Hearing Aid Styles

Hearing aids come in different styles and options.  Having options available will provide the patient with a better overall experience, as they can choose a hearing aid that will fit their personal preferences. Below we will explain the most common hearing aid styles available.

When most people think about different hearing aid styles they mainly consider the way the hearing aid looks.  There are three main styles of hearing aids and each manufacturer makes each style.

These styles are:

Choosing a hearing aid style is not as easy and just picking the hearing aid that looks the nicest.   The type and severity of hearing loss will influence the choice of hearing aid styles. In general, the hearing aid style does not impact the price.  Below are some of the typical styles of hearing aids.


Custom In-the-Ear (ITE) Hearing aids

An impression of the patient’s ear canal is used to create custom hearing aids.  All parts of the hearing aid will fit inside of the ear canal and concha bowl of the ear. There is no part behind the ear. They come in many different sizes as the illustration below indicates. 

6 varieties of in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids in flesh tones

Invisible-in-canal (IIC) and Completely-in-canal (CIC) – These hearing aids are the smallest style of custom hearing aids.  They use a size 10 battery which is the smallest hearing aid battery.  This means you will typically have to replace the battery a couple of times per week.

two images of a close up ear with a nearly invisible in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aid inside of it

In-the-canal (ITC) and Half-shell ITE (HS) – These hearing aids are slightly larger and will extend slightly out of the canal.  Larger size allows for a larger battery (typically a 312 battery) and the potential for more options in the hearing aid such as a telecoil or a stronger receiver for severe hearing losses.

close up of ear with an in-the-canal (ITC) hearing aid inside

Full-shell ITE (FS) – This hearing aid is called full-shell because it will extend into the canal and out to fill the entire concha bowl.  Larger size will allow for maximum battery size (13 battery).  It will also accommodate larger receivers for greatest hearing losses.  Larger size also makes it easier to insert/remove the hearing aids for those with dexterity challenges.

close up of ear with a full-shell ITE hearing aid inside

Receiver-in-Canal (RIC) Hearing Aids

Receiver-in-canal (RIC) and Receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) –  These hearing aids currently dominate the market because they are very discreet and can fit almost any type of hearing loss.  Patients with high frequency hearing loss will frequently choose RIC style hearing aids.  They come in many different sizes and options, utilizing a battery of your choice (10/312/13/rechargeable).

5 receiver-in-canal hearing aids of different sizes and colors
close up of ear with a receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing aid inside

Behind-the-Ear (BTE) Hearing Aids

Standard Behind-the-ear – This style of hearing aid is normally chosen for individuals with the greatest hearing losses or dexterity issues.  These hearing aids are typically the easiest style to insert/remove from the ears and come with larger battery sizes (312, 13, rechargeable).

4 single behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids in shades of brown and tan
Close up of ear with a BTE hearing aid inserted

Hearing aid features and options are typically independent of the hearing aid style.  Options generally include what types of features are built into the processing computer chips in the hearing aid.  Most manufacturers will have three to five options varying in complexity of noise reduction and wireless features.  Pricing is dependent upon the complexity of the computer chip within the hearing aid.

See Pricing Options

Contact us for a consultation to see which hearing aids are the best for you.