Behind-The-Ear and In-The-Ear OptionsHearing aids are available in many different sizes and styles thanks to advancements in digital technology and miniaturization of the electronic components. Many of today’s hearing aids are considered sleek, compact, and innovative – offering solutions to accommodate your specific listening needs. A wide range of technology and a host of features are available in each hearing aid style. The cost of hearing aids generally depends on the technology and the number of features the instrument has.
When selecting a style your audiologist will consider:
- The degree of hearing loss
- Anatomical/medical considerations
- Manual dexterity and visual abilities
- Skin sensitivities
Behind-the-Ear (BTE) models sit behind or on top of the outer ear, with tubing that directs sounds down into the ear canal. The tubing connects to an ear tip/dome or earmold to secure the hearing aid in the ear canal. BTEs come in a variety of colors to blend with hair or skin tones, or other fashion colors to suit personal styles. Different BTE sizes accommodate different degrees of hearing loss, features, controls, and battery types.
Mini BTE with slim tube and tip
Mini BTEs are designed to hide behind the outer ear, and have ultra-thin tubing to discreetly route sound into the ear. The tubing connects to a soft tip that sits in the ear canal but doesn’t occlude 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 known as “open fitting” and is recommended for mild to moderate high frequency losses.
Receiver In The Ear (RITE)
RITE models, also known as RIC (receiver-in-canal) models, are mini BTEs that have the speaker of the instrument incorporated in the ear tip, instead of in the main body of the instrument. RITE instruments fit mild to severe hearing losses. This hearing aid style looks similar to the Mini BTE when worn on the ear.
BTE With Earmold
BTEs with earmolds fit mild through profound hearing losses. Their longer shape follows the contour behind the outer ear and can house many features such as 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.
Hearing aids worn in the ear are custom-fit, based on an impression of your ear. They are available in different skin tones to camouflage with the outer ear. Different in-the-ear sizes accommodate different degrees of hearing loss, features, controls, and battery types.
- Invisible In-The-Canal (IIC)
- Completely-in-the-Canal (CIC)
- In-the-Canal (ITC)
- Full Shell or In-the-Ear (ITE)
Invisible In-The-Canal (IIC)
The smallest custom style, IIC instruments sit invisibly in or past the second bend of the ear canal. IIC are specifically designed for mild to moderate hearing loss.
The smallest custom style, CIC instruments fit deeply and entirely within the ear canal. They fit mild to moderate hearing losses and offer high cosmetic appeal as they’re nearly invisible when worn.
ITC instruments sit in the lower portion of the outer ear bowl, making them comfortable and easy to use. Because they’re slightly larger than CIC models, they have a longer battery life, and can host additional features such as directional microphones for better understanding in noisy environments, and controls such as volume controls. They fit mild and moderate hearing losses.
Full Shell or In-the-Ear (ITE)
Full shell models sit flush within the outer ear bowl. Their size allows the maximum number of additional controls and features such as directional microphones, which require space on the outer portion of the instrument. They use a larger battery size than the smaller styles, and can fit a larger receiver with enough power for even some severe hearing losses. Because of their flexibility, they’re widely recommended for mild to severe hearing loss.