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Hearing Aid Types UK: What are the different hearing aid styles available?

Updated 26/08/2021

Hearing Aid Styles

Understanding the different hearing aid types

Including hearing aid types pros and cons

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!  We dedicate this page and links to informing you about what type of hearing aids are available in the UK and how they work.

This page will include:

Hearing aid styles and prices, pictures of hearing aid types, a comparison of hearing aid types, use of hearing aid types, the pros and cons of different hearing aid types and the main features of each hearing aid style.

Hearing Aid Types & Hearing Aid Types Comparison

RIC hearing aid style

Hearing Aid Types - RIC

Receiver-in-the-Canal Hearing Aids / RIC Hearing Aids

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 that 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

CIC hearing aid

Hearing Aid Types - CIC

Completely In the Canal Hearing Aids / CIC Hearing Aids

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)

ITC hearing aids

Hearing Aids Types - ITC

In The Canal Hearing Aids / ITC Hearing Aids

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

ITE hearing aid

Hearing Aid Types - ITE

In The Ear Hearing Aids / ITE Hearing Aids

Also known as Full Shell hearing aids, this type of aid is designed as a single unit that 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)

IIC hearing aids

Hearing Aid Types - IIC

Invisible In the Canal Hearing Aids / IIC Hearing Aids

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)

BTE hearing aids

Hearing Aid Types - BTE

Behind The Ear Hearing Aids / BTE Hearing Aids

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 that 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)

SP hearing aids

Hearing Aid Types - SP, UP

Super Power Hearing Aids / SP Hearing Aids / UP Hearing Aids

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

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

Quick Links to Hearing Aid Styles

Behind the Ear Hearing Aids (BTE)
View Behind the Ear Hearing Aids (BTE)
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 / Full Shell
View In The Ear (ITE) Hearing Aids / Full Shell
Invisible Hearing Aids - Invisible In the Canal IIC Hearing Aids
View Invisible Hearing Aids - Invisible In the Canal IIC Hearing Aids
Receiver In Canal (RIC) Hearing Aids
View Receiver In Canal (RIC) Hearing Aids
This information was written by Paul Harrison - Audiology Expert

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.

Hearing Aid Domes

Types of Hearing Aid Technology

More information on the best type of hearing aids

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 firm's 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. 

Styles 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.

What hearing aid styles do the top hearing aid brands offer?

Looking for types of hearing aids and prices?  Click on the below links to view our hearing aid brands' ranges, prices and styles below:

 

 

Hearing Aid Types NHS

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.

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