Hearing Aid Styles
Behind-The-Ear (BTE) Styles
Micro/Mini Behind-the-Ear: This style of BTE is more commonly known as an “open fit” hearing instrument. The miniature body of the hearing instrument sits behind the ear and is connected to a small thin tube that transmits sound to the ear. A small plastic tip or dome is attached to the tube and sits in the ear canal. This style is called an “open fit” because the dome sits comfortably in the ear but does not occlude or block the ear canal. This style of BTE is recommended for patients with a mild to moderately-severe hearing loss.
Receiver-In-The-Ear (RITE): Receiver-in-the-Ear or RITE hearing instruments are similar to the open fit hearing aids except the speaker unit of the instrument actually sits in the ear itself instead of the main body of the hearing instrument. The RITE style of hearing instrument can cater to a more severe degree of hearing loss (mild to severe) while still maintaining the open fit feel.
Behind The Ear (BTE): BTE devices hook over the top of your ear and include a plastic case worn behind the ear. Sound is transmitted through a clear tube to a tiny mold in the ear canal. This style is large and easily visible but is also simple to use and a great choice for children. This style is appropriate for all types of hearing loss.
BTE with Custom Earmold: This BTE style is slightly longer in shape compared to the open fit or RITE styles; however, it is capable of fitting the widest range of hearing loss (mild to profound) and is very easy to handle, making it popular for children and seniors with limited manual dexterity. The BTE body is connected to the earmold via plastic tubing that sits snugly against the ear.
In-The-Ear (ITE) Styles
Invisible-In-the-Canal (IIC): The IIC is the smallest in-the-ear hearing aid available. These devices are worn deep within the ear canal, ensuring that only you know you’re wearing them. The close placement to your eardrum ensures immediate sound travel and less ambient noise in loud environments. IICs are designed for daily removal, meaning wearers need to be comfortable inserting and removing the tiny device deep into their ear canal.
Completely-In-the-Canal (CIC): The CIC hearing aid fits inside your ear canal, making it mostly invisible to the outside observer. The CIC allows you to choose between automatic or push button settings, which are programmed directly into the hearing instrument. CIC devices’ placement in the ear cuts down on background noise caused by wind and other uncontrollable sounds.
In-The-Canal (ITC): This style sits in the lower portion of the outer ear’s bowl and is slightly larger than a CIC hearing instrument. ITC hearing aids allow for more options and longer battery life due to the larger size.
In-The-Ear (ITE): The ITE is the largest custom-made hearing aid. ITE devices fit into the bowl-shaped area of your outer ear instead of inside the ear canal. Their larger size allows for easy insertion and removal as well as easy access to the battery compartment and volume control.