The different hearing aid types: Considering your options

Considering your hearing aid options? There’s a large range of manufacturers and models offering varied hearing aids, packed with different performance levels, features and styles. It means there’s something different for everyone, no matter their preferences.

Receiver in the canal

A RIC hearing aid feels like a cross between a BTE (behind the ear) and CIC (completely in the canal) hearing aid. The main body of the hearing aid, on which you’ll find the controls to adjust your sound experience, rests behind the ear. However, it is attached via a tube that travels over the ear to a receiver, which sits inside the canal, unable to be seen by other people.

Hearing aid with glasses

It has similar benefits to an invisible hearing aid in terms of discretion, but a much better sound performance thanks to how it’s worn. An invisible hearing aid, or completely in the canal hearing aid is fitted to the exact circumference of the ear canal – this means it blocks any natural sound, giving the user only the ‘artificial’ amplified sound.

A receiver in the canal hearing aid is affixed to the outer ear, with the key component (the receiver) being much smaller and resting loosely in the canal. This means the user will still hear natural sound that is complimented by the amplified results, providing a better end result.

Signia Xperience Styletto Hearing Aids

The Signia Xperience Styletto X is a great example of a RIC hearing aid, with wireless rechargeable technology and a comfortable fit. Similarly, the Bernafon Viron offers a range of RIC hearing aids, with various features to suit different users.

Pros & Cons of RIC hearing aids

  • A small, discreet design.
  • Lightweight and comfortable.
  • Avoids blocking the ear, providing a more natural sound.
  • The receiver being in the canal stops any interference or feedback.

Completely in the canal & Invisible in the canal

One of the more discreet options, a CIC/IIC hearing aid is designed to sit fully in the ear canal, with no part of the instrument placed externally. CIC hearing aids can still be partially visible to other people, while still being a more discreet option – however, as the name suggests, invisible in the canal hearing aids can’t be seen by others when being worn.

Both types of hearing aid are some of the most comfortable hearing aid choices, with each instrument custom made based on a mould of your ear canal, ensuring a perfect fit. This design does mean that the hearing aid completely blocks the ear canal though, stopping any natural sound from coming through – instead, the user will hear only the amplified sound.

In-ear Hearing Aid

Pros & Cons of CIC/IIC hearing aids

  • Discreet style – often completely invisible to other people.
  • Custom fit to a mould of your ear canal.
  • Reduced interference from wind.
  • No controls on the device – instead you must use an external remote control.
  • Blocks/occludes the ear canal – no natural sounds.
  • Less powerful technology – the smaller battery size doesn’t allow for the most powerful technology. 

In the ear

ITE hearing aids are sometimes known as “full shell” hearing aids, and while they don’t go into your ear canal, they’re made to fit the space in your outer ear. Because every ear is different, it means they must be custom made to fit a mould of your ear – this ensures a secure, comfortable fit.

These hearing aids are ideal for those with more severe levels of hearing loss, as their larger sizes allow for more powerful amplification technology.

Pros & Cons of ITE hearing aids

  • Easy to wear, control and maintain.
  • Made from a custom mould of your ear for increased comfort.
  • Less discreet – can often be quite bulky.
  • Blocks ears from natural sounds – the user will only hear through the hearing aid.
  • Can be affected by interference – the wearing position allows for wind disruption and feedback. 

Behind the ear

BTE hearing aids are seen as the more traditional option, and remain one of the most popular choices. The main body of the hearing aid rests behind your ear, with a tube travelling over the top and into a small ear mould that sits within.

Behind the ear hearing aid

These are one of the most simple hearing aid options, and while they may not seem like the most technologically advanced in comparison to others, they’re keeping up with the times, with many models including modern features such as Bluetooth. 

Pros & Cons of BTE hearing aids

  • Easy to wear, clean, and adjust.
  • Long battery life.
  • Can be susceptible to wind interference.
  • Can get in the way when making phone calls.
  • Large, non-discreet design.

Concerned about your hearing or considering purchasing hearing aids? Contact us now to book a consultation with our audiology team.