In behind-the ear hearing aids, the receiver, microphone and amplifier are housed in a shell that fits behind the ear. A clear plastic tube connects the hearing aid to a custom earmold worn in the ear. Because of their large shell size, BTEs can hold more circuitry than other styles. BTEs can be fitted for people with a wide range of hearing losses.
Completely-in-the-canal custom-fit devices fit all the way in the ear canal. They are barely visible and cosmetically appealing. Some hearing aid wearers with narrow ear canals may not be candidates for CICs. These tiny hearing instruments are most suitable for mild to moderate losses.
Ultra-tiny, completely invisible hearing devices are the latest advancement in hearing technology. These hearing aids are similar to traditional CICs, but they are smaller in size and fit deep into the ear canal, making them impossible to see when worn.
In-the-canal custom-fit hearing aids are smaller than ITEs and are partially visible in the outer ear. In-the-canal devices are best for mild to moderate losses, but can be used by some patients with moderately severe losses.
In-the-ear hearing aids have the circuitry built into a custom earmold that fills most of the visible portion of the ear, often referred to as a full-shell instrument. ITEs are best suited for mild to moderately severe hearing losses. ITEs are ideal for those with limited dexterity because of their sizeand easy-to-use controls.
Open Fit and RIC hearing aids are similar to traditional behind-the-ear hearing aids in that the shell fits behind the ear, but these are smaller and less noticeable than traditional BTEs. These Open Fit and RIC aids typically have a thin acoustic tube or transmission wire (in receiver-in-canal-instruments) that connects the shell to an open-fit ear bud or a custom earmold.