If you go to your local grocery store, you’ll be faced with seemingly endless choices, from tons of different cereals to a multitude of potato chips and chocolate. You can take your time and pick what suits your tastes. If only you could do the same with your hearing aids. Except, of course, you can. Today there are no less than six different styles of hearing aids, on top of the various brands available.
Which style of hearing aid you choose will depend on the severity of your hearing loss, your budget, and lifestyle preferences.
Let’s take a look at the different styles of hearing aids available, which fall into two general categories: behind the ear and in the ear.
Behind the ear
Behind the ear hearing aids, also known as BTEs, fit most people’s expectations for what hearing aids look like. They are made of a plastic body that is shaped to fit over the ear, with plastic tubing that connects this to an earmold that sits inside the ear canal.
A variation on the standard BTE is the RIC, or receiver in canal. You still have a plastic body that sits over the ear, but the receiver now sits within the ear canal and the plastic tubing is replaced with thin wires.
Both traditional BTEs and RICs work well across the full range of hearing loss, namely mild, moderate, and severe. When compared to other styles of hearing aid, they are larger, but this means they can house bigger batteries that last longer, as well as being more cost-effective as they do not need to be custom-made.
In the ear
In the ear hearing aids offer greater discretion than BTEs, as the main body of the hearing aid is smaller and fits either entirely or partially in the ear canal. They are also usually available in skin tone colors so that they blend into the background. However, they do require that you clean them often to remove any build-up of earwax and, being smaller in size, can be a bit trickier to handle.
There are four types to choose from:
1. In the ear (ITE) – these fit completely within the outer ear, which includes the ear canal and ear bowl. They work well for those with mild, moderate, or severe hearing loss.
2. In the canal (ITC) – these work well for those with mild or moderate hearing loss and sit visibly within the ear canal.
3. Completely in canal (CIC) – these sit fully within the ear canal with a small handle sticking out to help remove the hearing aid. They work well for those with mild or moderate hearing loss.
4. Invisible in canal (IIC) – suitable for those with mild or moderate hearing loss, these hearing aids are also placed within the ear canal but sit further in than CICs, which completely hides them from view.
Getting back to our question at the start of this blog, if you want to find out which of these six hearing aid styles is best for you, talk to our audiology doctor in Brooklyn, Dr. Hassadah Kupfer. She can answer all of your questions, book you in for a hearing test and advise you on the treatments available for your hearing loss. Call Dr. Kupfer at 917-791-1510.