Hearing aids come in different styles and options. Having options available will provide the patient with a better overall experience.
When most people think about different types of hearing aids they consider the way the hearing aid looks. There are three types of hearing aids and each manufacturer makes them all.
These styles are:
- Standard Behind-The-Ear (BTE) hearing aids
- Custom In-The-Ear (ITE) hearing aids
- Receiver-In-Canal (RIC/RITE) hearing aids
Choosing a hearing aid style is not as easy and just picking the hearing aid that looks the nicest. The style of hearing aid is usually influenced by the type and severity of hearing loss. Price of the hearing aid is usually not influenced by the style of the hearing aid. Below are some of the typical styles of hearing aids.
Custom Hearing aids.
Custom hearing are hearing aids that are formed after obtaining an impression of the ear. All parts of the hearing aid are 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.
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.
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.
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.
Behind the ear styles
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. These hearing aids are greatest utilized when the type of hearing loss is mostly high frequency configuration. They come in many different sizes and options, utilizing a battery of your choice (10/312/13/rechargeable).
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).
Hearing aid options are not usually determined by 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.
Contact us for a consultation to see which hearing aids are the best for you.