What are the different types of hearing aids?
There are many styles of hearing aids. The degree of the hearing loss, power and options requirements, manual dexterity abilities, cost factors, and cosmetic concerns are some of the factors that will determine the style the patient will use.
RIC: Receiver in the Canal (RIC) hearing aids are similar to standard behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids. The casing is noticeably smaller and the tubing is much thinner. A small tip or dome at the end of the tube is used instead of a traditional earmold. This leaves the ear “open” and reduces problems with occlusion (stuffy or barrel feeling) leading to more natural sounding amplification.
ITE: In-The-Ear units are probably the most comfortable, the least expensive and the easiest to operate. They are also the largest of the custom made styles. This sytle of hearing aid is available in both a full shell and a half shell model.
ITC: In-The-Canal units are a little more expensive than ITEs. They require good dexterity to control the buttons on the faceplate, and they are smaller than ITEs.
CIC: Completely-In-the-Canal units are the tiniest hearing aids made. They usually require a “removal string” due to their small size and the fact that they fit so deeply into the canal. CICs can be difficult to remove without the pull string. CICs do not usually have manual controls attached to them because they are too small.
BTEs: Behind-The-Ear hearing aids are the largest hearing aids and they are very reliable. BTEs have the most circuit options and they can typically have much more power than any of the custom made in the ear units. BTEs are the units that “sit” on the back of your ear. They are connected to the ear canal via custom-made plastic tubing. The tubing is part of the earmold. The earmold is custom made from an ear impression to perfectly replicate the size and shape of your ear.