Types of Hearing Aids
Hearing loss is not created equally. In fact, there three types of hearing loss (sensorineural, conductive and mixed) and many ways hearing loss can develop. As such, treatment options for hearing loss vary from person to person, dependant upon the type and degree of hearing loss an individual is diagnosed with.
Most hearing loss diagnoses are treated with hearing aids. Within the realm of hearing aids, there are many types an individual can choose to wear. The type of hearing aid someone chooses is largely determined by an individual’s age and lifestyle. Types of hearing aids include:
- Invisible-in-canal (IIC) devices: IIC hearing aids are custom-fit. They are inserted farther into the ear than other styles, making them more “invisible” when worn, depending on the shape and size of an ear canal. IIC aids are good for patients with mild-to-moderate hearing loss.
- Completely-in-canal (CIC) hearing aids: CIC aids are also custom-made devices. Except for a small, plastic grip or handle that enables the wearer to insert and remove the hearing aid, CIC devices fit completely in the canal. These aids are also suitable for patients with mild-to-moderate hearing loss.
- In-the-canal (ITC) aids: ITC hearing aids fit inside the ear canal. A small portion of these custom-made devices will show in the outer ear. They are suitable for individuals with mild-to-moderately severe hearing loss.
- In-the-ear (ITE) devices: ITE aids fit within the outer portion of the ear. These custom made hearing aids are suitable for individuals with mild-to-severe hearing loss.
- Receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing aids: RIC aids are also near invisible when worn. With these aids, the receiver, or speaker, sits inside the ear canal for a comfortable open fit. RIC aids are suitable for individuals with mild-to-moderate hearing loss.
- Behind-the-ear (BTE) aids: One of the more common types of hearing aids, BTE devices are custom-made and inserted into the ear canal. From the earbud or earmold, a clear, plastic tube comes out and wraps around and behind the ears. These hearing aids can be fit for mild-to-severe hearing loss.
Which hearing aid is right for me?
To know which hearing aid is best for you, it’s important to have a conversation with your hearing healthcare professional. They will help you determine what you will best benefit from, given your age, lifestyle and type and degree of hearing loss.