Hearing Device Styles to Fit Your Needs
Many of today’s hearing devices are much smaller than they used to be. Even the more powerful hearing devices that traditionally sit behind one’s ear are available in “miniature” styles. Unless noted, directional microphones are standard in these devices. Your hearing professional will help you choose the size that is correct for you based on your level of hearing loss, your lifestyle and your manual dexterity.
RECEIVER-IN-THE-EAR (RITE) RECEIVER-IN-CANAL (RIC)
- This style of hearing device is the most popular today due to its inconspicuous nature, comfort and excellent sound quality. For the RITE/RIC device, the receiver (loud speaker) is coupled to a soft open dome or a custom earmold and placed inside the ear canal with thin electrical wires replacing the acoustic tube.
BEHIND-THE-EAR DEVICES (BTE)
- In general, BTEs are more powerful than smaller hearing devices due to the stronger amplifier and larger battery. In BTE devices the electronics sit behind the ear and the sound is directed through a tube into the ear canal. BTEs are also offered in a miniature size. Most of these have directional microphones.
IN-THE-EAR DEVICES (ITE)
- ITE are custom-fit for the individual and sit in the bowl of the outer ear (concha). Usually visible when facing another person, ITEs can accommodate larger sound amplifiers, and offer more features. Their size makes them easier to handle and allows the use of a longer lasting battery than in the smaller devices.
IN-THE-CANAL DEVICES (ITC)
- Slightly larger than the CIC, ITC devices are also custom-made and fill the bottom half of the external ear. Only barely noticeable to those in face-to-face conversation, the ITC uses a slightly larger battery than the CIC style. Directional microphones may not be available in this style.
COMPLETELY-IN-THE-CANAL DEVICES (CIC)
- CIC hearing devices are custom-made to fit deep within the ear canal and are nearly invisible. Directional microphones are not available in this style.
INVISIBLE-IN-THE-CANAL DEVICES (IIC)
- IIC hearing devices are wireless, custom-fit and inserted further into the ear canal so they become completely invisible when worn. The devices can be removed and reinserted daily by the user. Users of these devices must be comfortable with objects deep in the canal. Directional microphones are not available in this style.
- Streamers are devices that allow connection with Bluetooth technology to improve cellphone and audio connectivity. Remote microphones are also available to enhance speech understanding in noise and reduce impacts of distance.