While hearing aids can’t restore normal hearing, they can improve your communication abilities and quality of life by amplifying sounds you’ve been missing to a level your inner ears can detect. If you’ve started researching what hearing aids are on the market, you may feel overwhelmed by the choices. With the help of an audiologist, you can find a device that matches your hearing loss, lifestyle and budget.
To get started, we’ve compiled a guide of different hearing aids styles.
How Hearing Aids Work
No matter the style of hearing aid, they all utilize the same basic parts to help you hear. Small microphones collect sounds from the environment, then a computer chip with an amplifier converts the incoming sound into digital code. The hearing aid is programmed to analyze and adjust sound based on your unique hearing loss, then the amplified signals are converted back into soundwaves and delivered to your ears through little speakers called receivers.
Hearing Aid Styles
Below the most common hearing aid styles are listed from smallest (and most discreet) to largest (and most powerful).
- Completely-in-the-canal (CIC) or mini CIC. These devices are molded to fit the inside of the ear canal and are best for adults with mild to moderate hearing loss.
- In-the-canal (ITC). This model is custom-molded and fits partly in the ear canal. It also improves mild to moderate hearing loss in adults.
- In-the-ear (ITE). These devices are custom-made to fit most of the bowl-shaped area of the outer ear (full shell) or just the lower part (half shell). Both versions can treat mild to severe hearing loss.
- Behind-the-ear (BTE). These devices include a custom earmold which connects over the ear via tube to the receiver. They are appropriate for all ages and nearly any type of hearing loss.
- Receiver-in-canal (RIC) or receiver-in-the-ear (RITE). This style is similar to BTE except the receiver is located in the ear canal and a wire, rather than a tube, connects the two pieces.
- Open-fit. This device is a variation of a BTE hearing aid except it keeps the ear canal very open, allowing low-frequency sounds to enter the ear naturally and high-frequency sounds to be amplified through the hearing aid.
For more information about various hearing aid styles or to schedule an appointment with an expert audiologist, call LeMay Hearing & Balance today.