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What are the different hearing aid types available?

Updated 01/03/2021

Hearing Aid Styles

Understanding the different hearing aid types

What style of hearing aid is best?

When you suffer from hearing loss there are many things that you will no doubt be thinking about, but one of the questions that we get asked most often is: ‘What type of hearing aid should I choose?’.

There is no one single answer to this question, as every hearing aid user is different, but the great news is that there is a hearing aid out there to suit each and every one of you!

Different types of hearing aids explained

Digital hearing aid technology has developed almost exponentially over the past few years. Hearing aids now feature digital technology, which is a great improvement on the old analogue models that would pick up everything from your grandchildren’s greetings to the local taxi firms latest drop off. The design of hearing aids has also dramatically improved. Modern hearing aids can actually be completely invisible, but even if you choose a non-invisible model then the designs are now sleek and inconspicuous.

 

 

 

What type of hearing aids can you get on the NHS?

As always, we commend the NHS for providing a great service for those with hearing loss.  Although this service isn't right for everyone, they do offer free hearing aids and aftercare.  That being said, the types of hearing aids available on the NHS - along with access to modern technology very limited - unlike those from private audiologists.  Therefore, if style, technology and connectivity are important to you, chances are you'll be disappointed with the NHS offerings.

Bluetooth Hearing Aids

 

Types of hearing aids with Bluetooth connectivity

If you are looking for hearing aids with Bluetooth connectivity - You can find more information about the types available with this function on our Bluetooth page here

There are several different hearing aid types

Below we discuss the different types of hearing aids available on the market, the styles and shapes, how they work and their pros and cons.  We hope this information might help you choose the right one for you, so you can judge for yourself what may suit you and your hearing loss.

Types of hearing aids & their functions

Hearing Aid Types - RIC

Open Fit Hearing Aids and Receiver In Canal Hearing Aids (Open / RIC)

This type of hearing aid can also be called Receiver In-Ear (RIE) and are one of the most popular types of hearing aid on the market. They are based on the classic Behind The Ear (BTE) design, but the receiver/speaker sits directly in the ear canal, with the microphone and processor sitting in a separate casing behind the ear, the two being connected with a thin and inconspicuous tube or wire.

This combined with the fact that instead of the traditional Behind The Ear (BTE) ear mould, Open Fit Hearing Aids / Receiver In Canal Hearing Aids (Open / RIC) feature an open dome which crucially does not block or occlude the ear canal.  Discover more about Open Fit hearing aids in the link below.

LEARN MORE > Receiver in the canal hearing aids

Our top three RIC hearing aid picks for 2020 / 2021

£1895
per aid
£3695
per pair
£1895
per aid
£3695
per pair
Tech Rating:
£1895
per aid
£3695
per pair

Behind the Ear
Fitting Styles: RIC

5 year warranty included.  All Oticon More aids are rechargeable and price includes recharging station.

Oticon More Full Range

Behind the Ear
Fitting Styles: RIC

5 year warranty included.  All Oticon More aids are rechargeable and price includes recharging station.

Oticon More Full Range
£1695
per aid
£2895
per pair
£1695
per aid
£2895
per pair
Tech Rating:
£1695
per aid
£2895
per pair

Behind the Ear
Fitting Styles: RIC, P, UP

5 Year Warranty Included. Rechargeable version is an additional £50 per aid.

 
 
Phonak Paradise Full Range

Behind the Ear
Fitting Styles: RIC, P, UP

5 Year Warranty Included. Rechargeable version is an additional £50 per aid.

 
 
Phonak Paradise Full Range
£895
per aid
£1695
per pair
£895
per aid
£1695
per pair
Tech Rating:
£895
per aid
£1695
per pair

Behind the Ear

Fitting Styles:  RIC

4 Year Warranty Included. Rechargeable at no extra cost.

Signia Xperience Full Range

Behind the Ear

Fitting Styles:  RIC

4 Year Warranty Included. Rechargeable at no extra cost.

Signia Xperience Full Range

Hearing Aid Types - CIC

Completely In the Canal Hearing Aids (CIC)

This type of hearing aid fits neatly into your ear canal meaning that it is very inconspicuous and discreet. They are custom made from a mould of your ear meaning that they are also very comfortable to wear.

Their smaller size means that they are able to include slightly less functionality and power than larger aids so are suitable for people with slight to moderate hearing loss.

