The Different Types and Styles of Hearing Aids

Hearing aids are the best devices for correcting hearing loss. They’ve helped millions of individuals with hearing impairment across the globe, helping them lead a better life. To suit the individual preferences and lifestyle, hearing aids of many types and styles are available.

They are small electronic devices that address varying types of hearing loss. Customization of such devices is also possible. Every digital hearing aid has at least one microphone that picks up sound. It is then amplified by a computer chip and processed. With the help of a speaker, the individual’s ear receives the signal.

All the hearing aids operate with the help of batteries. There are more sophisticated models that provide additional features. They include direct connection to neural networks or a smartphone. Now, let’s take a look at two basic types of hearing aids:

In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids

Worn in the ear canal, the ITE hearing aids are usually custom-fit. It is based on the observations of your hearing-care professional. He or she makes these observations during your consultation with regards to the use of hearing aids. The ITE hearing aids are available in different skin tones as well.

It makes the device blend well with the outer ear. Some types of ITE hearing aids are closer to the outer ear. Others fit very deeply within the ear canal.

Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids

Placed either behind or on top of the outer ear, BTE hearing aids are available in different colors. You can choose their desired color to match your skin or hair tone. They’re also available in flashier designs for a more personalized flair. Usually, these devices come with tubing that sends the sound down into the ear canal.

This is possible with the help of a custom-fit earmold. A dome-style BTE hearing aid performs a similar function. However, it doesn’t block the entire opening of the ear canal.

Most of these devices come with standard button batteries. These button batteries need frequent replacement. Today, you’ll also come across rechargeable batteries. Now, let’s see the different styles of hearing aid styles available in these two types of hearing aids:

Invisible in the canal (IIC) style and Completely in the canal (CIC) style

The smallest and the most discreet styles in hearing aids are the IIC and CIC styles. The IIC-style hearing aids are virtually invisible. A person wearing this style of hearing aids places them deeply in his or her ears. You can remove it from the ear with the help of a pull-out string. The CIC-style hearing aids are quite similar to the IIC-style hearing aids.

The only difference is that the CIC-style devices don’t go that deep into the ears. Individuals with hearing loss ranging from mild to moderate typically use both these styles of hearing aids. As these devices are smaller in size, they don’t usually have manual controls.

As they fit within the ear, these devices have a good sound quality. There are certain disadvantages as well. Such hearing aids are susceptible to moisture damage and ear wax. Their small size can be a problem for dexterity and connectivity to wireless devices.

In-the-canal (ITC)

You can wear the ITC-style hearing aids in the lower portion of the outer bowl of your ear. This makes such hearing aids easy and comfortable to use. In-the-canal hearing aids have a slightly longer battery life. This is due to the fact that they’re slightly larger than the IIC and CIC styles.

The ITC-style hearing aids also fit a wide range of hearing losses. As they are larger in size, they can have additional features, such as manual controls and directional mics. However, they can give the wearer a plugged up feeling. They might also have a problem connecting to wireless devices.

Low-profile hearing aids

Low-profile hearing aids range from half-shell designs to full-shell designs. They’re quite similar to the ITC styles. The low-profile hearing aids of half-shell designs fill half of the outer ear’s bowl. The ones with full-shell designs fill almost the entire bowl of the outer ear.

Just like the ITC styles, low-profile designs can accommodate manual controls and directional microphones. People with issues of dexterity often desire low-profile hearing aids. This is because the low-profile hearing aids are much easier to handle. One can insert and remove them with greater ease owing to their larger size.

Such devices can also connect to phones and other wireless devices. Among their disadvantages is the fact that they’re less discreet than the smaller ITE styles. Owing to more occlusion, the low-profile hearing aids can make the ones wearing them feel plugged up.

Receiver-in-the-ear (RITE)

Depending on the manufacturer, this style of hearing aids can either be receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) or receiver-in-canal (RIC). Both of them are open-fit style of hearing aids. They have a speaker built into the ear dome that’s insertable. The speaker of these hearing aids are in the ear canal.

A tiny case placed behind the ear accommodates the processor and microphone. A thin wire connects both of them. The sound quality of such hearing aids are above average. All the leading hearing-aid manufacturers make this style of hearing aids. If there’s a damage, you can replace their speaker portion that fits in the ear.

A hearing-aid center offers replacement of hearing aids. This avoids the process of shipping the damaged device to the manufacturer for repair. This style of hearing aids comes with the option of rechargeable battery. You can also enjoy wireless connectivity to smartphones with the RITEs and RICs.

In recent times, they also come with advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence. The microphone and sound processor of these devices sit behind the ear. This makes them quite noticeable. Smaller sizes of RITE can become a problem for dexterity speaker that’s inside the ear.

Behind-the-ear (BTE) with earmold

The BTE-style hearing aids with earmolds are suitable for any type of hearing loss. They have a longer shape that follows the contour behind the outer ear. Generally, these devices can have more features, battery power, and controls.

In case of children with hearing impairments, the use of BTE-style hearing aid with earmold is common. This is because reprogramming of the BTEs is possible according to an individual’s needs. Besides, as the child grows up, the parents usually replace the earmold. These devices are less susceptible to damage caused by moisture.

The Different Types and Styles of Hearing Aids

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