A variety of hearing aid types have been developed to suit individual needs and preferences. While all hearing aids use the same essential components—a microphone, amplifier, receiver and battery chamber—they vary in size and effectiveness. The four types of hearing aids are in the canal (ITC), completely in the canal (CIC), behind the ear (BTE) and in the ear (ITE) instruments. Understanding how each type functions will help you work with hearing and audiology specialists to select and fit the type that will give you the best results.
ITC: In the canal
This is the smallest type of hearing aid. Custom made to fit your ear canal, ITC models are unobtrusive and are suitable for users with mild to moderate hearing loss. However, these hearing aids are so small that it can be tricky to adjust the volume and change batteries.
CIC: Completely in the canal
Another unobtrusive style is the custom-molded CIC hearing aid. Suited to individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss, this design fits within the ear canal. To remove the hearing aid, the user grasps a small wire and pulls the device from the ear canal. Again, the small size makes adjustments more difficult. Because the battery is smaller, it needs to be replaced more frequently.
BTE: Behind the ear
Behind-the-ear hearing aids are suitable for users will all levels of hearing loss. The hearing instrument—which is available in a variety of colors—sits behind the ear in a casing. A clear tube extends from the casing to the front of the ear. This powerful type of hearing aid is also suitable for children because the custom earmold can be replaced as they grow.
ITE: In the ear
The most visible but most powerful type of hearing aid, ITE instruments are larger and have the longest battery life. ITE models can accommodate the widest range of features.
Prescribing hearing aids is an individualized process that includes testing to find the hearing instrument that will work best for you or your loved one. In addition to hearing loss levels, considerations include lifestyle, appearance and budget.
For a customized hearing solution, come to Jefferson Surgical Clinic for audiogram hearing evaluations, diagnostic testing, treatment of hearing disorders and selection of the best hearing aid and listening devices.
Contact our Roanoke, Virginia office for comprehensive audiology services. Call (540) 283-6000 to make an appointment.