Hearing Aid Styles & Options
What style is right for you?
Many styles of hearing aids, along with numerous design and color options, are available for your consideration. Each hearing aid is designed and fitted to your specific hearing needs.
Hearing aids are made to be worn in the ear or behind the ear, and are commonly referred to by abbreviations:
- RIC: receiver-in-canal
- BTE: behind-the-ear
- ITE: in-the-ear
ITEs are also called custom hearing aids because they are custom-made to fit each individual ear. Subcategories of ITEs include:
- CIC: complete-in-canal
- IIC: invisible-in-canal
The following is an overview of all hearing aid options currently available.
Receiver-In-Canal (RIC) hearing aids.
RIC open fittings look similar to others. But with a RIC, the receiver is placed within your ear canal and connected to a unit worn behind the ear via a thin tube. Since the receiver is no longer contained inside it, the BTE unit is very small, light, and inconspicuous.
Behind-The-Ear (BTE) hearing aids.
BTEs are used for all types of hearing loss from mild to profound. They come in a variety of styles and sizes. Many offer multiple directional microphone systems for improved understanding of speech in noisy situations. Behind-the-ear hearing aids can be open-fit or closed-fit.
Behind-the-ear (BTE) with a closed fitting.
In a closed fitting the earmold attached to the hearing aid almost completely fills your outer ear and ear canal. Closed-fit is versatile and suitable for a variety of hearing losses. These BTEs offer more power and easier handling because they are larger.
The earmold connects a BTE hearing aid to the ear and is individually shaped for each wearer. It fulfills multiple functions for acoustics and better hearing, one of the most important of which is to conduct amplified sound to your eardrum. It improves the positioning and hold of the hearing aid behind the ear. The earmold also seals the auditory canal, which acts as a block to prevent acoustic feedback — that annoying, high-pitched whistling often associated with hearing aids.
Behind-The-Ear (BTE) with an open fitting.
Open fittings use a thin tube in place of an earmold to connect the BTE hearing aid to your ear. Open fittings are more comfortable and avoid moisture collecting in your ear. While they are only suitable for certain types of hearing losses, their advantages include a balance of sound quality and comfort.
In-The-Ear hearing aids.
Custom (ITE) hearing aids are used for mild to severe hearing loss. They sit entirely within the ear and are fitted individually based on an impression of your ear. The range of ITE hearing aid styles includes the IIC, which fits deeply within your ear canal and cannot be seen, the CIC, which fits completely in the ear canal, and the full-shell, which completely fills the bowl of your ear.