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Hearing Aid Styles

Hearing aids are now available in several styles including custom in the ear products as well as behind the ear styles. Factors that are taken into consideration in determining the appropriate style for you include the following:

  • degree of hearing loss

  • middle ear health (history of drainage or ear infections)

  • dexterity

  • vision

  • anatomy of the ear canal and pinna (outer ear)

  • patient age

  • lifestyle

  • occupation

  • cosmetics


Behind-The-Ear (BTEs)

  • Appropriate for mild to profound hearing losses

  • Features may include directional microphones, multiple listening programs, telecoil, and Bluetooth

  • Allows for open (RITE or slim tube) or closed (custom earmold with reduced venting) fittings

  • May include volume control and push button

  • Newer models have a sleeker design than older standard BTEs



  • Often more comfortable then custom ITEs

  • Smaller than standard BTEs and may be coupled to an external receiver that fits in the ear canal or with a slim tube

  • With an open fit, can keep the ear canal open, reducing occlusion (plugged up / head in barrel), if dome used

  • Depends on degree of hearing loss, size and shape of ear canal, and patient dexterity

  • Advanced features may include Bluetooth and automatic adaptive directionality

  • “Power” fittings available with custom earmolds attached to receivers, allowing for fittings of severe to profound hearing losses


In-The-Ear (ITE)

  • Fills the outer portion of the ear

  • Appropriate for mild to severe hearing losses

  • Features available: directional microphone, multiple listening programs

  • Telecoil and Bluetooth available

In-The-Canal (ITC)

  • Smaller model then the full-shell ITE

  • Appropriate for mild to moderately-severe hearing losses.

  • Features may be limited due to size of ear canal.

  • Good manual dexterity is important for this style.

  • Most can have directional microphones and push button

Completely-In-The-Canal (CIC)

  • Appropriate for patients with a mild to moderate hearing loss.**

  • Depends on the patient’s degree of hearing loss, size and shape of ear canal, and level of manual dexterity.

  • Features and options are limited due to small size (no dual microphone).

  • Push button an option by some manufacturers

  • Creates the largest occlusion effect, although some manufactures are able to create large “open” vent if the ear canal is large enough.

** Some manufacturers offer super power receivers in some of their CIC devices, allowing those with severe to profound hearing losses to remain in a CIC. However, the size of the ear canal must be large enough to accommodate the larger receiver. The patient may experience a vibration sensation with this power receiver and feedback may be more difficult to manage.


Remote Microphone CIC

  • Benefits are reduced wind noise and increased directionality due to the pinna effect

  • Microphone is placed in the upper helix portion of the concha or bowl of the ear

  • Available in custom or non-custom models by ReSound

Manufacturers: Oticon, Phonak, Resound, Widex, Micro Tech, Unitron

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