear aids are intended for slight to moderate hearing losses. They are the most popular choice for people when it comes to choosing a custom hearing aid. The ear bowl is left more open and so can perform its function more easily, but with a more natural fitting.
Completely In the Canal: CIC
As the name suggests, these small hearing aids fit completely in the ear canal and are not visible unless you were to look directly into the ear.
The size of these modern hearing aids does lead to some limitations in respect of directional microphones, venting size and battery life, and they need to be carefully considered by your hearing aid audiologist to make a decision as to suitability. If batteries are a concern of yours, UK Hearing Care offer hearing aid batteries at competitive prices.
Invisible In the Canal: IIC
The IIC is a recent addition to the range of custom-fitted hearing aids. It is made from a very deep impression which requires one of our highly trained audiologists to work with you. They are suitable for people with slight and moderate levels of hearing losses. Your audiologist can advise you if you qualify following a simple hearing test.
Don’t feel overwhelmed by options and styles. UK Hearing Care has vast experience assisting people with their hearing difficulties and can find the right solution for you.
Call or choose one of the options below to find out more about handling your hearing loss.