Different Styles of Hearing Aids

Receiver in the canal hearing device style

Receiver in the Canal (RIC) Hearing Aids

The ergonomically shaped receiver places the speaker for optimum performance in the ear canal. Wearer-centered engineering ensures easy replacement and maintenance of the receiver unit.
Behind the Ear style

Behind-the-Ear (BTE) Hearing Aids

Behind-the-Ear (BTE) hearing devices are the best choice for addressing more types of hearing loss than any other style of hearing aid. Although we think of this style as the most clunky and most visible, technology has improved its looks and function to the point that almost half of the hearing aid wearers choose a BTE device. This hearing aid is housed in a hard plastic case that holds the electronic parts and is worn behind the ear that is connected to a plastic ear mold that fits inside the outer ear. Sound is transferred from the BTE device through the ear mold to the ear.

In addition to its capability of being the best choice for handling more types of hearing loss, the BTE device is now smaller in design and also comes in a variety of colors that blend better with hair and skin tones to make it less visible. A BTE device also works best for people with severe hearing losses.

ITE style

In-the-Ear (ITE) Hearing Aids

In-the-Ear (ITE) hearing devices fit completely inside the outer ear which makes it less visible than the Behind-the-Ear device style. Used for mild to severe hearing loss, the larger size of the ITE device means it takes a larger battery which translates to a longer battery life. Its larger size also makes it easier for patients to handle while inserting into the ear or replacing a battery.

The ITE device’s larger size also allows for more features to be included such as directional microphones, memory programs and telecoil. A telecoil is an added feature that makes it easier to hear telephone conversations.


Completely-in-the-Canal (CIC) Hearing Aids

Completely-in-the-Canal (CIC) hearing aids fit completely in the ear canal and is the most hidden of all the hearing aids. But the size and shape of the wearer’s ear canal may determine whether this device is the best choice. Plus this style requires the most patience with getting the perfect fit that may require frequent follow-up visits. Its advantages include better sounds over the telephone, less wind noise when outdoors and better sound localization.