What Hearing Aid Styles Are Right for Me?
Unless you’ve done your research already, you may not know that the hearing aids of today come in many different styles and types. Gone are the days of the large and conspicuous brown banana-shaped hearing aid. In fact, all modern hearing aid styles have one thing in common – they’re discreet!
The perfect match for you will depend on a few different factors. Your audiologist will work with you to determine your specific hearing loss needs through a hearing diagnostic assessment. He or she will then advise on which devices are suitable. Then, it’ll come down to your lifestyle, budget and of course, style preferences. Nearly all the devices are available in a range of colours and finishes to match back to your hair colour, skin tone – or even fashion preferences!
The Many Different Hearing Aid Styles
Hearing aids are grouped under two main categories: Custom and Behind-the-Ear. Custom hearing aids are, as the name suggests, custom-molded to your own ear anatomy, whereas Behind-the-Ear have the main workings tucked behind your ear, with just a small wire linking to the ear canal. Let’s take a look at the six main device types within these two groups.
Invisible hearing aids
These are also known as Invisible-In-the-Canal or IIC. These marvels of technology are inserted right into the ear canal, becoming completely invisible from the outside in most people. They’re suitable for mild to moderate hearing loss. IIC hearing aids are the smallest on the market. We recommend these to people who are looking for the ultimate in discretion, or don’t want hearing aids interfering with sport or other activities. There are some limitations to the invisible in that they can be tricky for those with poor eyesight or hand dexterity.
Learn more about invisible hearing aids.
Completely-In-Canal hearing aids
The big brother/sister to the invisible hearing aids, Completely-In-Canal or CIC hearing aids are also a very discreet option. Most people can wear these undetected, with only a small clear plastic handle visible for ease of removal and insertion. CIC hearing aids are recommended for mild-to-moderately severe hearing loss.
Learn more about Completely-In-Canal hearing aids.
In-The-Canal hearing aids
Sizing up from the CIC would be the In-The-Canal or ITC models. These house a larger-sized battery than the smaller options, meaning they’re powered up for longer. A small portion of ITC models shows within the ‘shell’ of your ear. The slightly larger design also allows for some functionality to be housed on the faceplate of the hearing aid, for easy access. These are suitable for even severe hearing loss.
Learn more about In-The-Canal hearing aids.
In-The-Ear hearing aids
The largest of the custom models, In-The-Ear or ITE sit snugly within the outer ear. More controls can fit onto the hearing aid itself, so they’re seen as quite easy to adjust even for those with eyesight or dexterity limitations. ITE models are very powerful and can even cater to those with profound hearing loss due to their dual microphone.
Learn more about In-The-Ear hearing aids.
Behind-The-Ear models are the most popular design around the world. They’re available in mini, standard and power options, meaning they’re suitable for almost any level of hearing loss. All the technology in this powerful model sits discreetly behind your ear, with a clear sound tube carrying sound into the ear canal.
Learn more about Behind-The-Ear hearing aids.
Receiver-In-Canal (RIC) also sit under the umbrella of Behind-The-Ear hearing aids. Professionals recommend RIC hearing aids as a great first-time hearing aid. This is because of the discreet design and ease of use – no fiddly buttons or dials. RIC models also allow the most natural air flow into the canal of any of the models, allowing for the most natural sound quality. Like, all BTE models, RIC hearing aids are quick to fit as they don’t require any custom molding.
Learn more about Receiver-In-Canal hearing aids.
Your hearing is important! While it’s great to do your own research, only a qualified audiologist can advise you on the best hearing aid styles for your needs. To learn more about what technology is right for you, visit your local ihear clinic.