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Hearing Aid Types

What are the different hearing aid types available?

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!

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.

There are several different hearing aid types that you can choose from. These include:

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.

Open 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 thin and inconspicuous tube or wire. This combined with the fact that instead of the traditional Behind The Ear (BTE) ear mould, Open / Receiver In Canal Hearing Aids (Open / RIC) feature an open dome which crucially does not block or occlude the ear canal.

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 is 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.

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.

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.

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.

Super Power 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 a greater power and amplification of sound, but without the issues with feedback that high powered hearing aids have previously been troubled with.

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