Hearing Aids Styles and Types: You Really Do Have a Choice

12/12/2019 | Hearing Aids, Patient Resources

I can only imagine what goes through the minds of my patients whenever I recommend that they need hearing aids. They probably envision those weighty, old-school things, sort of like first-generation cell phones, fixed to their ears with the thick tube and bulking earpiece, along with the whistling and fuss. To be honest, if that was my only option, I would be tempted to go without.

Major technological changes have eliminated both the stigma attached to hearing aids as well as their performance. Thanks to changes in styles, types, designs, colors, and various other features, you now have a real choice when it comes to choosing hearing aids.

Receiver-In-Canal (RIC) and Behind-The-Ear (BTE)

These are the styles most like old-school hearing aids, but only in how you wear them. Though less discrete, they are also much less bulky, lighter weight, and vastly more comfortable to wear. Their technology is vastly superior to their predecessors, making them more trouble-free. They also come in an array of stylish colors. You can choose from these styles if you have mild to moderate hearing loss.

In-The-Ear (ITE)

Moving up in discretion, but designed to handle hearing loss from mildly severe to severe are ITE style hearing aids. In the past, the higher level of technology necessary for these units to perform as required made them bulky and horribly uncomfortable. Modern digital technology, materials, and forming techniques have overcome performance and comfort issues. This style of hearing aid molds to the exact contour of your ear. You can use a color that matches your natural skin tone, allowing for improved wearing discretion.

In-The-Canal (ITC)

ITC type hearing aids are slightly smaller and a bit more discrete than ITE styles. To assist with mildly severe to rapidly diminishing hearing loss, these hearing aids are still noticeable, but only by those who know that you are wearing them. They include advanced digital technology for greater performance and are custom-formed to the exact contour and your natural skin tone using lightweight, comfortable materials. Users of this style enjoy an advantage over smaller units in ease of handling and insertion.

Completely-In-Canal (CIC)

Only the tiny insertion/extraction handle is visible when wearing CIC model hearing aids – an added convenience for those with diminished dexterity. Custom-fit to the unique contours of your ear canal, this model of hearing aid comes in a range of colors to match your natural skin tone and make them nearly invisible. Though micro-digital technology has produced vast performance improvements, this style will only assist those with mild to moderate hearing loss.

Invisible-In-Canal (IIC)

Advancements in micro-digital technology allows wearers of IIC style hearing aids the highest possible level of discretion. Not much bigger than a garbanzo bean, these tiny units insert deeper into the ear canal, fitting its exact contour and are available in colors to match your unique skin tone for discrete comfort. If you have mild to moderate hearing loss, you can wear this style of hearing aid without worrying what others might think, but still get in on all that is going on around you.

Because of advancements in material, forming techniques, and micro-digital technology, you can choose the style and color of hearing aids that make for discrete, comfortable wearing. Not only do my patients take advantage of the wide variety of available style options, but they also receive expert care when it comes to adjusting to wearing their hearing aids. To ensure that you get the most out your hearing aids, my team at Audiology and Hearing Aids Associates and I provide our La Grande patients with expert fitting, follow-up, adjustment, and troubleshooting as a regular part of your overall hearing care.

Contact us to check out the various hearing aid types and styles available from Audiology and Hearing Aids Associates and select the right one to fit your needs.

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Erika Shakespeare CCC-A

Erika Shakespeare, CCC-A, specializes in pediatric and adult diagnostics and amplification. Working with adults to help manage tinnitus and hearing loss since 2002, she is an expert in both of these areas. Additionally, she is a pediatric audiology mentor and educator for pediatric audiologists across the country and is one of the most respected experts on pediatric audiology.

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