Which Hearing Aid Style is the Best for Me?
There are a variety of different hearing aid styles available for someone with hearing loss. The different styles can be broken down into two categories, “outside of the ear” or “in the ear”. Within these two categories are additional styles. Your audiologist will help you select the best one for you by discussing what style is best for your hearing loss, which style is easiest to put on, what style has controls on the hearing aid, and what style is least visible on your ear.
Outside the Ear Hearing Aid
There are two hearing aid models that sit outside the ear:
- receiver-in-the-ear (RIE)
- behind-the-ear (BTE)
The main difference between these two styles is that the BTE is generally larger than the RIE because the receiver has been moved out of the hearing aid body on an RIE aid. Instead the receiver is placed directly inside the person’s ear canal to bring the sound closer to the person’s eardrum. Receiver-in-the-ear hearing aids are popular because they are comfortable, less visible, and have excellent sound quality.
Behind-the-ear hearing aids are usually larger than RIE hearing aids and sound is delivered to the eardrum using a custom fit ear mold. The advantage of BTE hearing aids is that they are comfortable behind the ear, have excellent sound quality, and fit a wide range of hearing losses.
Inside the Ear Hearing Aid
Compared to aids that are outside of the ear, inside the ear hearing aids are custom made for each person. There are many different sizes of custom hearing aids that can go inside the ear. The styles are, from smallest to biggest:
- Invisible-in-canal (IIC)
- Completely-in-canal (CIC)
- In-the-canal (ITC)
- In-the-ear (ITE)
Custom hearing aids like IICs and CICs are great because they sit inside the ear canal and are discreet. These aids work best for people with mild-to-moderate hearing losses.
The most popular custom model is the ITC since it helps people with a wide variety of hearing losses but has more features and functions compared to the smaller custom models. The ITE hearing aids are the biggest custom hearing aids available and are best for people with severe hearing losses.
Another style of custom hearing aids is the mic-in-helix (MIH), which is made by only one hearing aid manufacturer. As the name implies, the microphone of the hearing aid is moved to the helix of the ear, which means it is a smaller custom hearing aid with excellent sound quality. This style of hearing aid is great for people who are outside in the wind because the microphone is protected by the ear.
Since hearing aids come in a variety of shapes, colours, and sizes, our audiologist will do a hearing test to see which hearing aid style would be the best for your hearing loss. Our audiologist will help you decide what hearing aid colour best matches your skin tone or hair, and even your personality! Book your appointment now to talk about your options.