What Are The Different Types And Styles Of Hearing Aids?

At Schmidt’s Optical and Hearing™ our Board Certified Licensed Hearing Aid Specialist can recommend one or more types of hearing aids based on factors such as your level of hearing loss, aesthetic preferences, lifestyle needs and budget. Most BTE and RIC styles come in a range of colors and metallic finishes to complement your hair or skin tone. Below are quick descriptions to help you get an idea of some of the models available. For a more in depth look into types of hearing aids and frequently asked question be sure to check out this page from the NIDCD.

Canal hearing aids fit into the ear canal and are available in two styles. Both styles, invisible in-the-canal (IIC) and completely in-the-canal (CIC), are used for mild to moderately severe hearing loss.

Because they are small, canal aids may be difficult for a person to adjust and remove. In addition, canal aids have less space available for batteries and additional devices, such as a telecoil. They usually are not recommended for people with severe to profound hearing loss because their reduced size limits their power and volume.

Invisible in canal hearing aidInvisible In The Canal – This type is a custom made and fitted aid that is inserted further into the ear canal than most styles making it virtually invisible when worn. IIC hearing aids must be removed daily to promote good ear health and are generally used by people with mild to moderate hearing loss.



Completly in canal hearing aidCompletely In Canal – CIC hearing instruments are also custom-made to fit completely in the ear canal. Once inserted only the tip of a small plastic “handle” is visible outside the canal. This handle is used to insert and remove the instrument. For mild to moderate hearing loss.



Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids consist of a plastic case worn behind the ear and connected to a plastic ear-mold that fits inside the outer ear. The electronic parts are housed within this case. Sound travels from the hearing aid through the ear-mold and into the ear. BTE aids are used by people for mild to profound hearing loss.

Behind the ear hearing aidA new kind of BTE aid is called an open-fit hearing aid. Small, open-fit aids fit behind the ear completely, with only a narrow tube inserted into the ear canal, enabling the canal to remain open. For this reason, open-fit hearing aids can be a good choice for people who experience a earwax buildup, since this type of aid is less likely to be damaged by such substances. In addition, some people may prefer the open-fit hearing aid because their perception of their voice does not sound “plugged up.”


There is also the Receiver-in-the-canal(RIC).

receiver in canal hearing aidReceiver in the canal is barely visible when worn, the RIC style is an instrument in which the receiver, or speaker, is inside the ear canal. Thin electrical wires are used instead of a plastic acoustical tube, reducing distortion. RIC hearing aids provide a comfortable, open fit. These are generally good for moderate to severe hearing loss.



Here at Schmidt’s Optical and Hearing™ we have a wide variety of all of these types of hearing aids. Come in today to discuss which ones would be the best fit for you and take advantage of our FREE comprehensive hearing screening!

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