Since their invention, hearing aids have given countless people a renewed quality of life. As technology has evolved, the available hearing aid styles have expanded. This can make choosing one a confusing process.
In-the-ear hearing aids are those that sit within the ear canal. Pretty easy, right! There are five different styles of ITE hearing aids. The most significant difference, as you’ll see, is in size. This guide will review each style to help you better understand the differences.
Invisible-in-the-canal hearing aids are the most miniature, discreet style available. They’re so small that they fit deep inside the ear canal. People concerned with others seeing their hearing aids often opt for an IIC.
The downside of a small hearing aid is you don’t have enough space for specific hardware. That means no rechargeability, connectivity, or buttons for volume control and program changes. You won’t find directional microphones either. Finally, they can only fit a size 10 hearing aid battery, the smallest one available.
This style of hearing aid may not be suitable for all people. For example, if your ear canal narrows significantly, this hearing aid could be painful for you to wear. In addition, people with dexterity issues or arthritis may have difficulty handling a small hearing aid.
It also means that it can’t accommodate all types of hearing loss. The more severe the hearing loss, the more powerful the hearing aid needs to be. The more powerful the hearing aid is, the larger it must be. So IICs are really only suitable for mild to moderate hearing loss.
The next step up in size is the Completely-In-The-Canal hearing aid. CICs are larger than IIC hearing aids, but they’re still discreet. They sit at the beginning of the ear canal, so it can be a better choice for someone with narrow ear canals. However, this makes it easier to see by the naked eye.
Despite being larger than an IIC, they still suffer from some of the same size restrictions that IICs do.
An In-The-Canal hearing aid is a next step up in size from a CIC. These are larger than CICs and sit in the lower part of the concha bowl. They’re large enough to accommodate the features that smaller hearing aids couldn’t and are easier to handle. The downside is they’re likely to be seen.
Half shell hearing aids fit in the lower half of your concha bowl. They’re larger than an ITC but less prominent than a full shell hearing aid. As with the full shell type, this style is easy to hold and handle, unlike an IIC or CIC.
These hearing aids can easily fit extra hardware for directional microphones, Bluetooth, rechargeability, and buttons for volume control and program changes. In addition, if you prefer traditional battery power, HSs can hold a larger 312 battery for longer battery life.
Full shell hearing aids are the largest type of hearing aid. They fill the entire concha bowl and are easily visible to others. These are the easiest to use, as the user controls are large and easy to see and reach. In addition, they have plenty of room for directional microphones, buttons, Bluetooth, and rechargeability.
Invisible-In-The-Canal Hearing Aids to Full Shell Hearing Aids Explained
Hopefully, this guide helped you understand the range of ITE hearing aid options available and the factors to consider when selecting one. So whether you’re looking for a discreet in-the-ear hearing aid or a convenient shell style, you can make an informed choice on how to choose a hearing aid based on what you’ve learned here.
Choosing the right hearing aid for you can be a challenge. The good news is our audiologist can help you make the right choice. Schedule an appointment today.