Types and Styles of Hearing Aids
Hearing aids come in a variety of styles and with today’s technology we can fit most types of hearing loss with almost any style of hearing aid. The different styles of hearing aid have different physical and acoustic attributes, so there are significant advantages and disadvantages with each style depending on the hearing loss.
Custom Fitting Hearing Aids
Invisible in The Canal (IIC)
Relatively new on the market is the option of deeper fitting Invisible In the Canal hearing aids. These custom devices have been made possible through advances in digital modelling, laser shell fabrication and modern microchip packaging techniques which enable them to be smaller and more powerful than in the past. The hearing aids can now be built to fit past the second bend in the ear canal which enables the faceplate to be deep in the canal providing the ‘invisible’ option. The performance and cosmetic advantages of this style of hearing aid appeal to a variety of people that may not otherwise consider a visible style.
Completely in the Canal (CIC)
The completely-in-the-canal style hearing aid is very small, with the entire hearing aid fitting in the ear canal. Because of this, there is limited space for the hearing aid components and parts. There is no room for telecoils, directional microphones, or large batteries. This style of hearing aid is sometimes uncomfortable to some users because it often rests deeper inside the ear canal as compared to other styles.
In The Canal (ITC)
The in-the-canal style hearing aid fills up a portion of the ear canal and the lower portion of the bowl of the ear. This style is often a good compromise between the appearance of a CIC and the features of an ITC. It is often large enough to accommodate a directional microphone and larger battery size.
In The Ear (ITE)
The in-the-ear style hearing aid fills most of the bowl of the ear. This style is large enough to accommodate directional microphones, larger amplifiers (for more severe hearing losses), and telecoils. This style is also very easy to insert and remove, this style is frequently chosen if dexterity is a concern.
Behind the Ear Hearing Aids
Mini Behind the Ear (RIC/Mini-BTE/Open-Fit)
The mini behind-the-ear style hearing aid is today’s most popular style. It is available in a variety of forms, but the version that we dispense most often is called a receiver-in-the-canal or RIC style. The microphone, battery, and processor are placed behind the ear and the actual speaker is placed inside the ear, connected to the behind-the-ear portion by a small wire. This style of hearing aid is sometimes referred to as an “open-fit” hearing aid because it allows you canal sound into the ear canal without the need to plug up the ear.
Behind the Ear (BTE)
The behind-the-ear style of hearing aid rests on the top/back of the ear and uses a tube and custom-shaped mould to channel the sound into the ear. This style is very common among people with very severe hearing losses because it can accommodate a very large amplifier and uses a larger sized battery. It is also used with children. As a child’s ear grows, only the mold needs to be replaced, which is considerably less expensive than replacing the entire hearing aid.
Hearing aid styles include behind the ear (BTE), in the ear (ITE), in the canal (ITC) and completely in canal (CIC) and Invisible In the Canal (IIC) The following enumerates the features of each style:
BTE – features a hook on above the outer ear, a small tube directs sound into the ear.
ITE – this is a one-unit hearing aid fitting the ear’s outer opening ear. This is the easiest to operate but usually expensive.
CIC – small hearing aids moulded according to the ear’s framework
IIC – Tiny hearing aids also moulded to the ear canal that sits deeper and closer to the eardrum within the bony portion of the canal.
For more information on options and hearing treatments, contact us today.
Hearing loss presents different problems and difficulties for people. It can affect both professional and personal relationships because of disrupted or insufficient communication. This also inhibits a person’s performance. Personal interaction with people is crucial to everyday life. If you cannot hear other people properly, it is difficult to understand and respond to them. This leads to stress and other health complications.
At Harmony Hearing & Audiology, we provide reliable and effective hearing solutions. Our team is committed to helping people overcome their impairment. Basic treatment for hearing impairment is the use of hearing aids. It is important for patients to understand the benefits and forms of hearing aids to make an informed decision.
Hearing Aid Benefits
Hearing aids give people the chance to return to an active lifestyle. It improves a person’s quality of life by overcoming their impairment. Hearing aids provide functions the ear can no longer fulfil or cannot do effectively. For instance, it directs sound to make it sound louder, clearer, and more direct. Most hearing aids have hearing controls allowing users to adjust settings according to their requirements and preferences.
Modern hearing aids can now reduce background noise for higher sound clarity. They are also available in a range of styles. Some blend well with making them less visible. With improved hearing, people can better communicate boosting their self-esteem and confidence.