LEARN MORE > Completely in the canal hearing aids (CIC)

Our top three CIC hearing aid picks for 2020 / 2021

£1695
per aid
£3190
per pair
£1695
per aid
£3190
per pair
Tech Rating:
£1695
per aid
£3190
per pair

Behind the Ear and In the Ear
Fitting Styles: RIC, BTE, ITC, ITE, IIC, CIC, MC

5 year warranty included.

Oticon OPN Full Range

Behind the Ear and In the Ear
Fitting Styles: RIC, BTE, ITC, ITE, IIC, CIC, MC

5 year warranty included.

Oticon OPN Full Range
£1695
per aid
£2995
per pair
£1695
per aid
£2995
per pair
Tech Rating:
£1695
per aid
£2995
per pair

In the Ear
Fitting Styles: IIC

5 Year Warranty Included

Signia Xperience Full Range

In the Ear
Fitting Styles: IIC

5 Year Warranty Included

Signia Xperience Full Range
£495
per aid
£895
per pair
£495
per aid
£895
per pair
Tech Rating:
£495
per aid
£895
per pair

Behind the Ear and In the Ear
Fitting Styles: RIC, BTE, ITC, ITE, IIC, CIC, MC

2 year warranty included.  

Bernafon Zerena Full Range

Behind the Ear and In the Ear
Fitting Styles: RIC, BTE, ITC, ITE, IIC, CIC, MC

2 year warranty included.  

Bernafon Zerena Full Range

Hearing Aids Types - ITC

In The Canal Hearing Aids (ITC)

Slightly smaller than In The Ear (ITE) hearing aids, In The Canal (ITC) hearing aids are also sometimes known as Half Shell hearing aids. These are designed to fit just into the entrance of the ear canal.

This means that they are less conspicuous and depending on your remaining level of hearing can be used as more of a support to that, as more of the ear bowl itself is left open thus allowing your ear to continue to perform its residual functionality.

LEARN MORE > Invisible In the Canal ITC Hearing Aids

Our top three ITC hearing aid picks for 2020 / 2021

£1695
per aid
£3295
per pair
£1695
per aid
£3295
per pair
Tech Rating:
£1695
per aid
£3295
per pair

Behind the Ear & In the Ear
Fitting Styles: BTE, RIC, ITE, ITC

Rechargeable models are an additional £100 per aid

Starkey Livio Full Range

Behind the Ear & In the Ear
Fitting Styles: BTE, RIC, ITE, ITC

Rechargeable models are an additional £100 per aid

Starkey Livio Full Range

 

 

Behind the Ear & In the Ear
Fitting Styles: RIC, BTE, ITE

5 Year Warranty Included. Rechargeable version is an additional £50 per aid.

Phonak Marvel Full Range

 

 

Behind the Ear & In the Ear
Fitting Styles: RIC, BTE, ITE

5 Year Warranty Included. Rechargeable version is an additional £50 per aid.

Phonak Marvel Full Range
£1195
per aid
£1995
per pair
£1195
per aid
£1995
per pair
Tech Rating:
£1195
per aid
£1995
per pair

 

Behind the Ear & In the Ear
Fitting Styles: RIC, BTE, ITE, ITC, CIC

5 Year Warranty Included. Rechargeable £50 extra per aid.

Resound LiNX 3D and Quattro Full Range

 

Behind the Ear & In the Ear
Fitting Styles: RIC, BTE, ITE, ITC, CIC

5 Year Warranty Included. Rechargeable £50 extra per aid.

Resound LiNX 3D and Quattro Full Range

Hearing Aid Types - ITE

In The Ear Hearing Aids (ITE)

Also known as Full Shell hearing aids, this type of aid is designed as a single unit which completely fills the outer ear. They are probably one of the most visible types of hearing aids, however, they are also one of the most simple to operate as they can feature a range of on-aid controls for changing volume, switching programmes etc.

Their larger size also means that functions such as battery replacement are much easier and they can hold the larger battery types, meaning that In The Ear Hearing Aids (ITE) can be a great choice for people with dexterity issues or those who need a high powered hearing aid.

