Thanks to modern technology, hearing aids are rapidly becoming mainstream devices. They come equipped with amazing features like Bluetooth compatibility, and they can even be personalized with stylish designs or your favorite color.

That’s a world’s difference from the bulky, clunky devices you may associate with older generations. Nevertheless, hearing aids come in different styles, and some have more features than others.

Your audiologist will work with you to determine which hearing aids will help you the most. What’s best for you will be determined by your level of hearing loss, your style preferences, your lifestyle, and your budget.

Below is a description of the different types of hearing aids that are available. We hope this will prepare you for your upcoming decision and that you’ll find the device that is the most suitable for you.

Invisible-In-Canal (IIC)

Hearing aids? What hearing aids? Tiny and discreet, no one will have a clue you are wearing them.

These tiny custom-fitted devices are inserted deep into the ear canal, so they are nearly invisible when worn, depending on your ear shape. This is a big plus for anyone concerned about their appearance.

However, if you wish, you can personalize them with a color of your choice. Daily removal is recommended to ensure the most comfort and best hygiene.

What are these suitable for?: Mild to moderate hearing loss.

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Completely-In-Canal (CIC)

Only a tiny bit shows – but you really have to look for it!  CICs are custom-made and easy to insert and remove from the ear canal, as they feature a small handle you can grip that just peeks out of the side. Still nearly invisible, you can choose from a range of colors if you wish.

What are these suitable for?: Mild to moderate hearing loss.

In-The-Canal (ITC

A bit more is visible, but not overly noticeable.

ITCs are custom-fitted and feature an easy to insert and remove design. In addition, they are made to match your skin tone, making them well camouflaged when nestled within the ear canal opening.

What are these suitable for?: Hearing that is diminishing at a steady pace.

In-The-Ear (ITE)

Skin tone matched, rests outside the ear canal.

Their sleek, custom-made design means that ITEs mold perfectly to the ear canal’s outer entrance, resulting in maximum hearing coverage and comfort. Choose from a range of colors or opt for skin tone shades for a more discreet look.

What are these suitable for?:  Mildly severe to severe hearing loss.

Receiver-In-Canal (RIC)

An excellent choice for first-time hearing aid wearers. Quick to fit and incredibly discreet.

Although RIC’s comprise several parts, they are nearly invisible. A receiver is worn inside the ear canal. It connects to its slim casing, worn behind the ear, with a thin electrical wire rather than plastic acoustical tubes. This helps to reduce any distortion. Patients find them comfortable to wear.

What are these suitable for?: Mild to moderate hearing loss.

Behind-The-Ear (BTE)

This is the most common design available.  When you think of a “typical” hearing aid, the BTE style most likely comes to mind. A casing is worn comfortably behind the ear.

This unit contains the device’s technology. A clear plastic tube carries amplified sounds to an earmold worn within the ear canal. Easy-to-use buttons are a much-welcomed feature, along with their discreet wearability. Choose from a range of colors, if desired.

What are these suitable for?: Moderate to severe hearing loss.

Your Best First Steps

When choosing the right hearing aid for you, the best first step is always with a comprehensive hearing assessment with an audiologist. The test will determine if you have hearing loss and what degree of hearing loss you have.

From here, your audiologist will go through your options and make recommendations based on the information they have gathered through both getting to know you and the results of your test.

With offices in Algonquin, Elgin, and St. Charles, Fox Valley ENT strives to improve our patients’ lives through better hearing solutions. To begin your journey to better hearing, click here to schedule a comprehensive hearing assessment with one of our friendly professionals.

We look forward to meeting you soon.

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Joseph, T Pacer

Joe Pacer has been an Audiologist with Fox Valley Ear, Nose & Throat Associates since 1988. He received his Bachelor of Science in Communication Disorders from Northern Illinois University in 1986 where he continued and received his Master of Arts in Audiology in 1988. He is a member of the American Academy of Audiology. Joe works closely with his patients and has extensive experience performing hearing evaluation as well as recommending, fitting and trouble shooting hearing aids.