Hearing Aid Types Explained

If you've been doing some research for you or a loved one and are confused at the many different types of hearing aids, you're not alone. It can be difficult to find accurate information about hearing aid options until you know the terminology and corresponding descriptions. Here you'll get simplified, easy to understand descriptions of the major types of hearing aids available.

CIC or Completely in Canal 

Having gained popularity in the past decade because of advances in technology, CIC hearing aids are a great choice for improving moderate hearing loss. The big advantages of these hearing aids are:

  • They are all but invisible. The unit is tiny and sits deep in the ear canal. 
  • No wind interference. Roll the windows down or jump on that roller coaster. These hearing aids sit deep enough that wind noise won't affect them. 

Beware though, that along with these perks comes a few downsides. They are hard to handle and have tiny batteries that won't last as long as a larger hearing aid. There's no volume control, and earwax can easily clog your ear canal. 

In The Ear (ITE)

In the ear hearing aids fill the inside part of your ear. For severe hearing loss, these hearing aids are a great option. ITE hearing aids include:

  • Volume control
  • Directional microphones
  • Larger batteries, which are easy to adjust and replace

Though more visible than an in the ear hearing aid, these larger models are much easier to operate. 

Behind The Ear (BTE)

Behind the ear hearing aids are the largest models, making them ideal for those who's vision isn't perfect. The unit sits behind the ear with a tube or wire connecting another small module in the ear canal. These units are:

  • Better amplifiers than other types of hearing aids
  • Becoming more streamlined thanks to new nano technology
  • Ideal for anyone with any type of hearing loss because of their adjustable settings

These units also pick up more wind interference than the other types of hearing aids. 

Open Fit 

Open fit hearing aids are now the most popular, and for good reason. There is no unit that enters the ear canal. Instead, a small module sits at the entrance. Certain frequencies are allowed to pass into your ear naturally, while hard to hear frequencies are amplified. These hearing aids:

  • Don't plug the ear canal
  • Are less visible than a behind the ear hearing aid
  • Makes sounds seem more natural

These models are hard to handle and sometimes don't have manual adjustment. 

For more information about hearing aids, contact Waters ENT Sinus & Allergy or a similar organization.