Hearing Aid Overview

Today’s hearing aids are much smaller and technologically more sophisticated than they have ever been, and offer advanced solutions to people with hearing loss.

Hearing aids are made up of a microphone, a processing chip and an amplifier. The microphone captures the audio, the chip helps isolate and enhance the sound, and the speaker transmits sound to the ear. Each style of hearing aid includes these elements in some form or another.

There are a wide range of innovations and features available in each type of hearing aid. Generally speaking, the price of hearing aids depends on the features the device has and not specifically on the style chosen.

Things to consider when buying hearing aids:

  • The degree of your hearing loss – Choosing the right hearing aid will depend on your degree of hearing loss.
  • Whether you have dexterity issues – This could prevent you from using certain models comfortably.
  • Cost, aesthetics and design.
  • Whether your skin is sensitive to certain materials.
  • What your lifestyle demands of your hearing aids.

The bulk of hearing aids today are digital hearing aids. An upgrade from the analog hearing devices of the past, digital hearing aids transform sound waves into digital signals and produce accurate sound replication. Digital hearing aids enable for more sophisticated sound processing during the amplification process, helping to improve performance in specific environments. They also have greater flexibility in the design of hearing aids so that the sound produced can be adjusted to the needs of a specific variant of hearing loss.

Styles of Hearing Aids


Behind-The-Ear (BTE)

This is the most common style of hearing aid you will see. When you think about hearing aids, you'll probably think of the BTE style. Usually worn by patients with moderate to severe hearing loss, the technology is installed in the casing of the hearing aids and ensures that they rest comfortably behind the ear. Meanwhile, the clear plastic tube transmits the enhanced sounds into a custom earmold into the ear canal. These are available in many different colors, with buttons that are simple to use. Despite their size, they are also surprisingly discreet.


Receiver-In-Canal (RIC)

Compact, discreet and easily fitted, the RIC style is great for those who are wearing hearing aids for the first time. Very discreet when worn, the RIC type is a device in which the transmitter or speaker is placed into the ear canal. Thin electrical wires are used instead of a plastic tube, which lowers the rate of distortion. RIC hearing aids give a secure, flexible fit and are suitable for those with mild to moderate hearing loss.

In-The-Ear (ITE)

These are custom-fit aids that nestle within the outer part of the ear. Those with moderate to severe hearing loss can benefit from this style. Available in all kinds of colors, they are made to fit your ear bowl, and can even be tailored to your skin tone.


In-The-Canal (ITC)

These are smaller than the ITE style, and offer an extra level of discretion. These are great for those with mild to moderate hearing loss. Easily mistaken as part of your normal ear, these devices are the perfect option for someone who is looking for something small but still relatively easy to handle.

Completely-In-Canal (CIC)

The completely-in-the-canal hearing aids reach further into the ear canal so that they are even less visible than the ITC style. They are great for those who value discretion above all else. The fitting of CIC hearing aids generally involves extra appointments in order to ensure the perfect fit. The battery life for this model is a little short, because the small size of the battery. The size of the aid may also make it difficult to control, particularly for people who have problems with finger and hand dexterity.


Invisible-In-Canal (IIC)

This style is so small, no one will know you’re wearing them! You’ll blend in perfectly with everyone else and your hearing loss won’t need to be the focus of conversation. Ideal for mild to moderate hearing loss, these custom-fitted aids come in a variety of colors and are placed deeper into the ear canal than any other type. Depending on the shape of your ear, they are virtually invisible when worn, which is a big advantage for the style-conscious user.

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