LEARN MORE > In The Ear Hearing Aids (ITE)

Our top three ITE hearing aid picks for 2020 / 2021

£1695
per aid
£3295
per pair
£1695
per aid
£3295
per pair
Tech Rating:
£1695
per aid
£3295
per pair

Behind the Ear & In the Ear
Fitting Styles: BTE, RIC, ITE, ITC

Rechargeable models are an additional £100 per aid

Starkey Livio Full Range

Behind the Ear & In the Ear
Fitting Styles: BTE, RIC, ITE, ITC

Rechargeable models are an additional £100 per aid

Starkey Livio Full Range

 

 

Behind the Ear & In the Ear
Fitting Styles: RIC, BTE, ITE

5 Year Warranty Included. Rechargeable version is an additional £50 per aid.

Phonak Marvel Full Range

 

 

Behind the Ear & In the Ear
Fitting Styles: RIC, BTE, ITE

5 Year Warranty Included. Rechargeable version is an additional £50 per aid.

Phonak Marvel Full Range
£1195
per aid
£1995
per pair
£1195
per aid
£1995
per pair
Tech Rating:
£1195
per aid
£1995
per pair

 

Behind the Ear & In the Ear
Fitting Styles: RIC, BTE, ITE, ITC, CIC

5 Year Warranty Included. Rechargeable £50 extra per aid.

Resound LiNX 3D and Quattro Full Range

 

Behind the Ear & In the Ear
Fitting Styles: RIC, BTE, ITE, ITC, CIC

5 Year Warranty Included. Rechargeable £50 extra per aid.

Resound LiNX 3D and Quattro Full Range

Hearing Aid Types - IIC

Invisible In the Canal Hearing Aids (IIC)

Invisible In the Canal (IIC) hearing aids are just as their name suggests and are almost completely invisible when worn. They sit deeper in the ear canal than Completely In the Canal (CIC) hearing aids meaning that the only way that someone would know that you are using a hearing aid is that your hearing is better!

They are made from a custom mould of your inner meaning that they are also extremely comfortable to wear.

LEARN MORE > Invisible In the Canal Hearing Aids (IIC)

Our top three IIC hearing aid picks for 2020 / 2021

£1895
per aid
£3495
per pair
£1895
per aid
£3495
per pair
Tech Rating:
£1895
per aid
£3495
per pair
£1595
per aid
£2695
per pair
£1595
per aid
£2695
per pair
Tech Rating:
£1595
per aid
£2695
per pair

 

In the Ear
Fitting Styles: IIC

5 Year Warranty Included.

Phonak Titanium Full Range

 

In the Ear
Fitting Styles: IIC

5 Year Warranty Included.

Phonak Titanium Full Range
£895
per aid
£1695
per pair
£895
per aid
£1695
per pair
Tech Rating:
£895
per aid
£1695
per pair

In the Ear
Fitting Styles: IIC

5 Year Warranty Included

Signia Xperience Full Range

In the Ear
Fitting Styles: IIC

5 Year Warranty Included

Signia Xperience Full Range

Hearing Aid Types - BTE

Behind The Ear Hearing Aids (BTE)

Behind The Ear hearing aids, sometimes referred to as BTE aids are probably the most traditional form of hearing aid available. However, don’t let this make you think that they can not be at the forefront of modern hearing aid technology.

They have a case which sits behind the ear (hence the name) which is connected to a custom-made ear mould. Far from the traditional image of a clunky conspicuous design, Behind The Ear (BTE) hearing aids are now much smaller than you might think and many come in a range of colours to blend seamlessly with your hair/skin tone.

LEARN MORE > Behind The Ear Hearing Aids (BTE)

Our top three BTE hearing aid picks for 2020 / 2021

£1895
per aid
£3695
per pair
£1895
per aid
£3695
per pair
Tech Rating:
£1895
per aid
£3695
per pair

Behind the Ear
Fitting Styles: RIC

5 year warranty included.  All Oticon More aids are rechargeable and price includes recharging station.

Oticon More Full Range

Behind the Ear
Fitting Styles: RIC

5 year warranty included.  All Oticon More aids are rechargeable and price includes recharging station.

Oticon More Full Range
£1695
per aid
£2895
per pair
£1695
per aid
£2895
per pair
Tech Rating:
£1695
per aid
£2895
per pair

Behind the Ear
Fitting Styles: RIC, P, UP

5 Year Warranty Included. Rechargeable version is an additional £50 per aid.

 
 
Phonak Paradise Full Range

Behind the Ear
Fitting Styles: RIC, P, UP

5 Year Warranty Included. Rechargeable version is an additional £50 per aid.

 
 
Phonak Paradise Full Range
£895
per aid
£1595
per pair
£895
per aid
£1595
per pair
Tech Rating:
£895
per aid
£1595
per pair

Behind the Ear
Fitting Styles: RIC

2 year warranty included.  Rechargeable version is an additional £100 per aid.

Bernafon Viron Full Range

Behind the Ear
Fitting Styles: RIC

2 year warranty included.  Rechargeable version is an additional £100 per aid.

