There are many things to consider when choosing a hearing device—price, model, technology options … the list goes on. But what about style? What about the simplest of considerations such as do you want a hearing device that fits within the ear canal? One that wraps around the backside of the ear? One that’s completely invisible to others?
Hearing devices come in a wide range of styles, including some that are customizable for both fit and color, and many of today’s instruments have so many options it can be hard deciding what’s best for you and your level of hearing loss. That’s where the experts at Whisper Hearing Centers can help. After a thorough consultation with one of our audiologists, we will make recommendations based on your wants and needs. No matter your preferences, you can rest assured we’ll find the right fit for you, and your ears. Here are seven different styles of hearing devices available at Whisper Hearing Centers:
- Invisible-in-the-canal (IIC): Invisible in the canal devices are custom made to fit into the deepest part of the ear canal. Because of their depth, they are not seen by others. They are the smallest hearing aids available and they work well for most patients with a mild to moderate hearing loss.
- Completely-In-Canal (CIC): Completely-In-Canal devices are custom made to fit completely (hence the name) inside the ear canal. This style of hearing aid is nearly invisible in most ears and works well for mild to moderate hearing loss.
- In-The-Canal (ITC): A bit smaller than the ITE, custom made In-The-Canal hearing instruments fit tightly within the space between the inner canal and the outside portion of the ear. Best for a mild to moderate hearing loss.
- In-The-Ear (ITE): Custom made for you, In-The-Ear devices fit snuggly just inside the ear. Somewhat visible to others, ITE hearing aids come in a wide range of color options to match the wearer’s skin tone. These devices are appropriate for most levels of hearing loss.
- Behind-The-Ear (BTE) The most commonly used hearing aid is the BTE, Behind-The-Ear. The BTE style fits comfortably behind the ear and uses a clear acoustical tube to augment sound into a custom earmold placed inside the ear canal. They are used for a mild to severe hearing loss.
- Receiver-In-Canal (RIC): Receiver-In-Canal devices are slightly smaller than the BTE style. They are extremely discreet yet still fit behind the ear. They are best for a mild to severe hearing loss. Unlike the BTE, this style of hearing aid uses a thin wire instead of an acoustical tube for clear sound delivery.
- Lyric Extended Wear: Completely invisible, extended wear hearing devices are made to be worn 24/7, for 2 months without having to change the battery. This style fits a mild to moderate hearing loss.
A few other features to ask about when considering a hearing device:
Is it automatically adjustable? Automatic adjustment greatly reduces the patient’s need to change the volume or program the device.
Does the device(s) have binaural synchronization? Binaural synchronization uses both ears together as a single system, to imitate the way normal hearing works and improve the understanding of speech and sound around you.
Is it Bluetooth compatible? Bluetooth technology uses a small accessory to wirelessly connect the wearer to other devices such as their phone, computer or car.
Does it have a noise reduction systems? These systems help you hear speech in noisy environments by minimizing background noise you don’t want to hear—some even help reduce the sound of wind during activities you enjoy. It suppresses the wind noise and continues to amplify speech.
What about speech enhancement? This feature recognizes subtle differences between speech and non-speech sounds to helps to improve clarity.
Will it help with tinnitus? If you experience tinnitus, newer hearing devices may help reduce the ringing in your ears. Modern devices feature additional programs to help reduce stress and tinnitus by adding computer generated music or select sounds.