What type of hearing aid is best?

Print Friendly

There are many types of hearing aids available and choosing the right one can be a difficult decision. Here are some options to consider when making the choice to help you find the best device for your situation.

A hearing aid can vary in price, size, features, and how they are placed in the ear. Common hearing aid styles begin with the smallest, least visible in the ear. The designers of hearing aids continue making smaller models to meet the demand for a device that is barely noticeable. Here is our guide to everything you need to know about hearing aids.

Completely in the canal (CIC) or mini CIC

Completely-in-the-canal hearing aids are molded to fit inside your ear canal. It improves mild to moderate hearing loss experienced by adults.

  • The smallest and least visible type
  • Less likely to pick up wind noise
  • Uses very small batteries, which have a shorter life
  • No extra features, such as volume control or a directional microphone
  • Susceptible to earwax clogging the speaker

In the canal

An in-the-canal (ITC) hearing aid is custom molded and partly fits in the ear canal. This style can improve mild to moderate hearing loss experienced by adults.

  • Less visible in the ear than larger styles
  • Includes features that won’t fit on CIC aids, difficult to adjust due to its small size
  • Susceptible to earwax clogging the speaker

In the ear

An in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aid is custom made in two different styles — one that fills most of the bowl-shaped area of your outer ear and one that fills only the lower part. Both are helpful for people with mild to severe hearing loss.

  • Includes features that don’t fit on smaller style hearing aids, such as a volume control
  • Easier to handle
  • Uses a larger battery for longer life
  • Susceptible to earwax clogging the speaker
  • May pick up more wind noise than smaller devices
  • More visible in the ear than smaller devices

Behind the ear

A behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid hooks over the top of the ear and rests behind it. A tube connects the hearing aid to a custom earpiece (earmold) that fits in your ear canal. This type is appropriate for people of all ages and those with almost any type of loss in hearing.

  • Traditionally has been the largest type of hearing aid, though some newer miniature designs are streamlined and barely visible
  • Capable of more amplification than are other styles
  • May pick up more wind noise than other styles
  • Receiver in canal or receiver in the ear option

Receiver in canal or receiver in the ear

The receiver-in-canal (RIC) and receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) styles are similar to behind-the-ear hearing aids with the speaker or receiver in the canal or in the ear. A tiny wire, rather than tubing, connects the pieces together.

  • Has a less visible behind-the-ear section
  • Susceptible to earwax clogging the speaker

Open fit

An open-fit hearing aid is a variation of the behind-the-ear hearing aid with a thin tube. This style keeps the ear canal very open, allowing low-frequency sounds to enter the ear naturally while high-frequency sounds are amplified through the hearing aid. This makes the style a good choice for those with mild to moderate hearing loss.

  • Less visible
  • Doesn’t plug the ear like the small in-the-canal hearing aids do
  • Can be more difficult to handle and adjust due to small parts

If you are still having trouble deciding which model is best for you, schedule an appointment with one of our hearing healthcare professionals here. They can guarantee that you make the right choice for your lifestyle and budget.