When someone comes in to see us for hearing treatment for the first time, a very common question is: “What different hearing aid styles are available?” Followed by, “Which one is right for me?”
If you want to know more details about one particular style let me know and I’d be more than happy to create a video or article on that.
And of course, we can always talk about it 1:1 during an appointment!
Below I’ve created a summary of all the different hearing aids styles, from largest to smallest:
- BTE – Stands for “behind-the-ear” style. For those with more profound losses that require a lot of gain (i.e. power/amplification) this is an ideal option.
- RIE – Stands for “receiver-in-the-ear” (can also be known as RIC – receiver-in-the-canal) – This is probably the most popular style today. And for good reason: it’s light and discreet and fits a wide range of hearing losses. For some hearing losses, “open-fit” makes the most sense, while others will benefit from a custom mold attached to the RIE aids. Both BTEs and RIEs have directional microphones, which are important for helping to improve hearing when in noisy environments.
- Full Shell/ITE – Stands for “in-the-ear.” This is the largest of the “custom” aids (Essentially, custom means that an impression was made to create the exact shape of your ear). This along with the BTE are the two easiest devices to handle because of their larger size.
- Half Shell/ITC/Canal – Stand for “in-the-canal.” Like the name implies, is half the size of the full shell. Both the full shell and half shell are large enough to also house directional microphones, which help you hear better in noisy environments.
- CIC – Stands for “completely-in-the canal.” One of the smallest of all the styles. Is very discreet. Because of its small size, battery life is not as long and there isn’t room for directional microphones (can you tell I really like directional microphones?).
- IIC – Stands for invisible-in-the-canal. The smallest, tiniest of all the aids listed above. Very discreet, practically invisible. Same pros/cons as CIC.
- Invisible Extended-Wear – Lyric is the only hearing aid of this type. It fits deep in the ear canal and is worn 24/7, for months at a time. Completely invisible. Sound quality is very good because when fit properly sits very close to the eardrum. Not everyone is a candidate: for example, if your ear canals are too narrow, Lyric may not fit properly.
Dr. Sheryl Figliano, A.u.D.