Hearing Aid Styles
Hearing aids are available in a variety of styles. Within each of these styles there are a range of different technologies.
In-The-Ear Aids (ITE)
devices are a custom-made product that fills the bowl of the ear and some portion of the ear canal. A broad range of circuit or chip designs are available that allow these devices to be used in individuals with a mild to severe hearing loss. These devices are easy to manipulate for those with poor vision or manual dexterity problems.
In-The-Canal Aids (ITC)
These devices are smaller than ITEs but fit in the outer portion of the ear canal only. ITCs are suitable for patients with an adequate sized ear canal, mild to moderate hearing loss, and without humidity or skin problems of the ear.
Completely In-The-Canal Aids (CIC)
This is the smallest device available and is cosmetically desirable because it fits deep in the canal and takes advantage of the ear's natural resonance and shape. Most patients are able to use these hearing aids with the telephone without experiencing “whistle” or feedback. CICs require good manual dexterity, a normal outer ear canal and no medical conditions that would prevent their use. CICs require a precise fit as they are seated deeply within the ear canal.
The Behind-the-Ear (BTE)
device consists of an instrument that rests behind the ear attached to a custom-made ear mould. This style may be used for all types and degrees of hearing loss. These devices can be packaged in a mini case depending on the type and level of hearing loss. A BTE device may be required where extra power is needed or where medical conditions such as humidity of the external ear canal prohibit the use of other devices. BTEs are available in several colours for hair and skin tone matching.
Receiver-in-The-Canal Aids (RIC)
are miniature Behind-The-Ear Aids that have the speaker or receiver of the hearing aid incorporated in the main body of the hearing aid. The hearing aid is therefore smaller and very discreet. This style can be used for all types and degrees of hearing loss
On-The-Ear Aids (OTE)
This is a discreet, small and lightweight instrument. The ultra-thin transparent soft tubing and small silicone dome snap into the BTE housing as a single unit. An open system ensures that the ear is well ventilated and that you experience a more natural sound, including the sound of your own voice. These are extremely comfortable hearing aids to wear. They are particularly suited to mild to moderate high frequency hearing losses.