Thanks to recent advancements in technology, there is now a wide variety of hearing aid sizes and styles to accommodate different features, controls, battery types, degrees of power, and your own personal style. It’s exciting that the miniaturization of the internal components now allows for modern hearing aids to be sleek, compact and innovative!
Before selecting a hearing aid, Dr. Engel will first do an extensive diagnostic evaluation. If it is determined that you could benefit from a hearing aid, the next step is to work together with Dr. Engel to select the style and features of the hearing aid that best suits your needs and preferences.
We consider the following factors when determining which hearing aid style is best for you:
- Manual dexterity and visual abilities
- Anatomical/medical considerations
- The degree of the hearing loss (power requirements)
- Patient budget
- Skin sensitivities
- Lifestyle and listening needs
- Hearing aid brand preference
- Personal preference
Hearing aids are either worn in the ear or behind the ear. In the ear (ITE) hearing aids are usually custom-fit based on a cast or impression of the ear and are available in different skin tones to camouflage with the outer ear. Behind the ear (BTE) hearing aids sit behind or on top of the outer ear. A slim tube routes sound down to an ear tip or earmold in the ear canal. They come in a variety of colors to blend in with hair or skin tones. Or, if you prefer, you can choose from funky designs including leopard print to make a personal statement.
In the Ear (ITE) Hearing Aids
- Invisible in Canal (IIC)- Designed for mild-to-moderate hearing loss, IIC is the smallest custom style. The IIC instruments sit invisibly in or past the second bend of the ear canal.
- Completely in Canal (CIC)- CIC hearing aids offer high cosmetic appeal because the CIC instruments fit entirely within the ear canal making it nearly invisible when worn. One of the smallest custom styles, they fit mild-to-moderate hearing losses.
- In the Canal (ITC)- ITC hearing aids are slightly larger than CIC models, boast a longer battery life, and offer additional features such as directional microphones and volume controls. Designed for mild to moderate hearing losses, they are comfortable and easy to use because the ITC instruments sit in the lower portion of the outer ear bowl.
- Full Shell in The Ear (ITE)- Full shell in the ear models are widely recommended because of the flexibility they offer. Serving mild to severe hearing loss, full shell models sit flush within the entire ear bowl. The larger size grants the maximum number of controls and features including directional microphones, longer battery life and enough power for even some severe hearing loss.
Behind-the-Ear (BTE) Hearing Aids
- Mini BTE With Slim Tube and Tip- Mini BTE’s, designed to hide behind the outer ear, have ultra-thin tubing/wiring to discreetly route sound into the ear. The tubing/wiring connects to a soft tip that sits in the ear canal without occluding it. As a result, users report a natural, open feeling since air and sound can enter the ear canal naturally around the tip while amplified sound enters through the tip. This “open fitting” is recommended for mild to moderate high frequency losses.
- Receiver In Canal (RIC)- The RIC hearing aid, ideal for individuals with mild to severe hearing loss, looks like the Mini BTE when worn in the ear. However, the speaker of the instrument is incorporated in the ear tip instead of the main body of the instrument. The receiver sits in the ear and is available in miniature styles.
- BTE With Earmold- BTE with earmolds are worn behind the ear, but incorporate the earmold for a custom fit to amplify listening experience. It is ideal for individuals with mild to severe hearing losses. The longer shape of the hearing instrument follows the contour behind the outer ear and houses many features including a program button and volume control.