Hearing Aid Styles

While getting a diagnosis of hearing loss can be intimidating, it’s reassuring to know there’s technology out there to help. Today’s hearing aids are comfortable, powerful and designed so small that most people won’t even know you’re wearing one!

The Basics

Hearing aids come in two basic styles: those that fit in the ear and those that sit behind the ear.

  • In-the-ear hearing aids require impressions of your ears for a customized fit and have the electronics built into the custom made shell. They range in size from the tiny completely-in-the-canal (CIC) which sits deeply in your ear canal, to the larger standard ITE which a full-shell that fills the entire bowl of the ear.
  • Behind-the-ear (BTE) aids have the electronics built into a small case that fits behind your ear and sends the sound to your ear canal by a tube or wire. Because the case doesn't have to fit inside your ear canal, BTE's generally have more features than ITE's and are easier to adjust.
  • A third style of hearing instruments, called a Remote Microphone (RM) hearing aid, is sometimes referred to as "the best of both worlds". The RM design is unique because the microphone is placed at the end of a flexible tube, which is then tucked securely in the outer portion of the ear. The rest of the instrument is inserted into the ear like a conventional CIC design. By combining the benefits of the behind-the-ear (BTE) and in-the-ear (ITE) styles, the RM offers a comfortable fit, is virtually invisible and offers maximum noise suppression.

Today's hearing aids come in a variety of sizes, styles and colors so you can choose one that best fits your hearing needs and you feel confident wearing.

Other Factors to Consider

  • Anatomy – the shape and size of the outer ear and ear canal may determine which type of hearing instrument you can wear.
  • Your manual dexterity – some styles are easier to handle, insert and clean than others.
  • Type and degree of hearing loss – individual variations in hearing loss can pose unique challenges and require different types of amplification.
  • Your lifestyle – it's important to consider your favorite activities and the environment you spend most of your time in.