There are six main styles of hearing aids. Each balances visual aesthetic with additional features and battery life. The larger the style, the more visible it is but the device can contain more additional features and a bigger battery.
Completely-in-the-canal (CIC) is the smallest hearing aid. This device sits completely in the ear canal making it practically invisible. Since the device is protected by the ear canal it is less likely than the larger devices to pick up extraneous background noises, such as wind. Due to the device’s small size it cannot contain any additional features. It also has the smallest battery, which leads to the shortest battery life. This style works for those with mild to moderate hearing loss.
In-the-canal (ITC) sits partly within the ear canal and partly outside of it. This style is slightly larger and more visible than the CIC. It can contain a few additional features and is able to use a larger battery. This style works for those with moderate hearing loss.
In-the-ear (ITE) sits within the outer ear. There are two versions, one that takes up the whole outer ear, called a full shell, and one that only takes up the bottom half of the outer ear, called a half shell. This style is able to fit even more additional features and a larger battery than the ITC model. This style works for those with mild to severe hearing loss.
Behind-the-ear (BTE) is the largest style of hearing aid. This style has two parts: one sits within the ear canal and one sits on the back of the ear. The two parts are connected with tubing. This is the most visible and largest model, which means this style contains the largest number of additional features and the biggest battery. This style works for all types of hearing loss and is especially popular with children and the elderly.
Receiver-in-canal (RIC) is similar to the BTE except instead of connecting the two parts with tubing they are connected with a thin wire. This leads to a less visible model with the same number of additional features and length of battery life. This style works for all types of hearing loss.
The final style is open fit. This is similar to the RIC; it contains two pieces connected with a thin wire. Instead of a plug that takes up the whole ear canal, this style uses a smaller piece. Low-frequency sounds are able to enter the ear naturally while high-frequency sounds must still be processed by the hearing aid. This style works for those with mild to moderate hearing loss.
Choosing the style that works best for your type and degree of hearing loss can be overwhelming. Fortunately, our experienced audiologist will be there to help you through the process. Contact our office at 337-266-9820 to schedule an appointment.