Hearing aids worn in the ear are custom-fit and require an office visit to create an impression of the ear canal. They are available in different skin tones to match your outer ear. They are available in varying sizes; each is listed below, from smallest to largest.
Invisible In-the-Canal (IIC)
This is the smallest custom style instrument and sits near the second bend of the ear canal. They provide a deeper fit into the ear canal than other custom instruments and are specifically designed for mild to moderate hearing losses.
This style fits deeply and entirely within the ear canal. They benefit mild to moderate hearing losses and offer high cosmetic appeal, as they are nearly invisible when worn.
This instrument sets in the lower portion of the outer ear bowl. Because they are slightly larger than CIC models, they have longer battery life and can include additional features such as directional microphones, volume controls, and program controls. They fit mild to moderate hearing losses.
Full Shell or In-The-Ear (ITE)
This style sets flush within the outer bowl of the ear. Their size accommodates the maximum number of additional controls and features that require space on the outer portion of the instrument. They use a larger battery size than the smaller hearing aid styles and can fit a larger receiver with more receiver power for some severe hearing losses. Because of their flexibility, they are widely recommended for mild to severe degree hearing loss.
Hearing aids that set behind or on top of the outer ear, with tubing or wire that routes sounds down into the ear are referred to as Behind-The-Ear (BTE) hearing aids. The tubing connects to an ear tip or custom earmold that secures the hearing aid in the ear canal. They are available in a wide range of colors to blend with hair, skin, or glasses. There are also various sizes that accommodate different features, controls, battery sizes, and degrees of power. The larger the size of the hearing aid the more features and power will be available.
Mini BTE with slim tube
This style is designed to hide behind the ear and has thin tubing to discreetly route sound into the ear canal. The tubing connects to a soft tip that sets in the ear canal but doesn’t occlude it. This allows some sound to enter the ear as it normally would, while amplified sound enters through the tip. This is known as an open fitting and is recommended for mild to moderate high frequency losses.
BTE with earmold
This style will fit mild through profound degree hearing losses. The tubing is thicker than the tubing used with slim tube hearing aid styles and connects to a custom made ear mold that can be made out of hard or soft materials. The Custom fitted earmold requires an office visit to create an impression of the ear canal.
This style uses a wire (instead of tubing) to route sound into the ear. It can be fit with a soft open tip or a custom ear mold. The differentiating feature of this style has to do with the location of the receiver portion of the hearing aid. For other BTE styles, the receiver is located behind the ear, but for this style, the receiver is located in the ear canal. This style fits mild to severe hearing losses.