Types of ITE Hearing Aids
Far from uniform, hearing aids come in two basic types (in the ear and behind the ear), and a range of styles within these two types. If you’ve been diagnosed with hearing loss, a hearing instrument specialist will help fit you with one of these types in a model and style that meets your individual needs, budget and preferences. Hearing aids that fit inside the ear (ITE) are made in three basic styles: invisible in the canal (IIC) and completely in the canal (CIC), in the canal (ITC) and low profile.
IIC and CIC Styles
The IIC and CIC are the tiniest hearing aids in the industry. Because of their size, they’re able to fit very deeply into the ear canal and provide the most favorable cosmetic appearance – practically invisible. If you have mild to moderate hearing loss, this may be the best and most desirable option for you. Along with the advantages of their small size, IIC and CIC styles also come with a few challenges. They’re too tiny for manual controls, are more susceptible to earwax and moisture damage from the ear canal, and require good dexterity to retrieve and replace their tiny batteries. Due to the smaller size, the batteries themselves also have a shorter lifespan, meaning you’ll have to change them more frequently
ITC Hearing Aids
ITC hearing aids are larger than IIC and CIC styles and fit in the lower portion of the outer ear. Because they’re larger, they can sustain more features including the following:
- Directional microphones to hone in on quieter sounds when background noise is loud
- Manual volume and other setting controls
Another benefit of their size is that their battery life is longer and require less dexterity to remove and replace. Because they can create better amplification, they can also accommodate a wider range of hearing loss than smaller hearing aids.
Low Profile Hearing Aids
The largest size of ITE hearing aids are known as low profile hearing aids. They may cover either half or all of the outer ear bowl. Their size enables all the benefits of the ITC style, with even more potential features. Lastly, if you have poor dexterity, these feature the largest and easiest to handle hearing aid batteries.
Keep in mind ITE hearing aids are mostly beneficial to those who have only mild or moderate hearing loss. Ask your hearing instrument specialist if an ITE hearing aid is best for you.
If they recommend one of these ITE-type hearing aids, they will custom-fit it to your ear based on an impression of your ear canal/outer ear so it fits perfectly and performs optimally.