Bernafon Viron Full Range

Hearing Aid Types - SP, UP

Super Power Hearing Aids (SP)

Super Power hearing aids are designed to help those with severe to profound hearing loss, for whom traditional hearing aids have been able to offer very little assistance. Their design is similar to a Behind The Ear (BTE), or sometimes Open / Receiver in Ear (Open / RIC) hearing aids, but usually feature a full ear mould and a larger receiver.

This allows for greater power and amplification of sound, but without the issues with feedback that high powered hearing aids have previously been troubled with.

LEARN MORE > Super Power Hearing Aids

Our top three super power (SP) hearing aid picks for 2020 / 2021

£1695
per aid
£2995
per pair
£1695
per aid
£2995
per pair
Tech Rating:
£1695
per aid
£2995
per pair

Behind the Ear
Fitting Styles: BTE, SP, UP

5 year warranty included.

Bernafon Leox Full Range

Behind the Ear
Fitting Styles: BTE, SP, UP

5 year warranty included.

Bernafon Leox Full Range
£1695
per aid
£2795
per pair
£1695
per aid
£2795
per pair
Tech Rating:
£1695
per aid
£2795
per pair

Behind the Ear
Fitting Styles: BTE, SP

5 Year Warranty Included.

 
 
Resound Enzo & Enzo Q Full Range

Behind the Ear
Fitting Styles: BTE, SP

5 Year Warranty Included.

 
 
Resound Enzo & Enzo Q Full Range
£1195
per aid
£2195
per pair
£1195
per aid
£2195
per pair
Tech Rating:
£1195
per aid
£2195
per pair

Behind the Ear
Fitting Styles: BTE, SP, UP

5 year warranty included.

Oticon Xceed Full Range

Behind the Ear
Fitting Styles: BTE, SP, UP

5 year warranty included.

Oticon Xceed Full Range
CROS hearing aids

Hearing Aid Types - CROS / BICROS

CROS Hearing Aids / BICROS Hearing Aids - For Single-Sided Deafness

There are two separate hearing aid solutions for single-sided deafness and these are called CROS hearing aids or BICROS hearing aids.  A BICROS hearing aid is for people who have one deaf ear and one ear with hearing loss.  A CROS hearing aid is for people with one deaf ear and one good ear.

LEARN MORE > CROS/BICROS Hearing Aids

Our top three CROS/BICROS hearing aid picks for 2020 / 2021

Tech Rating:
£795
per aid

Behind the Ear
Fitting Styles: RIC

 
 
Oticon OPN Full Range

Behind the Ear
Fitting Styles: RIC

 
 
Oticon OPN Full Range

 

 

Behind the Ear & In the Ear
Fitting Styles: RIC, IIC

5 Year Warranty Included. Rechargeable at no extra cost (Pure Charge & Go model only)

Signia Xperience Full Range

 

 

Behind the Ear & In the Ear
Fitting Styles: RIC, IIC

5 Year Warranty Included. Rechargeable at no extra cost (Pure Charge & Go model only)

Signia Xperience Full Range
£795
per aid
£795
per aid
Tech Rating:
£795
per aid

Quick Links to Hearing Aid Styles

Behind The Ear (BTE) Hearing Aids
View Behind The Ear (BTE) Hearing Aids
Completely In the Canal CIC Hearing Aids
View Completely In the Canal CIC Hearing Aids
In The Canal (ITC) Hearing Aids
View In The Canal (ITC) Hearing Aids
In The Ear (ITE) Hearing Aids
View In The Ear (ITE) Hearing Aids
Invisible In the Canal IIC Hearing Aids
View Invisible In the Canal IIC Hearing Aids
Receiver In Canal (RIC) Hearing Aids
View Receiver In Canal (RIC) Hearing Aids

Hearing Aid Domes

Types of hearing aid domes and types of hearing aid ear moulds

An introduction to closed and open hearing aid domes

In short, there are two different types of hearing aid domes, which alter the sound quality of your hearing aids and hearing experience.  The one you opt for really all depends on the level of your hearing loss and what your audiologist advises.  A closed-style hearing aid dome is one full piece of plastic that covers the receiver and is inserted within your ear canal.  

An open-style hearing aid dome has a number of openings along the dome.  The openings assist in preventing the occlusion you can be challenged with and provide amplified sound.  The open-style hearing aid dome is more successful for those with mild to moderately severe hearing loss.

 

Read Next:  Hearing Loss Facts

This article was written by Paul Harrison

Meet Paul Harrison, Audiology Expert

Managing Director & founder of Hearing Aid UK, with over 20 years of audiology experience and a member of the British Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists Council (BSHAA) between 2015-2020.

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